I met Gina through EO “Entrepreneur’s Organization” and wanted to find out how both a woman and someone from outside of St. Louis had been so successful. Gina took her experience in corporate america, and was able to translate that into running her own firm.
An Excerpt from the Book:
“My family members were very strong role models –
from them, I learned how businesses worked and made money.”
Gina received her Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Economics and Public Administration from Georgetown University and an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School. She has led strategic planning engagements for more than 500 companies and associations. She serves on numerous corporate and not-for-profit boards, including Huttig Building Products (NASDAQ: HBP), Opera Theatre of St. Louis, John Burroughs School, and Triad Bank, where she is the board chair. She is a former board president of Entrepreneurs Organization, and is active in the STL start-up community through the St. Louis Arch Angels.
My great-grandparents emigrated from Calitri, a small tight-knit village on a hilltop in southern Italy in the province of Campania. They came to America for opportunity, settling in New York. In the 1940s, my grandfather started a company called Industrial Finishing Products (“IFP”) in Brooklyn. The company still operates today and was talked about amongst the Calitrani in their stories of success in the New World. As the oldest son, my father was expected to go into the family business. Although he majored in business at Hofstra University, and was the first in the family to go to college, his heart wasn’t in it – his younger brother took over instead. I did not spend a lot of time at IFP, but the business was often the topic of conversation at the kitchen table.
My mother was this amazing woman: she purchased land on spec from the courthouse steps in New York. She became her own general contractor and built houses; I can still see her standing on a dirt pile chewing out a subcontractor for being late. My family members were very strong role models – from them I learned how businesses worked and made money.
My mother and her aunt had a garden in the back yard in Bethpage, Long Island, which presented me with my first business opportunity: when I was 10 years old, I went door-to-door with a Red Radio Flyer wagon full of tomatoes – with my younger brother and a bathroom scale in tow. Most of the Italian ladies in the neighborhood were incredibly nice to us, but not all were willing to open up their purses; even as a young child, I quickly figured out that it was much easier to keep going back to the same people who were reliable customers, and only prospect when you had leftover product. I earned $20 over the course of that summer and was sure I was the wealthiest little girl in the neighborhood.
For the entire profile, click here