May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and we are proud to offer our platforms to our team members as they share their stories in their own unique voices. Today, we are pleased to feature Ginny Spataro, our Marketing Manager at Texas A&M at Galveston.
“I grew up in a coastal town called Long Beach Island, New Jersey. It’s considered a vacation town, but I was lucky enough to live there as a local and enjoy the beach or delicious seafood all year long.
Overall, I definitely didn’t have a traditional upbringing as an only child being raised by an Italian/Slovak American father and Filipino mother. Some days we had Filipino food and rice with everything, other days we had Italian. Carbs are our friends at home – but growing up in a household with two unique cultures, I felt that I needed to identify who I was in order to understand where I fit in best with friends, family, or even my career. Now that I’m older, I’ve learned to embrace that my cultures make me unique, and positively influence who I am.
My mom, Dahlia, personally managed two businesses before the age of 22 in the Philippines and left all of that behind to start over in the United States as an hourly retail worker. She worked her way back up again to give me the opportunities I have now, which is not uncommon for many Filipinos moving to the States. Her personal story has inspired me to persevere through all of life’s challenges.
Most of my jobs as a teen involved working in restaurants or the food industry in general. Once I started working with Chartwells as an intern about 7 years ago, I had the food knowledge and educational degree to transition to a full-time marketing manager role. So far, I’ve worked at three campuses as a Unit Marketing Manager in my career with Chartwells: Stockton University, King’s College, and Texas A&M University at Galveston! I love to cook, travel, watch movies, listen to podcasts, or spend time outdoors. Really this list could go on – I’m just innately curious and interested in a little bit of everything. As a person, I tend to draw inspiration from my surroundings and base my interests on that.
I want people to know that Filipinos are some of the most hardworking, kind, and welcoming people you will ever meet in your life. One thing that was common between my Mom and Dad, is that they both came from very family-oriented cultures. I’d like to challenge others to think of what elements of our upbringing make us similar, and how diversity makes us a better community.”