Val Gay

A serial entrepreneur since, 2006 Val founded Fortress Arts Academy which provides arts and skill building lessons to children and adults, especially those in underserved communities, co-founded Syncopate Advisors  and  Davis Gay + Associates a firm which provides targeted support for nonprofit and social venture organizations that seek to solve societal problems, the EVER Ensemble, a collective of women musicians who perform diverse musical genres, from classical to hip hop and Soul-Full Affirmations which offers personalized affirmations set to original music to help listeners make positive changes in their life and reach their goals.


Val is deputy director and chief experience officer for the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. She has previously held senior and executive positions, including executive director of Art Sanctuary in Philadelphia, assistant dean for Institutional Advancement for the College of Education at Temple University and vice president and portfolio manager with PNC Advisors where she managed investment portfolios of high net worth individuals and family trusts.


Val serves on the boards of directors of the Barra Foundation, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, is a member of the Arts + Business Council’s Advisory Board and the Mayor of Philadelphia’s Council for the Arts. She has received a number of community awards and distinctions, including “101 Most Connected Leaders,” “Philadelphia’s Most Influential African American Leaders” and “XIX Most Fashionable Women”. She was previously a board member of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, The Blues Babe Foundation and WOMEN's Way.


In 2019, Val received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from St. Joseph’s University, and has earned a Professional Studies Certificate and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance, a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the University of the Arts, completed degree course work at Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, and has achieved the professional designation of Certified Financial Planner.