TCU Alumnus Gabe Williams Driven to Give Back

Williams Gabe
Gabe Williams '14
Williams Gabe shoe

Six years ago, Gabe Williams ‘14 stepped onto the campus of the Neeley School of Business eager to make an impact with his career. Not only did Gabe achieve that goal, but he also enjoyed the opportunity to do it while working for a great employer — the globally recognized athletic brand Nike. 

Gabe’s TCU experience helped him quickly rise in the ranks at Nike. He soon became the company’s Integrated Marketplace Director, overseeing $100 million of investment capital as well as spearheading their long-range strategic retail vision. So why did Gabe decide to leave his dream job?

Despite the tremendous success he experienced and enjoyed with Nike, Gabe felt something was missing. He recognized there was a disconnect between large corporations and the communities where their products are sold. A philanthropist at heart, he wanted to do something to change that. So, Gabe decided to do something to help amplify the voices of those who often go unheard. He created his own shoe company, one that is dedicated to give back to traditionally underserved communities.

That company is davi — yes, that lowercase “d” is intentional; it’s designed to shift some of the focus away from the brand itself. davi is a social enterprise that is using fashionable sneakers to help make a far-reaching positive impact. And Gabe couldn’t be more excited to see where this new venture will take him in his career.

A Passion for Giving Back

Gabe founded davi with a mission to transform the footwear industry through philanthropic efforts. Every time a customer purchases a pair of davi sneakers, 5 percent of the sale will go to a nonprofit organization in that customer’s community.

The initiatives supported will be unique to each community. However, Gabe is dedicating davi’s initial efforts to the support of art, music and sports programs at schools in Tarrant County. As a former coach at Polytechnic High School, Gabe is all too familiar with the lack of resources educators have to cope with, and he believes that companies have a responsibility to be good neighbors — neighbors who are willing to be of service.

A Successful Kickstart

This past August, Gabe launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the seed money he needs to get this entrepreneurial venture off the ground. Since launching, he has sold more than 460 pairs of sneakers.

davi’s first three initiatives will benefit three local Fort Worth organizations. Hope Farm, the Young Women’s Leadership Academy and I.M. Terrell Academy’s music program will receive the proceeds from the company’s first sales.

Gabe hopes to be selling a complete line of davi sneakers online by early 2019.

Neeley Provides Numerous Opportunities

Here at TCU Neeley, we empower students to take full advantage of many great opportunities with local, national and international corporations. Gabe Williams is an exemplary alum, but he is also just one example of the high caliber of degree candidates we attract and accept into our programs. Gabe is certainly not alone in using his drive, life experiences and the knowledge and skills he acquired during his time at Neeley to grow into a leader in his industry and achieve his career goals. Nor is Gabe the only Frog to be motivated by genuine care for the community and world around him, much less to turn his talents towards doing something that makes a difference.

Whether you enroll in our full-time MBA program, or one of our evening programs, you’ll have access to plenty of networking opportunities. In addition to informal gatherings where you’ll have the chance to meet and interact with alums — such as the tailgate Gabe sponsored this fall — Neeley also hosts formal events designed to further your professional development.

To learn more about Gabe Williams and davi, check out these recent articles in the Fort Worth Business Press and the Star-Telegram.

To learn more about the Neeley School of Business, our complete selection of program offerings and how you can apply, visit our website.

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