Dainan Gibson Honored Among Top 50 Women Leaders in Virginia

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Dainan Gibson, ECS’ Director of Business Development, has been honored as one of the Top 50 Women Leaders of Virginia for 2024 by Women We Admire. She also received this distinction of the Top 50 Women We Admire in 2023. We’re thrilled about Dainan’s achievement and sat with her to learn more about her career and her involvement with Women We Admire.

Q: Tell us a little about your professional background and experience.

A: As an accomplished business leader, I’m affiliated with countless marketing professionals in the Greater Hampton Roads community. Hampton Roads has an environment and history of lasting, meaningful and profitable relationships.

My drive comes from a true passion for the personal and professional success of my clients, colleagues, business partners and friends. I believe always doing the right thing produces the most significant long-term success. Developing relationships is my happy place and I’m happiest when I can help people connect to achieve their goals. Steeped as a networking resource, I am a connector and a truest at identifying opportunities and utilizing creativity. There is a sincere satisfaction in bringing opportunities to my company, colleagues and professional peers.

I also have a long history of serving the community and volunteering through many local associations. My volunteer services are to the board of the Association of General Contractors of Virginia, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the International Facilities Management Association, Women In Defense in the Greater Hampton Roads, Commercial Real Estate Women and many others. I’m creating a business and industry knowledge exchange group known as the Coastal Virginia Business Exchange Group; the members are a collection of highly connected professionals who assist each other in achieving success in the military, federal, civil and municipal sectors.

Q: How long have you worked at ECS?

A: January 2024 marked four years working at ECS.

Q: What is “Women We Admire,” and how did you get involved or nominated?

A: “Women We Admire” provides news and information on women leaders in business, entertainment, sports, motherhood, medicine, law and many other fields. They cover a broad range of topics and areas of interest aimed at recognizing the achievements of extraordinary women while encouraging others to aim high and continue their journey towards reaching their full potential. They contacted me last year for the 2023 nomination as well. Someone in my circle nominated me and I’m still trying to figure out who it was so I can thank them.

Q: What contributed the most to your recognition and inclusion on the list?

A: What I believe contributed most is my drive to serve. Whatever position I take, I want to do well for the people who have hired me, the people I work with and for organization leadership. I believe at the end of the day, if you’re serving with no ego and you’re helping everyone succeed, not only do you get better, but the company gets better, and we become known as the number-one engineering consulting company in Hampton Roads. When everyone comes together and works together, I believe we all rise together.

Q: What shaped you on your journey to the award?

A: It has been a long journey of trial and error. My people skills can be greatly attributed to my time as a waitress. Those jobs allowed me to learn more about and understand people and their habits to run my marketing agency, Gibson Marketing, LLC, formally in Fredericksburg, VA. I am constantly in learning mode. I attend anything that allows me to better my skills as a business developer and learn from others who are leaders in their field. In addition, I have had Arnel Tanyag as a business coach for about 13 years. He helps me think outside of the box and holds me accountable.

Q: Did anyone important help you along the way?

A: I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many wonderful and professional individuals: my teammates, my clients and associates, my Coastal Virginia Business Exchange group, my family and my business coach, Arnel Tanyag.

Q: Can you share some insights or lessons you’ve learned from your experiences that led to this recognition?

A: I have learned many lessons, one being that you treat each client, COI and individual with respect and always make them feel appreciated as if they are your only ones. Be open to listening and most of all, be genuine in everything you do.

Q: How does this award make you feel?

A: I am humbled and honored, and it feels good to know that my consistent hard work is paying off.

Q: What advice would you give to others aspiring to make it onto similar prestigious lists in their respective fields?

A: Be consistent and genuine and find joy in everything you do. Love and respect everyone equally because everyone has something you can admire and learn from. When you send out great vibes, you get great vibes back. There is truth to “you get what you give” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Q: Can you share a memorable or impactful moment from your career that you believe epitomizes your professional journey?

A: It was a time when I went to one of Arnel’s classes. I was feeling kind of unsure about where I was and how I was doing, and it was this weird point in my life and career. After it was over, I talked to him and he said, “You know, I’ve seen you when you’re on your game and you’re very impressive.” At that moment, I realized I needed to be impressive again and hired Arnel Tanyag to help me reach my goal. I also had a friend of mine reach out to me to talk to someone who was a prospective business developer for their company because they trusted me and my judgment and admired my work ethic. He told me, “You set the bar so high; I want someone who is just like you.”

Q: How do you balance professional success with personal well-being? Are there any specific strategies or practices that you find helpful?

A: Creating a plan for my career and personal well-being has helped me maintain balance. Finding things that bring you joy also helps. It brings me joy to see my kids and grandkids and I want to have them be proud of me. They are my “why.”