Throw Out Fifty Things

Gail Blanke Life Design Services


Gail is a renowned executive and life coach. She's coached CEO's, presidential candidates, stand-up comics, out-of-work musicians and people who are just plain stuck in an old job, an old relationship or an old view of themselves. Among Gail's specialties are presentation skills training,including "How to be Unforgettable," "Developing Your Personal Brand," and now more than ever, answering the question, "Who Am I Now? - Re-inventing Yourself for a Bold, New Time."


Gail is considered one of the finest motivational speakers in the country. She's spoken to senior executives at scores of Fortune 500 Corporations, including GE, Credit Suisse, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, TIAA-CREF and UBS and the McGraw Hill Companies. She also speaks to organizations and not-for-profits such as The American Montessori Institute, The Nation's Second Harvest, Women in Commercial Real Estate, The International Women's Forum and Romance Writers of America - as well as dozens of colleges and universities from Boston to Beijing.


Gail's one and two-day workshops include a focus on "Leading Through Change and Chaos," "Stepping into Your Power", "Flying Between Trapezes - Re-inventing Your Work, Yourself, Your Life" as well as shorter segments on personal branding, presenting yourself powerfully, giving and getting feedback and making a highly successful pitch.



Gail Blanke is founder, president, and chief executive officer of Lifedesigns, LLC, a company whose vision is to empower men and women worldwide to live truly exceptional lives.


A best selling author, Ms. Blanke’s newest book, Throw Out Fifty Things - Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life, was published in hard cover March 20th, 2009, by Grand Central Publishing and has been featured frequently on The Today Show, CNN International, CBS Sunday Morning, Fox & Friends, Chuck Scarborough, Good Day New York and NPR’s “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin.


The paperback version came out in March, 2010. The book won the prestigious “Books-for-a-Better-Life” award from the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Ms. Blanke’s book, Between Trapezes: Flying into a New Life with the Greatest of Ease, about thriving on change and mastering the art of self re-invention, was published by Rodale in August 2004.  The website included Between Trapezes on its list of “must have” books. In My Wildest Dreams, Living the Life You Long For, was published by Simon & Schuster in June, 1998 and appeared on’s Best Selling Books list and the New York Times Business Best Seller List.

Ms. Blanke was the sole guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show in October 1998 where she used concepts from the book to help empower audience members to create the lives of their dreams. Ms. Blanke’s first book, Taking Control of Your Life:The Secrets of Successful Enterprising Women, sold more than a half million copies. Her column, “The Motivator” appeared monthly for two years in Real Simple magazine. Ms. Blanke has also appeared monthly on Martha Stewart Whole Living Radio, as well as on CNN International and CBS 2 Sunday Morning. She has appeared on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, discussing the need for women to take control of their heart health and can be heard frequently on NPR. She most recently appeared on the Today Show on March 28th, 2013 in a segment called “Frazzled to Focused.”


A renowned executive coach and presentation skills trainer, Ms. Blanke has advised CEO’s, presidential candidates, college presidents – and a jazz musician. Current clients include executives at GE, NY Presbyterian, Merck, TIAA-Cref, Bank of America, McGraw Hill, Feeding America and Gannett. A presidential candidate remarked, “You’ve enabled me to find qualities in myself I didn’t know I had and express myself with power, grace and persuasion. What a difference you’ve made…If I’d met you 10 years earlier, I’d be President by now.”  Ms. Blanke was called in by FOX News to critique George W. Bush’s second inaugural address.


Considered one of the finest motivational speakers in the country, she has delivered keynote addresses and workshops for scores of corporations including GE, MasterCard, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, AXA Financial, Citigroup, Bank of America, Merck, American Express, Harvard Business School Women’s Alumnae Association and the National Federation of Women Legislators.  She’s also delivered keynotes for students at Beijing University, the University of Virginia, the Stern School of New York University and Columbia, among others. Articles about Ms. Blanke and her books have appeared in Newsweek, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, Ladies’ Home Journal, Redbook and Self. O, The Oprah Magazine, refers to Gail as “The Motivational Maven.”  She frequently gives  keynote addresses for the American Heart Association  and is a member of the board of the New York Chapter. She describes her own “Surprise! You Need Heart Surgery!” story on AOL in a segment called, “Living Forward” and in a column for Real Simple called “Follow Your Instincts.”


Ms. Blanke was one of the youngest female senior vice presidents of Avon Products, Inc., where, in addition to her responsibilities as head of global communications, she motivated and inspired Avon’s millions of sales representatives to live the lives of their wildest dreams. A member of the Chairman’s Executive Council, she led the re-positioning of Avon as the world’s premier direct selling company for women and launched the widely acclaimed Avon Breast Cancer Awareness Crusade, which has raised nearly $100 million to date.  Prior to her experience at Avon, Ms. Blanke held numerous executive positions at CBS including manager of special promotions for the New York Yankees.


Ms. Blanke is a past president of the New York Women’s Forum and the only member to hold that position for two terms. She is a past chairman of the board of Fashion Group, International. In 1997, she was elected a corporate director of Sweetheart Paper Holdings, which was one of the country’s leading paper suppliers.


Ms. Blanke has received the International Women’s Forum “Women Who Make a Difference Award,” the prestigious Matrix Award for Public Relations presented by New York Women in Communications, Inc. and the Star Award presented by the New York Women’s Agenda. She is a past president of the New York Women in Communications Foundation and was in the first wave of women to be inducted into the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers.


Ms. Blanke is a graduate of Sweet Briar College in Virginia and majored in acting at Yale University Graduate School of Drama. She’s related to the orator and presidential candidate, William Jennings Bryan and the beloved stripper, Gypsy Rose Lee. She and her husband, F. James Cusick, a writer, have two grown daughters, Kate and Abigail, and live in New York City. 


Gail Blanke LifeDesigns | 1345 Avenue of the Americas, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10105 | (212) 878-3611 | [email protected]

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