Gina Pinto Williams is a Peruvian immigrant who owns four Liberty Tax Service franchise locations in the greater Cincinnati area. Immigrating to the United States in 1999, Gina searched for opportunities to further her skills, live the American dream and achieve the success many people in her home country never realize. Overcoming impossible odds, developing a strong work ethic and balancing family life with small business ownership, Gina has laid a foundation and become a strong, successful business woman. Gina's business has received the following accolades: Hispanic Business of the Year by League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) OHIO, Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan by the STARR regional and the 2014 SCORE Award for Outstanding Franchise Small Business.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I truly believe that overcoming the obstacles I faced when I first came to the United States gave me the foundation I needed to become a strong woman and business leader. When I left Peru, there weren't many opportunities for work; even well-educated people like lawyers resorted to driving taxi cabs to earn a living. I wanted a better life for myself, so I came to the U.S. without knowing how to drive a car or speak English. I was extremely motivated to be successful, and I worked hard to overcome impossible obstacles during my first few years here.

Despite the obstacles, my cultural background has been a huge help to me in my approach to business. As a Hispanic woman, family is the most important thing to me. This approach to running my Liberty Tax Service locations has helped me focus on the underserved Latino community.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at Liberty Tax Service? 
When I came to the U.S., I started out at the bottom - working in a factory, and then delivering newspapers early in the morning for the first few years. Once I learned English, I knew being bilingual would get me very far. I started working in customer service, and eventually became a top managing team member of a telecommunications sales team. Understanding every aspect of business, from low-level operations to more complex management systems, gave me great background knowledge that I relied on as I first opened stores, and I'm still able to refer to now.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Liberty Tax Service?
The highest, most exciting point of becoming a small business owner was opening my first Liberty Tax location and starting my family at the same time. It was a wonderful period of growth in my life that I had worked so hard to achieve. Since then, I've enjoyed being able to take care of and educate my clients, most of whom are underserved. New immigrants are often taken advantage of, simply for the fact that they don't know any better. Having recently been a new immigrant, I know exactly what they need and I really enjoy helping them find success.

While I've experienced many successes and high points in my business, there have also been many challenges. In the beginning of opening any business there's a lot of work required before it turns a profit. During the first few years, I worked harder and longer hours than I ever had before. I was exhausted but I kept at it and I'm very proud to see what I've accomplished.