Gina has deep roots in Madison. Though she was born in California, her parents are Madisonians and moved back to the area when Gina was 3.
She studied psychology at the University of Maryland in Europe. While in Europe, Gina worked at an Air Force Base in England as the Child Development Center Director and she received the Civilian of the Quarter award for the European region.
Gina now serves as the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson County. She has been working with children for over 20 years. She finds it rewarding to help children believe in their self-worth. In 2012, the Jefferson County BBBS chapter proudly received the Gold Standard award.
But, why has Gina returned to her roots in Madison?
"One day when I was downtown at the gas station I saw a young boy maybe 14. He was shirtless and barefoot. He was holding the hand of a tiny boy maybe the age of 3. I thought to myself: that is the future of Madison. Having grown up in Madison with a supportive family I can see that things have changed. I have stayed in Madison hoping I can make a positive difference in a child's life."
Her pastimes include: spending time with her family (two daughters and five grandchildren), Skyping with her daughter and grandson who are in Spain, reading, knitting, and walking her dogs (dachshunds Noli and Ziti). Gina also serves as a Deacon at the Madison Presbyterian Church and it is her second year as a Chamber Ambassador.
“Though I have traveled all over Europe I believe traveling with my daughter Samantha and her family last year in Spain and Portugal [was my most memorable travel experience]. Traveling with a 3 year old who is seeing things for the first time whether is an open air market with fish and snails or a beach with shells and rocks, it opened my eyes to what a person can learn if you just stand back and take in the moment. It is all about making memories.”