REMEMBERING GAY WHITNEY
JUNE 29, 2012
On June 28, 2012, Gay Whitney, Senior Vice President of Industry Engagement for GS1 US, lost a short, courageous battle with cancer. She died peacefully, surrounded by close friends and family. She was 49 years old.
Elizabeth “Gay” Millson-Whitney will long be remembered inside and outside of the global GS1 community for her enthusiasm, intelligence, engaging leadership, captivating presence, and strong wit. Her style and approach had a way of making everyone feel valued. As one colleague said, “she had a way of making you feel like you were her favorite.”
Gay led the GS1 US Industry Engagement organization and was responsible for broadening our reach and forging long-term industry relationships through strategic and meaningful collaboration. She served as our lead ambassador to the Consumer Packaged Goods/Grocery, Healthcare, Foodservice, Apparel and General Merchandise industry sectors. Her leadership enabled our customers to realize the value of GS1 Standards, helping to improve efficiency, safety, and security in their everyday business.
Gay’s knowledge helped business and industry leverage cutting-edge technologies, engage in strategic development and develop management methods to create industry transformational change. Her contributions over the years also included leading the development of standards and strategy for EPCglobal, the organization responsible for the creation of RFID and visibility standards.
Gay’s leadership in areas like EPCglobal or industry engagement was extraordinary – she was courageous to envision a future that others couldn’t easily imagine, and she helped make everyone believe that future was possible. Sometimes listening, other times leading, Gay instinctively struck the right balance in helping teams move forward together, at a pace that was exciting, motivating, and highly fulfilling for all companies involved. She believed deeply in the power of industry collaboration and standards, and the rich exchange of ideas and creativity that was always the byproduct of her leadership efforts.
Gay started her career at Saks Fifth Avenue and rose rapidly to VP of Merchandise Information and Technology before leaving to start her own consulting practice. There, she served clients that included Aeropostale, Bed Bath and Beyond, Elie Tahari, Polo Ralph Lauren and Saks Fifth Avenue implementing retail systems.
Gay was born to Chris and Judy Millson on April 7, 1963 at Williams Air Force Base in Mesa, Arizona. She attended the University of Virginia, where she was a cheerleader and received a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering.
Gay was a loving mother to Katherine, Maggie and Robbie, with a generous, positive spirit. She loved cooking and was an avid runner. She also volunteered as a coach for soccer and baseball, taught Sunday School at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Darien, Conn., and was a coach for Odyssey of the Mind, an educational competition.
Surviving Gay are her three children; her parents; and her siblings, Chris, Peter and Amy.
A memorial service will be held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 1864 Boston Post Road, Darien, CT 06829, on July 3rd at 11:00 AM. If you would like to attend, please do so. Information about donations will be forthcoming.