Gina’s Story

“Knowing how to start from zero”


Gina Cozzarelli
Born: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Account Manager
Morales Group Inc. since 2005


“When I came to the United States I didn’t have any recommendation or referral because I didn’t work here before. You can’t believe how anxious I was. Not knowing anything, and starting all over from zero. I was very concerned because I was unfamiliar with everything and I needed to support my young daughter by myself. In Ecuador I was a successful dentist for fifteen years. I practiced dentistry for children. That’s what I did and I really enjoyed it. Oh yes, but things they change for us.

I was married in Ecuador in 1993. My husband, Wilson, was also a dentist. Because we both work and we have just one daughter, Paola, we were very fortunate and had a comfortable life. But after just ten years my husband got brain cancer and when he got sick we really spent a lot of money just to try to see if anything would make him better. But this was not God’s plan and in a year … he passed away.

Now it’s your turn.

And well you know what? That’s part of life so by that time I said, you got your daughter — and she was just ten years old — now it’s your turn. You have to do it by yourself! You have to help her, so she can be able to go to college. So as a mother it was first my daughter rather than myself. I was going to get behind her, helping, coaching, guiding … that’s what I would do.

My sister was living in Indiana so after everything came crashing down she was the one that said, “don’t stay in Ecuador, it’s going to really trouble you just thinking about everything, so why don’t you come over here?” And that was the main reason that I moved in 2005 to Indiana, because I thought that this would be a good opportunity for Paola.

Can you believe? Zero.

When I arrived, I tried to say, I know that if I’d become a dentist here, it would be better for me, but when I spoke to dentists practicing in the U.S., they told me that I’d have to start all over again. All over again from zero. Can you believe? Zero. That was really very hard.

That same year my sister introduced me to Tom Morales.

When I started at Morales there were just three desk. One for Tom, one for John and another one for me. The place was so small. I’m talking about almost eight years ago. So I started doing everything because at that time we didn’t have any title. Just doing whatever comes. Then, as we started growing, they say you are going to have specific roles. So right now I’m in customer service. I have about fifteen [client] accounts which I take care of everything.

My job is like having two things at the same time.

As part of my job I recruit and interview applicants. It is surprising how the applicants will tell their stories and how they need someone to help them get started. So my job is like having two things at the same time, working and helping. I’m thankful I can help.

There are some people that I interview that need help in matching jobs with meeting their needs. “I just need a job” they say. I tell them, okay you are going to make this much money in a week, right? Do you think that on this amount of money, you can support your family? “Oh, Gina that is not enough for me.” Okay, this is not the job for you. They don’t realize all the things they need to consider when choosing the right job for them. So sometimes you have to start from zero for them. This is the reason sometimes these individuals are so thankful with me because I always try to do a little more so they understand.

Enjoying every single second.

So I’ve been here almost eight years and I think I’ve been enjoying every single day. Every single day! Like the first day when I started — enjoyed every single second that I’m here. Because of the owners, because of the environment, because I’ve been part of the growth. Sometimes I think back and I said, oh my gosh! You can never understand how God does things. I’m not a dentist right now but I feel so good. I feel like this is where I need to be.”