Keep Shining: Gabe Leavell

Keep Shining: Gabe Leavell
I’ve had a lot of support from friends and family cheering me on to be myself, so being authentic is always the best way to go. The minute I stray away from that, I typically fail or don’t enjoy the outcome.
— Gabe Leavell

A day in the life of Gabe Leavell looks like what?

Ahh! A day in the life… I typically start working the minute I get up. The first thing I do when I wake up is grab my phone and see if any of my employees contacted me with issues, read and respond to emails – as a lot of people I work with are overseas so time is not relative. Then I check accounts to see what transactions went through and if they are approved –  my business requires frequent purchases so it’s something I like to monitor. I take an hour for myself which includes making coffee, reading and catching up on the news. After that hour is over,  it’s back to the grind! I have a base layer of management to make sure my main business is running solid. Outside of those duties, I try to keep it spicy. I hate routine. I basically do that for the rest of the day and try to fit life in between working.


What makes you jump out of bed every morning?

The opportunity to do what I want on a daily basis. I’m lucky to be doing what I care about and don’t want to waste that opportunity to keep building better and better things!

How do you define inspiration?

Inspiration for me is a feeling that I get in the pit of my stomach. It’s something that rocks me to the core and makes me want to be better in all aspects of life. Inspiration is the thing that makes you want to go to the next level.

What is an accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?

When I was 16, I played a game of “SKATE” (like horse in basketball) with one of my favorite skateboarders Chris Cole. He told me that I was really good and I need to keep at it. Anyone that’s ever taken skateboarding seriously knows one thing better than most – failing. You literally fall and fail hundreds or thousands of times before you succeed. It’s an amazing lesson on perseverance.

You’re the epitome of a wanderlust! What are some of your favorite travel destinations that capture your heart and why? 

Appreciate that! I’m writing this currently in Palestine and I have to say honestly Palestine is high on my list of favorite destinations. Its rich culture, abundance of history, genuine people and dope food. If you want to learn more about the conflict and living in an occupied territory, people are so open and welcoming to sharing their experiences with you. Next up would be Iceland. It’s almost impossible to take a bad photo there. It’s so picturesque! Surprisingly people are really into things like architecture, fashion, art, coffee and music, so for me it was a shock. I had to Shazam multiple songs playing at bars and restaurants I visited because people were on point! Even Icelandic rap is kinda lit! Lol. Check out this song I like by Icelandic rapper Emmsjé Gauti called Reykjavík. The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is to die for! Next time I go, I want to spend more time there. Mexico City is definitely worth mentioning. I was in awe how amazing the food is, beautiful boutique hotels and local art and design community. Outside of the obvious tourist destinations, I love Mexico City because I could see myself there long term. The lifestyle can be really nice. Last but definitely not least would be a plug towards the home land – Egypt! Cairo is a city like no other. I don’t know how to express what it means to walk through the streets and feel the energy of the people. Sharm El Sheikh is an amazing resort area and Aswan is a must see in the southern tip of Egypt. Called Nubia, it’s great to see a different culture closer to “African” than middle Eastern like Cairo.


If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be and why?

Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Things will work out, just trust the process and keep at it. Circumstances are temporary if you treat them that way. Also invest in Bitcoin... lol

Who is your role model and how do they inspire you?

My biggest inspiration are my two mother’s - my biological and best friend's mother Gerry Tunnel. They are living proof that if you put your mind to it and work hard, you can achieve anything. Growing up I’ve watched Gerry literally do anything she wanted because she worked twice as hard as everyone. When something wasn’t fulfilling for her, she moved on to bigger and better things. Her vision is unparalleled. She went back to school, got her PhD like it was just “ the thing to do”! My mom is also a huge inspiration to me because she’s just an overall amazing person. She worked her way up at a company from an office assistant to a partner in less than a year. She's a true powerhouse, kind, empathetic and business savvy. That's what motivates me to want to be greater everyday.

Would you ever consider being an American Expat?

Absolutely! As mentioned above, I’m considering making the move to Mexico City. I plan on visiting Mexico City again for business and spending more time there just to be sure before I make the move.

If you could share with the world something interesting about yourself, what would it be?

I’m from a small town in Washington called Everett. I was never destined to do any of what I'm doing currently. I was most likely projected to work at Boeing (headquartered in my hometown) as a plane manufacturer. I always felt that wasn't my career path and that stuck with me until I made a change. Moral of the story - listen to yourself.

How do you overcome fear?

Practice. Failure. Learning. I learn much more from failures than I do from success. With that idea in mind and faith in myself that I will always overcome, fear is very short-lived for me. I’ve always lacked fear for most things, so it’s easy for me because I have confidence in myself.

In what ways has travel positively impacted your life?

Traveling is engrained in me. I'm multi-racial, so understanding different cultures, lifestyles and experiences are all important to me. Traveling teaches me how little I know about people and how we are so far away from each other, but we are all human. Traveling makes me feel small in terms of numbers but big in terms of localized impact. My goal while I’m traveling is to connect with people and their communities. It helps me understand the human condition and how I, as an American, play a role in the global landscape. Also it helps me understand the perception of what people think of me as a black person. Traveling teaches me happiness, not to take things for granted, but always aspire for greatness.

What does the phrase "Keep Shining" mean to you?

“Keep shining” to me means to keep at it. Stay diligent and keep doing things genuinely and with integrity to personify your true being.

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I am unapologetically authentic because...?

I don’t know how to be any other way. I’ve always been against the grain and challenged myself by believing in my abilities. I’ve had a lot of support from friends and family cheering me on to be myself, so being authentic is always the best way to go. The minute I stray away from that, I typically fail or don’t enjoy the outcome. Stay hungry, stay positive, stay you!


Gabe grew up in a small town north of Seattle called Everett. The home of Boeing. Growing up, knowing that was most likely his destiny if he stayed, he dreamed for bigger and better things. Starting his first business with his best friend at 16, Gabe has grown to be a serial entrepreneur. His main focus now is real estate investment and property management. Gabe’s passions are art, traveling and community and his main goal is to combine all these things with his work.

Want to connect with Gabe? Follow him at @ivy_no_league on Instagram!