LEADERS Worth Watching
Candice Blacknall CEO and Cofounder
Education: Doctor of Medicine (MD), Morehouse School of Medicine; MBA, Georgia Institute of Technology Scheller College of Business; Bachelor of Arts, Elon University Company Name: GABA Inc. Industry: Digital health, education technology Company CEO: Candice Blacknall Company Headquarters Location: Atlanta, Georgia Number of Employees: 7 Words you live by: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou Who is your personal hero? Audre Lorde What book are you reading? A Revolutionary Approach to Success: Give and Take by Adam Grant What was your first job: Dog groomer at Patty’s All Breed Dog Grooming Favorite charity: Lost-n-Found Youth Interests: Painting, guitar, solo travel, culture, and languages
Adaptability Is Essential One of the things I’m most proud of as I look back on my career is being able to see my own values reflected back at me through a mosaic of professional and personal experience. My ability to be adaptable has enabled me to celebrate many successes and failures over the years, and it’s this adaptability that I credit with my success. I learned very early on to give myself something that I knew few would give me: the permission to make mistakes and change my mind. I tried not to bind myself to any one task or outcome. I’ve chosen instead to find causes that resonate with me and allow the specific roles that promote those causes to be interchangeable. For me, addressing issues of access has been a core principle. Over time, life has shifted whether access refers to health care access or education access,
or something else all together. And I’ve allowed myself to adapt to that changing definition. That means I’m always challenged to redefine what success looks like for me and clarify how I want to show up for each opportunity. I’ve learned that even the most well-structured plan can fail. So the best predictor of success is not one’s ability to plan for success but what one does when faced with failure. Being adaptable is absolutely essential to that. I truly believe that my emphasis on adaptability and the positive impact it has, has made me much more open in my approach to building community and teams. Rather than look at people as chess pieces, whose movements are restricted by the types of pieces they are (e.g., developers develop, marketers market, etc.), I tend to spend more time trying to understand and connect with
the human on the other side of the conversation. I can quickly forget pedigrees and resumes, but I won’t forget character. I met a shaman who said, “Everyone is a master,” meaning you can learn just as much from the janitor (if not more) as from the CEO. Every person you meet could potentially change your life. I live by this philosophy. When I’m building my team or a community, I’m not looking for the person who has the most qualifications. I’m looking for the person who, like me, will see a challenge and go out and find the opportunity. This means the teams I build are inherently more diverse, and the products and services we build together are multifaceted. That translates into a multitude of branched success stories, and at the root of all that is adaptability.