Gail Dennison is an under-celebrated heroine in the Hormel Institute success story.
She has been integral to its expansion in size and prominence since 2006, but modestly considers it an honor to gain support for the Institute’s cancer and biomedical research mission.
Gail is a woman of passion, sincerity and intelligence. Her kindness is evident in the way she describes her job as Director of Development and External Relations. When she shares the great achievements of the Institute, she stresses that they are only possible thanks to great scientists, people working together, and the support and generosity of the community.
Gail had a wealth of experience prior to the start of her career at the Institute. Originally from Austin, his higher education includes an undergraduate degree in marketing and a master’s degree in philanthropy and development. She has worked on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, in advertising in Los Angeles and in marketing on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was her choice to return to Austin to raise her sons near her family and in the Midwest. Previously, she worked as a reporter and columnist for the Austin Daily Herald, Rochester Post Bulletin and Rochester Magazine, and was an executive producer at KAAL-TV.
Gail joined the Hormel Institute to develop the development and public relations department. The first challenge was to increase recognition and funding to support the 2008 expansion. She led the Institute’s first fundraising campaign, “Grow Science, Grow Austin”, enlisting the help of prominent volunteers from the community to help launch and gain support for this business. At that time, the Hormel Institute was little known, even to Austin residents. It was Gail’s challenge to develop the brand image and recognition of the Institute and to share this jewel of scientific research with the immediate community, the surrounding communities and beyond. Marketing and communications were familiar to Gail, but securing financial support for cancer research is what made joining the Institute exciting. She loved the challenge and still does, inspired by a mission that impacts human life and health.
Initiatives she helped cultivate, such as Paint the Town Pink, raised awareness of the Institute in the surrounding community and raised significant funds for research. Lobbying efforts for the 2016 expansion and conducting a second fundraising campaign for the Ray Live Learning Center saw the Institute double in size and add a large event hall and auditorium to 250 places.
Gail gives full credit to the incredible scientists and management of the Institute, the Hormel Foundation, her team of colleagues, and the incredible community of partners and friends who support the mission of the Institute. . She says what she has experienced is that when people, good goals and ideas come together, great things happen fast.
Gail is inspired by people who share the Institute’s mission and is honored to represent the scientists who work with dedication and passion towards discoveries to prevent and control cancer and other diseases. For her, it is deeply rewarding to be part of the progress.
Austin thanks you, Gail Dennison, for your tireless efforts to support the well-being and growth of the Hormel Institute.