“Charity work is my favorite thing to do” Debbie Gaby recently confided. “I’ve had a wonderful life and am very blessed. I appreciate all I have and it makes me happy to help others”. In addition to her duties as president of Sleep America Charities, she volunteers for Florence Crittenton, the Ronald McDonald House, Make A Wish, and Sojourner Center.
As President of Sleep America, the mattress and bedding chain, Debbie Gaby has always been in charge of the company’s community work. “When we were just getting started, we would donate new mattresses to organizations. Even today I like to give out gift certificates to the store. I try not to say no to those in need.” In 2003 the corporation founded Sleep America Charities, which has no administration costs, thereby ensuring that 100% of their proceeds are given to nonprofits.
Sleep America has experienced a phenomenal growth rate in the greater Phoenix area. With thirty- one stores in operation, and eight more in the planning stages, Debbie smiles that “Our goal is that no one has to go more than five miles between Sleep America stores.” Debbie was originally from Houston, and her husband, Len, was a New York native. Together they analyzed the Arizona market and decided to base their business venture here. “And we’ve definitely never regretted it!”
Debbie also projects her pride in her son, JJ, who is playing basketball as a freshman scholarship winner at California State University. “I admire so much that he didn’t let some obstacles interfere with his goals; he’s kept his focus and positive attitude, and he’s fulfilling his dream.”
When asked what her greatest strengths are, Debbie revealed that “I came from a humble background, but at an early age I had the desire to help others. I feel I have a good heart, and am passionate about giving back to the community.”
Debbie speaks with a great deal of enthusiasm about her Celebrity Fashion Show, which she founded eight years ago. “It’s so much fun to get local celebrities up on stage. In the past we’ve showcased such people as Kristi Paul, Tara Hitchcock, Kim Dillon, Kari Lake, Linda Williams, Linda Herold, Lin Sue Cooney, Mark Curtis, Kent Dana, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Newly recruited models include Annette Marino and Tom Ambrose.”
One of Debbie Gaby’s life mottoes is, “Success breeds success.” It is clear that the success of Sleep America Charities, and the leadership Debbie provides, is leading to the success of Arizona’s nonprofit community!
What are your volunteer activities? I volunteer my time to help raise much needed funds for many organizations including Florence Crittenton, Make A Wish, Sojourner Center, the Salvation Army and Phoenix Suns Charities. Several years ago we founded Sleep America Charities. 100% of all proceeds from Sleep America Charities go to charity organizations.
Which social event is your favorite? 1st favorite is my Celebrity Fashion Show I founded 8 years ago.
2nd favorite social event is anything with Florence Crittenton. I have always loved working with them because they are the most dedicated group of people who are dedicated to helping make life better for the young teens whose lives they touch.
Favorite Restaurant? La Locanda Ristorante – a very small neighborhood restaurant with great service and great food; and T. Cooks for the ambiance and wonderful food.
Who is your hero and why? My son JJ is my hero. He is attending ASU studying Business Administration and is very involved in his fraternity house Sigma Nu.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you ever met? Besides Jaclyn Smith, I would say Vanna White. We starred in a commercial together!
Which movie would best describe your life? The Aviator / Seabiscuit
What gives a woman/man style? The past is what threads our lives together.
Do you have pets? 2 dogs – Merlot- a black poodle (the perfect dog) and Ziggy- a chocolate lab (full of life and character).
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner, about you? When I move, the house will tell its next owner it has been loved and has hosted lots of happy events. As a result, it is full of great memories.
What words describe you best? Compassionate, loving, and caring.
What words would you like others to use to describe you? Beautiful, especially inside.
What was your first job? First job—babysitting, life guard and cashier clerk at a nursery.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? At times I’m too much of a perfectionist.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? I deplore people who are pessimistic and full of negativism.
What is your greatest indulgence? Indulgence – I love chocolate!
What is the greatest gift you have ever received? Life is the greatest gift I have been given and received.
Who is the greatest love of your life? Husband – Len Gaby.
What is your current state of mind? Chronic optimism.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? My children first; founding Sleep America and nurturing it to what it is today.
What is your most treasured possession? Wedding ring.
What is the quality you most like in a man? Old fashioned gentlemen, who open doors and treat a lady like a lady.
What is the quality you most like in a woman? Being smart and beautiful, too.
Favorite author Danielle Steele.
What one thing would you change about yourself? Age- if I could know what I know now and be 30 again.
Best Advice Be yourself.
Dear Debbie, Through the years I have a great opportunity to be envoled with charity work. It is always a wonderfully rewarding experience. It is because of many great men and women like yourself that show us that charity work keeps you grounded in society and in life.
Thank you for the inspiration .
Sincerly, Heather M Tindall
Chair 2006 John C. Lincoln 37th Night of Gold Ball
Good luck with your upcoming Fashion Show event, I'm sure it will be a huge success. You have the support and good wishes of the entire staff at Destination Marketing! We are proud to have the opportunity to work with you!
Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Congratulations! You are a great inspiration, leader and wonderful role model in our community. Thank you for all you do, and for inviting me to be a part of your team on the "Seeing Stars" fundraiser. Your words and philosophies in the article are very thought provoking. If only more people in this world could be as genuine. You're truley amazing!
Debbie, Congradulations yiu give so much to the community,and of yourself to your friends. I am proud to be one of them. thanks for all you do,and for being there for me all the time. Love carole
You are my hero! You are an amazing woman and I am so glad to be able to work with you and do good acts. Looking forward to the furure and creating many more miracles for those in need! Hugs Kathleen
What a lucky guy I am to have had the opportunity to work with you and the entire Catwalk committee. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your team.
I am so proud to know yu and work with you. You are an inspiration!
You are a true friend and we are so fortunate to have you as part of our lives and our community!