Founder, Women's Golf Day
Elisa Gaudet founded Women's Golf Day in 2016. Held on the first Tuesday in June, Women's Golf Day unites women around the world through golf, promoting opportunities to introduce the sport to new players. Gaudet discusses golf and lessons learned.
The First Call: Where are you and your company located?
Elisa Gaudet: Worldwide headquarters are in West Palm Beach, Fla.
TFC: What is your handicap index?
TFC: What time do you wake in the morning, and what time do you typically start the workday?
EG: Wake up between 6-6:30 a.m. Start by 8 a.m.
TFC: What are key elements to leadership or to being a good leader?
EG: Listening to the market demands and pain points and finding a solution. Listening to your team. Not being afraid to take a chance, and armed with information, make decisions and take action that you may not know is a guaranteed outcome. Sometimes you must trust your gut.
TFC: What changes, if any, have you made based on the events of the past year?
EG: In 2020 we pivoted and canceled our annual June events and hosted a digital day with video content and moved the events date to September. In 2021, our June event was hosted at over 880 locations in 68 countries. We added a digital component — WGD Palooza (a free online interactive content-based event) the week prior on May 25 in the event some locations could not participate. It was an opportunity to engage and empower men and women around the globe, and give our sponsors and partners an opportunity to showcase what they are doing, especially for the female market
TFC: Who is your role model?
EG: 1, Coco Chanel this woman was an orphan and created a global brand in a time where women had very few rights. She is self made and the original entrepreneur.
2, Oprah Winfrey.
3, Madame Clicquot, known as the "Grande Dame of Champagne,” was a French Champagne producer who took over her husband’s wine business when widowed at 27.
TFC: What’s the last book you read?
EG: “The Alchemist,” Pablo Coelho (read it every year); “The Gift of Forgiveness,” Katherine Schwarzenegger.
TFC: What’s the last movie you saw?
EG: “Becoming Halston.” I love fashion documentaries and foreign films. Fashion was my first career before golf.
TFC: What’s on your playlist?
EG: Selena Gomez, Carla Bruni, Enrique Iglesias, Sebastian Yatra, Bad Bunny, Taylor Swift and Niall Horan.
TFC: When I’m not at work, you can find me …
EG: At museums, museums and fashion exhibits, traveling. Different cultures fascinate me.
TFC: What is your greatest extravagance?
EG: Non-material — sleeping very very late with no obligations in site. The ultimate luxury for me is time. Material — art and jewelry, anything truffle.
TFC: What are the favorite golf courses you have played?
EG: My favorites are a combination of beauty and fond memories I had with the people I played with rather than off a top-100 list. Very fortunate to have played many great golf courses but this is the top 10 that come to mind:
1. Vista Vallarta Club de Golf, Jack Nicklaus / EMC World Cup course, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
2. Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, California.
3. Waterville Golf Links, County Kerry, Ireland. With good weather and will take the links roll all day long.
4. Torrey Pines Golf Course, La Jolla, Calif.
5. Palm Beach Par 3 Golf Course, Palm Beach, Fla.
6. Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco.
7. Evian Resort Golf Club, Évian-les-Bains, France.
8. Terme di Saturnia Golf Course, Tuscany, Italy.
9. Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
10. Any time, any where I play with my nieces Carolina and Gianna and cousin Edward. Always my best round.
TFC: Which golf courses do you belong to (if you care to share)?
EG: Waterville Golf Links and Palm Beach Par 3.
TFC: What's the secret to your success?
EG: Creating an action plan for increasing an underserved market. Listening to consumers and data. Taking action. Partnership and creating a like-minded community around the globe. We have created a funnel system for the golf industry as a whole around the globe for females, juniors and families.
TFC: Knowing what you know today, what professional advice would you give a younger you?
EG: Trust your gut. Gain as much knowledge as you can in the things that interest you and that you need. Follow your passion. I would tell my younger self — and every woman no matter what age — “Beautiful girl, you can do hard things.” I am very proud of the N.Y. Stock Exchange bell ringing we did this year for Women's Golf Day with our partners Callaway and Topgolf. This is a great honor and most importantly it shows young women — and all women — this is possible for them. Work hard and you can achieve anything. Except for one man, the entire podium was all successful women working in the golf industry and working together. That photo for me is seared in my mind as the definition of success, partnership, hope and future possibility.
TFC: What was your path to the golf industry?
EG: I was working for MGM Latin America out of Miami and met the people from Tour de las Americas. Started working for them and while in Argentina for the 2000 World Cup I met Ross Berlin from the PGA Tour in the airport going home. Stayed in touch, and about a year later I was hired by the PGA Tour (Mike Bodney and Ross Berlin) to run the EMC World Cup in Mexico.
I worked my a- - off, very long hours for 14 months. It was my MBA. Many people do not know this about me, but executing the EMC World Cup was an incredible experience that touches every aspect of the golf industry. I have so much respect for anyone who puts on big events. I know everything from tournament set-up, activation of staff to pro players, sponsors and different perspectives. Everything from tablecloths to sponsorship.