Gary Fowler: A Highest Impact Leader Making A Difference

Derek Distenfield
9 min readMar 24, 2022


Gary has played an integral role in changing the dynamics of startups and ventures across the globe. A revolutionary mind, Gary is among the leading minds in the Al tech industry and one of the biggest advocates in artificial intelligence and predictive analytics. Over the last few years, Gary’s primary focus has been channeled towards identifying and nurturing promising and growing companies developing Al solutions that transform various industries — Human Resources, marketing, supply chain, Industry 4.0 and SpaceTech.

One of Gary’s success stories as a co-founder is with, a leading employee engagement and management platform that uses machine learning and predictive analytics to measure the productivity and happiness levels of employees within an organization and streamline internal processes, manage remote employees, and support managers in retaining the rising stars within organizations.

Gary is the CEO and Co-Founder of the award-winning growth stage Al venture studio, GSD Venture Studios, GSD Labs and GSD DevOps. GSD Venture Studios was created with the mission to scout and discover the best and most resilient teams on a global scale and foster partnerships that will help emerging companies grow in the right direction with the right guidance, making confident and secure steps along the way. At GSD, Gary serves as the driving the vision, sales and operational leadership as well as the lead for all GSD portfolio companies. He takes the role of CEO and/or Chairman in many of the GSD-backed startups, putting several decades of expertise behind them. His partner, Derek, takes a CRO role, and they get it done.

Gary is a recognized expert in entrepreneurship (including entrepreneurial education), lean startup methods, innovation management, and technology development and consultant to numerous international companies and startups. He has extensive experience with fundraising from pre-seed though series B rounds. He has been involved in a successful IPO (CKSW). Gary has held or holds founder and/or senior executive-level positions in top-tier companies: ClickSoftware, Mirantis, Tecra,, Findo, GSD Venture Studios, GVA LaunchGurus (Co-Founder), Fowler Development, Broadiant, DY Investments, Zemplee, SplitByte, Eezylife, Xcoop, and more.

He is Co-Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce’s Technology Committee, a TEDx speaker and participates in numerous international speaking engagements. Previously, Gary was named one of the “Top Ten Most Influential Al Executives for 2019” as well as “Top 30 Technology Executives to Watch”. In 2020, Gary was named on the “10 Most Innovative Global Al Executives” list. He is a recognized industry expert at Forbes magazine and keynote at global conferences, TEDX and the United Nations. Gary has 3 podcasts today: The Founders Report with Gary Fowler, GSD Presents Silicon Valley Al and Tech and Gary’s picks on VC Task Force. He has written over 170 articles and has been to over 700 podcasts. Gary recently spoke at the United Nations. Gary was the keynote speaker at the SWC Summit in Prague as a keynote and has been a judge at hundreds of competitions globally.


An extremely ambitious individual, Gary always keeps an eye out in anticipation of the next game changing technology. He believes that the tech industry is changing by the day — with technology like artificial intelligence, where industries and verticals undergo major transformations in a matter of days. The power and supremacy of technology in the modem era is known to all as we witness the changes in the dynamics of our lives. Gary feels that in the world of marketing, Al has completely revolutionized the standard of customer care and lead generation. In the safety and security industry, it’s now possible to prevent major threats thanks to pattern detection. In finance, the risk of fraud can be eliminated through predictive analytics. New doors are opening every day — and it takes courage to step through and seize the opportunity.

Gary is not afraid to set high goals and ideals. He believes that a person who can dream of excellence has already taken the first step towards it. It’s about dreaming and thinking big. To always be excited and eager to find the next big thing, everyone needs to believe in how technology reshapes the world as we know it. It’s about always being an eager early adopter (in addition to doing your homework, of course) and welcoming the changes that technology brings about sort of embracing it with open arms. Sometimes it may seem like a leap of faith-but if there is one thing that Gary has learned over the years is that in a lot of cases, if you can imagine it happen, it is possible through technology.

You Have An Idea
We Make It Global


Gary is greatly inspired by Steve Jobs and his story of success. From a man who was adopted and came from humble beginnings in a blue-collar environment to have an impact on millions of lives across the globe. Thinking differently, connecting the dots and keep moving forward even if life hits you with a ton of brick are key qualities for successful entrepreneurs. Gary believes that this is the key to success. Each individual can make their mark in the universe, and leave something that they will be remembered by. It is not about the motivation it is about channeling it to success.


His entrepreneurial strength is his intuition and experience that has developed over the years. Gary’s ability to recognize a great success story when he sees it. His versatile knowledge across various fields and numerous disciplines allows him to identify the potential for growth and the promise to make a difference. Another important quality is that he never limits himself to one region or country. He strongly believes that the best ideas and talents are discovered when you think and on a global scale and work towards solving genuine problems that people face. Gary believes that intellectual capacity is equally distributed around the world, but opportunities are not.

