Founder of BlackGirlFly
Gabrielle Martin is a cultural enthusiast, a professional photographer, a world wanderer and the founder & CEO of BlackGirlFly.
After attending the University of Toledo, Gabrielle began to obsess over the various cultures of the world. She knew she wanted to do more than clock in for the rest of her life, she wanted to truly live. She found herself working as a lead graphic designer for a prominent web solutions company but lacking the joy and fulfillment she dreamed of while in college. She was existing and that was no longer enough. She decided to use her knowledge of web design and photography to freelance until she figured out her purpose.
After several years of art shows and working in fashion photography, the urge for more returned and it was stronger than ever. She decided to purchase her passport and to book a ticket to Spain for 18 days. This was her rebirth. She traveled to a dozen countries within two years and never felt more alive. Each country taught her something about herself that she didn’t know. Every trip made her a better person and a stronger woman. She had found her souls purpose.
June 2015, Gabrielle created BlackGirlFly as a Facebook group for women of color who had one interest, international travel. She used this platform to organize group trips to various countries around the world as a way to empower women who never imagined they would be able to have these experiences. She has created a global sisterhood of 11,000 women who participate in her sold out trips such as Egypt for New Years Eve, Rio de Janeiro for the world event Carnaval, to the bustling cosmopolitan city of Barcelona and luxury safaris in Kenya. With so many negative images of black women in the media, Gabrielle had a vision that solely focused on repairing, healing and celebrating black women. She has used international group travel as a means of self-care.
With a global backdrop, Gabrielle is determined to encourage black women to break through their own limits and to not let fear of the unknown stop them. Gabrielle has been featured in MadameNoire and WBGU (Bowling Green State University).