2017 CKW LUXE STAR AWARDS
Gina Gaston Elie: A Journalist Who Gives Generously of Her Time
CKW Luxe is proud to announce that Gina Gaston Elie is our honoree for the Stellar Award. This award goes to a woman who is philanthropic and also has superior taste in fashion.
“I think we should improve the place where we are—the corner of the world in which we live. Be kind, find a way to affirm people, see their needs, and when we can, meet that need.”—Gina Gaston Elie.
Gina Gaston Elie has been a television news journalist for 30 years. Currently, Gina is the lead anchor/reporter at KTRK-TV and has been with the station in that capacity since 2001. As the main anchor of the 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts, Gina is the first female and African-American to hold that position at KTRK. Prior to rejoining KTRK in 2001—she had previously worked there from 1992 to 1999 as co-anchor of 13 Eyewitness News at 6 p.m.—Gina was co-anchor of MSNBC’s HomePage, along with Ashleigh Banfield and Mika Brezinski.
Gina has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, where she did a double major in journalism and communications and a minor in international relations. Although many career paths were open to her with these qualifications, Gina chose to pursue broadcast journalism. She just knew it was her calling.
Clearly, she made the right decision. Some of the stories Gina covered for 13 Eyewitness News included the O. J. Simpson trial in Los Angeles and the Democratic National Convention. While with MSNBC, she was also a network correspondent anchoring the 2000 presidential election and covering the Florida ballot recounts. As well, Gina anchored President George W. Bush’s inaugural activities, Elian Gonzales’ return to Cuba, the U.S. bombing in the Iraqi no-fly zone, and other top stories. She also filled in as anchor for NBC’s Weekend TODAY Show. Notable interviews Gina has given include former U.S. Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison; former U.S. Senator, Olympia Snowe; former U.S. Senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton; the Reverend Jesse Jackson; Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York; and former Oklahoma Governor, Frank Keating.
During her years as a broadcast journalist, Gina has been the recipient of a number of prestigious awards for her work. These include Emmy Awards for the documentary, “Cosmos” and for the documentary, “Soulful Stiches” and Gracie Allen Awards for the documentary, “Interview with Peter Jennings”; the documentary, “Houston Symphony 100th Anniversary”; and her profile of Andres Orozco Estrada. She also has been honored with several Associated Press and Emmy Awards for Best Newscast in Houston and Pennsylvania, and the Houston Press has named her Best Anchor twice. As well, Gina is a USC Tommy Awards Foundation winner and a USC Senior Recognition award recipient.
Gina is married to retired Houston Rockets basketball star, Mario Elie, now assistant coach of the Orlando Magic. Together they have a busy life bringing up there 12-year-old triplets. When she isn’t working, Gina divides her time between her children’s busy schedules, getting to the gym, and volunteering her time to those in need.
Motivated to be of service to her community, Gina devotes many hours to various charitable organizations. Her ongoing commitments include Missouri City Links, Inc.; March of Dimes Healthy Babies Spokesperson; Dress for Success Social, Honorary Host; Making It Better; Children’s Museum of Houston Board of Directors; Go Red for Women/American Heart Association - Host Committee Spokesperson and Emcee since 2003.
Gina has passed her desire to help along to her daughter, Lauren. In a true mother-daughter collaboration, Gina and Lauren co-founded, along with Keli Fein and her daughter, Jordan, Flower Power Gives in 2015. The idea behind the effort was that flowers from charitable events shouldn’t be wasted, but instead be given a second life by being donated to various causes that would take pleasure from them. Both Lauren and Jordan were in seventh grade at the time.
The first event to donate its centerpieces was the Rockin’ Resiliency Luncheon for the Women’s Fund, a charity important to both families, which the mother-daughter teams co-chaired. After hearing the idea, the attendees fully supported it, and the arrangements of vibrant red roses were gathered up and delivered to the Star of Hope Women and Family Shelter. That was in October of 2015.
In its inaugural year, Flower Power Gives salvaged $220,000 worth of chrysanthemums, roses, daisies, iris, tulips, and lilies and delivered them to charities. Ronald McDonald House, SEARCH Homeless Services, Seven Acres Jewish Senior Care Center, and the Salvation Army Men’s Rehabilitation Center have been among the many recipients of the bright bouquets.
During the 2016/17 year alone, Gina has sat on various boards including Susie Bean Gives, Women’s Fund, and the Children’s Museum of Houston. As well, she was a member of the host committees for the Women’s Fund Rockin’ Resiliency Luncheon, Women’s Hospital of Texas Labor Day Luncheon, Children’s Museum of Houston Luncheon, I Am Waters Foundation Luncheon, and Children’s Museum of Houston Gala. She was also honored with the Making It Better Excellence in Education Award for 2016.
Gina has been a vital member of Houston’s philanthropic community for a number of years. This is illustrated by her many former associations, which include Easter Seals Greater Houston, Hats off to Mothers honoree 2004; Hester House Advisory Committee; Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Houston board member; American Heart Association - Power to End Stroke Ambassador; Urban League Gala, Honorary Chair; and the Houston Ballet.
To suit her busy lifestyle, Gina embraces a classic way of dressing and chooses pieces made from good fabrics that are cut well. She wants to be able to enjoy them 20 years from now. She is also a strong believer that clothes are an excellent way to reflect your mood on a particular day so sometimes she’ll change things up with a rocker or bohemian-chic look. A style icon in Houston, Gina has appeared on the Houston Chronicle Best Dressed list twice: in 2012 and in 2015.
CKW Luxe would like to congratulate Gina Gaston Elie on being the Stellar Award honoree. As the embodiment of the award, Gina attends to her busy life at work, at home, and in the service of others with grace and style. Gina’s devotion to giving back has even made an impression on her daughter, who is already following in her mother’s footsteps. There is no greater testament than that to her caring, kindness, sincerity, and generosity. As Gina herself says, “Doing something for someone else makes me feel better, but also I want to model this behavior for my children. It’s important that I show them that other people’s needs are worth taking time out of your schedule to accommodate. Kids will remember what you do more than what you say.”