VCU Business alumnus honored as Influential Leader
Dominion Payroll founder and CEO David Gallagher, a Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business alumnus, has been selected as an honoree in the AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) annual Influential Leaders Challenge. Each year, AACSB calls on its accredited schools from around the world to nominate notable alumni who are making a difference — not only in their corporate roles, but in ways that impact society and create a better world.
“To me, success is creating an entity that has purpose and mission,” Gallagher said. “That when we wake up and go to work, we are there because we are doing more than making our widgets. That we are there because when we make perfect widgets, then we can have an even greater contribution to our social cause, to our community. I truly believe it’s why our organization is great. Because, we see ourselves as more than employees, bosses and leaders — we are change agents and activists.”
The VCU School of Business nominated Gallagher in the category of alumni business leader in a nonprofit or community-based organization. Gallagher founded and chairs the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation, named for his daughter, which aims to support depression awareness and research. The CKG Foundation held its inaugural SpeakUp5K in Richmond in 2014, leading to the foundation’s first donation of $50,000 to the Children’s Mental Health Resource Center, part of the Children’s Hospital of Richmond’s Virginia Treatment Center for Children. SpeakUp5K has since expanded to include races in Boone, North Carolina; San Diego, California; and Tampa, Florida, plus a SpeakUp5K team spread the word by participating in a triathlon in Germany.
Teen programming is of utmost importance to the CKG Foundation. This not only cultivates understanding, but empowers teens who are struggling to “SpeakUp” about their battles. Since 2016, the foundation has partnered with Virginia schools and mental health professionals to implement prevention-based programs and curriculum to provide education and initiate conversation among teens regarding depression and anxiety. The foundation offers free mindfulness classes for teens at its offices, which also serves as a teen networking hub, community running group meet-up location, and teen stress-free zone.
Gallagher, a 1996 graduate of the School of Business’ Department of Accounting, frequently returns to campus to work with VCU students. “The passion of these students is contagious, they are so engaged and they have so many questions,” he said. You can see their eyes lit up with dreams and hopes.”
“The passion of these students is contagious, they are so engaged and they have so many questions.”
“The academic systems need the support of our community leaders and our entrepreneurs. And, our entrepreneurs need the skills of the new talent. If you’re a business leader and you’re not involved somehow in a local academic program, then you’re missing out on so much,” Gallagher said.
“David Gallagher is an inspiration for our students, faculty, staff and alumni,” said Kenneth Kahn, senior associate dean of the VCU School of Business. “He exemplifies how business and leadership skills can be combined to reap not only company success, but benefit our community and society.”
Gallagher also donates his time and leadership as a board member for several organizations in the Richmond community, including Collegiate School, Richmond Performing Arts Alliance and ChamberRVA.
AASCB announced the 29 honorees from this year’s class of Influential Leaders at its annual Deans Conference Feb. 7-8 in Las Vegas.
“Each honoree from the 2018 class of Influential Leaders reflects the mindset, knowledge and passion that impactful business leaders must embody to impart positive change in today’s society,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and CEO of AACSB. “We would like to thank David Gallagher for demonstrating the true excellence and leadership we wish to see in the world, and we congratulate the VCU School of Businessfor their role in helping to mold a new generation of global business leaders dedicated to driving impact that results in global prosperity.”
In 2016, VCU awarded Gallagher the Edward H. Peeples Jr. Award for Social Justice, given to an alumnus for leadership in humanitarian contributions in combating inequality and social injustice.