A Georgia native, Vanessa Gilbert grew up around Brunswick and the “Golden Isles of Georgia.” The four barrier islands — St. Simon, Sea, Little St. Simon, and Jekyll — meant she was able to enjoy fresh seafood, saltwater marshes, grand oak trees, and beautiful beaches.
She pursued education and training in administration at the College of Coastal Georgia in her home city. After graduating, Vanessa worked as an administrator in the court system and county government. But when the opportunity to move to Atlanta for “a new challenge and a new life” appeared, she didn’t hesitate.
“I enjoy hearing of or seeing a plan and assisting the visionary with the task of making that vision a reality,” Vanessa explained, saying that during her interview with Attorney Gary Martin Hays she could see his vision for the firm and was confident that her skills could be an asset to the law firm.
Since then, she has worked for Gary Martin Hays & Associates as a firm administrator for nearly 16 years, managing facilities and infrastructure maintenance, employee hiring and benefits, and client relations.
“My role allows those responsible for business development, client services, case development, and other direct client-related service providers the opportunity to focus solely on our clients and their needs,” she explained.
Vanessa also said she was proud of the business and civic growth of the firm and its influence in the community. “I am proud of our staff who come in day-in and day-out with one goal in mind, ‘maximum compensation’ for our clients. They work hard to help those who call us for help and don’t know what to do next,” she continued.
An exercise enthusiast, she currently lives in Stone Mountain. “I am often climbing up or running around the mountain and I continue to be in awe of its beauty,” she said.
Her family includes her husband Clyde, three children, four grandchildren, and two “grand-doggy babies” Egypt and Kato.
Outside the firm, Vanessa keeps active with a variety of hobbies and interests. She is a certified YMCA fitness instructor and enjoys outdoor trails and concerts; thrift shopping and treasure hunting; traveling; spending time with family; and creating new vegan recipes. Her favorite football team is the Seattle Seahawks.
But something most people don’t know about Vanessa is that she is a fan of geekdom and rollercoasters. “I am an avid Star Trek, Star Wars, Transformers, and Avengers fan. I have t-shirts, posters, etc.,” Vanessa said. “I love rollercoasters, the more loops the better!” She also sings and plays piano and organ.