Issue: September 2005 Issue
Athena Finalist: Jean Gianfagna
President, Gianfagna Marketing & Communications
When Jean Gianfagna landed in Cleveland in 1992, she barely knew anyone in the city, much less in the business community. However, after 13 years of work and perseverance, Gianfagna stands today as one of the most successful women entrepreneurs in Northeast Ohio, a role she has aimed for since her arrival.
"I have the desire to achieve excellence in every level," Gianfagna says. "I hate to settle for mediocrity."
Mediocre is the last word that applies to Gianfagna.
Starting out from her home, Gianfagna built her company completely from scratch, networking and developing a client base in a city where she had no contacts or previous experience.
Today, as president of Gianfagna Marketing & Communications Inc., she is responsible for the direct marketing and advertising of Fortune 500 companies and other leading businesses around the country.
"My career is an example of my approach to life: to engage fully in the opportunities life presents," she says.
Professionally, Gianfagnaâ€™s career as an entrepreneur culminated in the 2003 Professional of the Year award, a lifetime achievement award from the Direct Marketing Association of Washington, D.C.
Although she has been presented with numerous other professional awards and recognitions, Gianfagna is most proud of her husband and children. She cites "the desire to provide a good life for my family" as a driving force behind her work ethic.
Gianfagna realizes how important an example her career is to other aspiring women, and hopes her business success will pave the way for others. She serves as the president of the Cleveland chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, a position that allows her to work to strengthen womenâ€™s positions in the business community.
"My career shows women can achieve success in entrepreneurship. And entrepreneurship offers a viable way to combine career and family. A lot of women become entrepreneurs because of this. In the early years of my business, I was able to be set up from home, but also have a professional setting.
"I feel Iâ€™ve raised the visibility of women business holders," she says. "When business is done in Northeast Ohio, there is a seat at the table for women."
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