Sometimes, to find the next revolutionary idea, one needs to experiment and explore a new market, make new connections in an unfamiliar area and take a risk. In the same way, finding the best in their craft and skill also means exploring new countries and expanding your search beyond your city, state, and even country.

Gary is unaffected in the face of challenges and is also willing to experiment on a leap of faith to create and support companies that out their “dent in the universe”.


As a serial entrepreneur, Gary has had many engagements throughout his career where he has taken up the role of a Founder, Co-Founder or other senior leaderships roles. His insights and leadership has contributed to the success of ClickSoftware,, Broadiant and many more companies that are continually and efficaciously making a difference.

Through GSD Venture Studios, he can step in the leadership role for their portfolio companies on a larger scale. The business model is unique in that its acceleration program implies direct involvement at a founder/executive level to drive a hands-on strategy for growth and scaling. It means taking the company under your wing, coaching it through growth, driving essential decision-making, and growing a variety of business arms within the company, from operations to marketing.


Gary was on the early senior management of ClickSoftware where they created a successful Nasdaq IPO. He was instrumental in creating one of the first e- commerce consulting companies partnering with BroadVision and created one of the first accelerators in Eastern Europe. ClickSoftware, whose management Gary was directly involved with, was recently sold to SalesForce for 135 billion dollars. is a leading Al company revolutionizing the employee management industry.

He overcame his fear of public speaking to become a global speaker in places like TEDx, United Nations, Software World Cup, VentureBeat, VCTV, Gary’s Picks, GSD Presents and Silicon Valley Al and Tech, and more. One of his greatest achievements has been the creation of a venture studio with his partner, Derek, that brings the world together by solving the complex issues that confront all of us: Global warming, population spikes, Infobesity and a sustainable food supply. Gary believes that intellectual capacity is evenly spread around the world, but opportunities are not. Understanding that there are resilient entrepreneurs around the world who just need a chance. Gary knows that we can all make a difference to our society and the world.


The COVID-19 pandemic has taught Gary two things: adaptability is key, and technological advancements cannot be hindered by anything. By all means, the COVID-19 pandemic has been disastrous on many scales — but it was also a prolific time for increased digitization. In a climate where healthcare concerns came to the better connectivity on a global scale became especially apparent, technology development saw a big spike.

In this context, his biggest response was shifting focus towards a need that technology could truly help feel. From security to health-tech, Gary’s primary goal was to uncover revolutionary technology in areas where progress was direly necessary and people around the world needed solutions. He asked himself, “Where can Al push us ahead of that it hasn’t before?” Its truly about understanding what people need, then scouring for solutions and technology that make progress and immediate positive impact possible.


Gary advises all budding entrepreneurs to be bold. The biggest challenge is overcoming skepticism and fear when exploring new avenues in growing successful businesses. The truth is, it’s about taking calculated risks-while expertise may come with years of experience, that optimism and big thinking are not something that can be taught. It’s a mindset that needs to be adopted and maintained.

He urges young minds to make connections-but never network. Instead, he asks them to focus on building meaningful relationships that they can rely on when the time comes. And ask them to keep in mind that it’s a two-way street-always be a resource to those who have a good relationship with you.

Gary asks them to never restrict their ideas with the fear of failure. He tells them to think big. Think across borders and beyond boundaries. You’ll uncover the best ideas, connections, and talent when you stop restricting yourself in a box that is a location. Venture into new markets, build relationships, and take a leap of faith when you find something truly revolutionary.

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About GSD Venture Studios:
We travel the world investing in resilient teams bold enough to #GoGlobal.
For too long, self-motivated entrepreneurs have navigated the minefield of challenges to launching a global company with very little support. The last thing you should bet on in this situation is an unproven team that you don’t trust. GSD Venture Studios travels to every corner of the globe inviting resilient teams to establish partnerships that ensure organizations grow the right way, without games or gimmicks. You can learn more about GSD Ventures Studios here:

About Derek Distenfield:
Known for both bringing revolutionary new ideas to organizations that deliver explosive growth and for displaying a high tolerance for ambiguity and complexity. For over 15 years, Derek has blazed high impact careers in startups, corporations, governments, and nonprofit organizations that range from $0 to $2 billion.
He is the operational mastermind, COO and Co-founder behind the success of GSD Venture Studios. Derek brings a variety of resources together to deliver explosive growth for GSD’s portfolio companies. Additionally, he lectures on startup growth at leading universities and writes for Analytic Insight Magazine honored Derek as a 40 under 40 Innovator for his work in redefining the future of tech through cutting edge innovation. called Derek as one of 2020s most influential people.
Derek is a frequent keynote speaker, advisor, and mentor. Silicon Valley is home, and he travels the world frequently to work with GSD’s portfolio companies.
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Derek Distenfield

Derek Distenfield is an investor, operational mastermind, frequent keynote speaker, advisor, and mentor based in Charlotte, GA.