Gaynell Hendricks is the founder and director of Wee Care Academy day-care centers, and is active on several cultural and economic development boards in Birmingham. She is a 2006 Democratic candidate for the seat being vacated by George Perdue in the Alabama House of Representatives District 54.
Hendricks has a Bachelor's degree from LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, a Master's from Memphis State University, and an M.B.A. from Rutgers. She is married to former city councilor Elias Hendricks, who owns the Transportation Building downtown.
After moving to Birmingham with her husband, she left her management-trainee position at Metropolitan Insurance Company to launch her successful day care business in 1988 with $15,000 of their personal savings. They opened the first location in the former Thomas Elementary School. The business has grown to 13 centers which she manages along with her oldest daughter, Daagye Hendricks-Harville. Her twin sons, born in 1987, both attended Wee Care.
She sits on the boards of the Federation of Childcare Centers of Alabama, the Birmingham Airport Authority. the Birmingham Zoo. the Birmingham Music Club. the YMCA, the Alys Stephens Center, Space One Eleven, the Altamont School, and the Women's Fund of Greater Birmingham, as well as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery.
As a successful minority businesswoman, Hendricks has won several entrepreneurial honors and awards, including the National Black MBA Association's "Entrepreneur of the Year", the United Negro College Fund's 2002 "Small Business of the Year", and "Top 10 Women Business Leaders" as named by the Birmingham Business Journal. She was a member of the Leadership Birmingham class of 1998.
Hendricks is an avid collector of African art.
- Bishop, Lauren (September 27, 2002) "Wee Care grows to lucky 13". Birmingham Business Journal.
- Wynn, Roxanne (January 1, 1993) "Teaching our children. (Wee Care Academy child care center)". Black Enterprise