Production Team: Hair by: Evana Reyna & Amber Garcia, Riptide Salon • Makeup by: Ashle Riff Aligno, Tease Salon • Wardrobe Styled by: Alexa Gignac, Julian Gold • Location: Elizabeth’s at the Art Museum
Samantha Gates is a born and raised sixth-generation San Antonian who never saw herself moving to Corpus Christi; but God had other plans for her. Gates and her husband, Dos, found themselves in Corpus Christi so he could pursue career opportunities in oil and gas. “I don’t know if we planned on staying here forever,” Gates said, “but what came next helped solidify our decision.” She became a mother to two sweet baby girls. Now, the Gates family was deeply invested, personally and professionally, in Corpus Christi.
Gates is all about family and community. As it became increasingly evident the Coastal Bend was her family’s forever home, she committed herself to pouring her heart into this town so that other young professionals can experience this wonderful life by the water. When it comes to the Coastal Bend, both the progress our region has made and the future it holds, Gates is its number one fan. Her face lights up when she hears someone tell their life story and it includes the detail of deciding to either remain in Corpus or move back after having left. She understands the value in keeping our talent here, and in order to do that, we have to create a community they want to be a part of.
Upon meeting her, it is easy to notice that Gates’ warmth is welcoming and centered around others, as if she’s already a good friend. She says, “Nice to see you” instead of nice to meet you, which feels purposeful and comforting and like you, too, are basking in this splash of light that radiates from her. And that’s in large part to her devotion to her faith. “Bible study is my therapy,” says Gates. Of all the organizations for which she advocates, her church tops the list. Gates explains one of the truest gifts she’s obtained through this is to learn from the wise women who have taught her so much about life, raising children, and faith.
Outside her volunteer efforts within the church, Gates is no stranger to the local philanthropic world. Gates has served on boards and volunteered for countless organizations, such as serving as the President for Charity League Corpus Christi, a Foundation Board Member for Driscoll Children’s Hospital, a Spohn Ambassador, Advisory Board for Cattle Barons Ball, and a Trustee for Saint James Episcopal School, and has served organizations such as Paws & Claws, Junior League of Corpus Christi, and the American Heart Association – to name a few. In an effort to quite literally contribute to the community she envisions, Gates hit the ground running the moment she made the Coastal Bend her home. Simply put, she understands the notion that if you want to see change, sometimes you must enact that change yourself.
In Her Own Words
As a mover and shaker in Corpus Christi and someone girls and women look up to, what do you hope they take away from the many facets of your community work?
Find something in this community you care about and nurture it. If you don’t like something, change it; don’t complain about it. But to do this requires passion and bravery, and that sometimes takes time to cultivate. These values did not come to me all at once. Do not rush this process, but rather, embrace it. Learn your gifts and generously share them to help others. When I moved to Corpus, I wanted to be involved with everything. There are so many worthy organizations and leadership positions to fill. But the more I put on my plate, the more I burned out. I had to find the opportunities for change that mattered to me the most—and for me, that was anything that would improve my two girls’ lives in the Coastal Bend. Now the big ones I focus on are church, school, healthcare, and organizations that need a helping hand up. I pray that this beautiful cycle continues and that my girls (or any other girls watching) see the changes and feel empowered.
How does being a mother to two little girls factor into your philanthropy and activism?
My girls are the reason I do what I do. I am so grateful for their blessing in my life. They always remind me that from [one to] whom much is given, much is expected. I want a more impactful and inclusive church for them? I get deeply involved at the Church of the Good Shepherd. I want a more robust education for Isla and Louisa? I serve on the board of St. James. Do I want the best hospital in South Texas to thrive? Hello, Driscoll Children’s Hospital board. Do I want to effect a similar change for the children of the Coastal Bend? Here we go, Charity League!
Which woman in your life has inspired you the most?
This is a tricky question for me because my girls inspire me to write that “one more email,” to ask one more person to join my committee, or to attend that 5:15 pm meeting … But perhaps I learned to do those hard things through the kindness of my grandmother. At the very base of philanthropy is leading with love and compassion. Grandmama was the epitome of those virtues.