Giovanna Gilliotti has always had a penchant for helping people. When she finished obtaining her degree from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in her native country of Colombia, she saw an ad for “Due Credit Where Credit Is Due”, because their name caught her attention. After doing extensive research and ascertaining that it was a non-profit organization, she hastily applied.
Waking up to her passion
Fate would have other plans for Giovanna. She would not get the job, though it was the wake-up that her true passion was working for non-profits. She yearned for a place where her desire to bring education to others could be fulfilled.
“I saw that name and it caught my attention. I didn’t get the job but once I knew what they were doing, helping other people organize their financial life, it hit me. I felt the need to bring that information to others, especially the Hispanic community.”
Growing up in Colombia, Giovanna always had dreams of moving to America. Having lived in America previously, her father used to tell her grandiose stories and his dreams of moving back. A major life event would push her to finally make the move.
“When I got divorced from my son’s father, I decided this was the time for me to leave Colombia. So, I decided without having any family here, just a friend of mine, but the good memories from my father’s stories spurred me on. There are things that you keep in your mind and in your heart when you are a kid. When you look at your life in retrospect, that is when you understand all your dreams and all the little things that you keep in your heart.”
Her journey would see her land in New York, where she would attend Colombia University, receiving her Executive Masters in Public Affairs. It was in New York where Giovanna would begin building the foundation of her career path in America, first as the Hispanic Coordinator at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society where she was responsible for fundraising and generating awareness among Hispanics in NYC. She would go on to become the Director of Communications for Pa’lante Harlem, where she was in charge of enhancing the visibility and name recognition of the organization.
Finding her home
It was her move down to Miami to work for Clear Point Credit Counseling Solutions, which would merge with Money Management International (MMI), where her love for helping the community would flourish, first as a Community Outreach Specialist and then becoming a financial advisor.
“Working in this arena in the financial sector, I remember advising people what to do with their money, and there was sometimes a conflict because you are telling people what to do. Trying to teach an adult can be a challenge, but if you can show that you are humble and ready to understand, you can move forward. I saw many clients, especially women doing great and moving forward, and that is something I liked about that job because you see how empowered they are after learning and applying the knowledge that I shared with them. It is very rewarding seeing people accomplish their financial goals.”
During the pandemic, Giovanna took on a remote job so that she could help move her little sister from Colombia to the United States, and while that is an achievement in itself, her fondest memory is of just being able to “open the doors” and spreading knowledge to the community. “One of the things that I am most proud of in my career, is working with multiple non-profits and just being able to open the doors and let the community know that we are here to help. What types of services we provide, what education we provide, and being open to listening to those who need help. I work for Florida and Texas markets and in both circumstances, I had to understand the people and the different cultures, and for me, it is very rewarding that I could do this for a non-profit organization. We serve a lot of people thanks to the work that I’ve done here in Florida and Texas.”