Transportation executive, business consultant, and political activist Gayle Holliday was born on May 18, 1944 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Helen and George Smith. She graduated from Fredrick Douglass High School in 1962 before attending Howard University and ultimately graduating from Oklahoma City University with her B.A. degree in political science in 1968. Holliday later earned her M.P.A. degree from Central Michigan University in 1978 and her Ph.D. in management and applied technology from Webster University in 2004.
From 1969 to 1971, Holliday was the assistant dean of students at Federal City College in Washington D.C. She subsequently became a reporter and writer for Kansas City, Missouri’s CBS affiliate, KCMO-TV. In 1975, Holliday was hired by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority as the personnel and equal employment opportunity manager. She was later promoted to the director of human resources; and, in 1986, she became deputy general manager. She left the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority in 1996 upon founding and becoming president and CEO of G&H Consulting, LLC where she monitored minority and women business enterprise compliance on the renovations of Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums, the Kansas City Zoo, and a new police crime laboratory. G&H Consulting has also been a major consultant on five disparity studies for women and minorities, including for the City of Kansas City, Missouri; the State of Missouri; the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority; Jackson County, Missouri; and Kansas City, Missouri Public Schools.
Holliday has served on numerous committees throughout her career, including appointments to Bill Clinton’s presidential transition team in 1992; Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Emanuel Cleaver II’s task force on race relations in 1996; the Sixth Circuit Judicial Commission of Kansas City, Missouri in 2006; co-chair of Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James’ Charter Commission in 2016; co-chair of Jackson County, Missouri’s Jail Task Force from 2016 to 2018; and Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II’s Black/Brown Coalition in 2017. She was also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Links, Inc., and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. In 2019, Holliday was named co-president of Freedom, Inc.
Holliday has received many awards, including being named one of the Top 50 Most Influential Black Women in Kansas City, Missouri in 1983; the Thomas G. Neusom Founder's Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Growth and Development of Minorities presented by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials in 1989; the 1992 Service Award from the National Conference of Black Mayors; the 2005 Congressional Black Caucus’s Unsung Hero Award; and the 2018 Kansas City Area Transportation Authority’s Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award. She was also recognized by the 109th Congress for Outstanding Service in the State of Missouri and working to promote economic and political empowerment for African Americans and other minorities.
Gayle Holliday resides in Kansas City, Missouri, and has two children with her late husband, Harold Holliday, Jr.: Holli and Harold Holliday, III.
Gayle Holliday was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 6, 2019.
Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail
Any American Dish
Transportation executive and business consultant Gayle Holliday (1944- ) began working for the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority in 1975 before founding and becoming president and CEO of G&H Consulting, LLC. in 1996, and president of Freedom, Inc. in 2019.