Gail Madison ’72 on Etiquette and Ambitions

By Purnell T. Cropper | January 22, 2010

By Leandra Cameron ’10

For Arcadia alum Gail Madison ’72, etiquette doesn’t just mean good manners, it’s also a career. Madison runs the Madison School of Etiquette and Protocol in Huntington Valley, Pa.

“Etiquette has always been important in my life as my parents taught me and my siblings the art of good manners at the age of 4,” she says. “We dressed for dinner, learned table manners, and my dad would play classical music and teach us the names of the composers. It was fun family time, something surely lacking in homes today.”

As a student, Madison studied Elementary Education and Fine Arts and contends that her college experience was greatly rewarding. “I loved being a student at Arcadia; I really thrived on my education. I found that Arcadia’s personalized attention to its students made a great difference for me.”

After Arcadia, Madison became a teacher, then an interior decorator before finally getting involved in etiquette training. “I decided I wanted to return to teaching but not in the traditional classroom. I needed a new approach that would fulfill my creative needs.”

An ad for the Protocol School of Washington, D.C., sparked her interest and she ended up enrolling in the school. She became certified in all aspects of etiquette and protocol, including business, dining, international, social, children and teens.

“The rest is history, as they say. I returned to my home and started the Madison School of Etiquette and Protocol in 1998,” Madison says. “It was a challenge, and often still is.”

Despite the challenges, Madison’s business is tackling some new projects. “I am working on including programs for specific occupations including law, education, home health care, physicians, etc. Each has unique areas where understanding protocol is important.”

To all who have ambitions, Madison says, “You are what you think you are, so think big! Behave your way to success by being kind and considerate, respecting those you meet in your career endeavors. Follow your bliss because your work should be fun! I wish someone had told me that long ago. I now love what I do and this makes life great!”