Gay Donnell Willis' professional experience includes managing accounts for Fortune 50 companies at a global advertising firm, as well as a promotions and broadcast career at the CBS affiliate in Lubbock, Texas. Gay most recently served as President & CEO of the Turtle Creek Conservancy for nine years, during which time the nonprofit organization's budget doubled, a public private partnership helped link Turtle Creek Park to the Katy Trail with a $1.7 million ramp project, as well as creating a $1,000,000 endowment and securing an additional five acres of parkland under the Conservancy's oversight—growing urban park space by 24%. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).
Gay was Hon. Jennifer Gates appointee to the Vickery Meadow TIF Board, the 2017 Dallas Bond Committee/Critical Facilities SubCommittee and the Community Development Commission where she served on the Financial Oversight and Public Improvement Subcommittees. She has also served on the 2020 DISD Bond Commmittee/Safety & Security Subcommittee, as well as the Site Based Decision Making Committee at Emmett J. Conrad High School.
Her community career includes service as a 19 year active in the Junior League of Dallas, culminating as Community Vice President over 1,100 volunteers donating 120,000 hours across 40 nonprofit agencies, and oversight of two grantmaking bodies that distributed over $1.1 million, including Grants for Innovative Teaching. Gay co-chaired the 20th Anniversary of the Family Place Partners Card, that raised over $1,132,000 to help break the cycle of family violence. Other co-chair roles included the Walk to End Alzheimers, Friends of the Dallas Public Library Gala and Tex Protects Gala Dinner.
Gay is a graduate of the inaugural Leadership ISD '10, Leadership Dallas '14, and Leadership Texas Women '17.
"I am a fifth generation Texan, born in Dallas, raised in Fort Worth and am a proud graduate of Texas Tech University. I've lived and worked in Dallas for 26 years, with the last 20 years in District 13. My husband Michael Willis is President of TerraCORE Panels. We are raising our four children: Jessica and Melissa, both at University of North Texas – Denton; Lachlan, a 2021 graduate of DISD's Emmett J. Conrad High School and Dallas College (AAS Computer Science) and a freshman at Austin College in fall '21; and Marieve, a freshman at Greenhill School."