Turning a Passion for Business into Love of Education
Gina Pinch isn’t all business. At least not all the time. The faculty chair for business, management and public administration at Rio Salado College enjoys bringing her professional experience to an academic environment. But she once considered a very different career path.
“My original college major was in fine arts, but after reaching my senior year in college, I decided to change my major to business,” Pinch said. “Once I started taking business courses, I knew I had found ‘my people.’”
Originally from California, Pinch grew up on a 40-acre property in Oregon. When she was in high school, the family serendipitously relocated to Phoenix.
“I met my husband in Sunday School one week after moving to Phoenix,” Pinch said. “The day we met he told a friend that he was going to marry me. We were 14 years old at the time, and that friend was an usher at our wedding five years later.
Pinch earned her bachelor’s in business administration and finance from Arizona State University. She followed up with a master’s degree in adult education and online learning from the University of Phoenix.
Pinch went on to have a successful career working in financial planning, commercial real estate and accounting.
She earned several professional accolades including a Meritorious Service Award and Team Award from the Tempe Police Department and the Coordinator of the Year award from the AZ Technology in Education Alliance.
Soon, another pivot took place leading Pinch to embark on a career in education.
“I was inspired to move into education after having my two children,” Pinch said. “At that time, flexible schedules for working moms were not prevalent. I initially transitioned to K-12 and eventually moved to the college environment.”
In 2010, Pinch joined Rio Salado as an instructional designer to help identify and create curriculum for the college’s business program.
She has served as the program’s faculty chair since 2017 and is particularly keen on helping adult learners reach their potential.
“I love knowing that the work we do impacts students’ lives long-term,” Pinch said. “Education can make the difference between a job and a career and can facilitate someone making a good income to support their family and pursue other goals.”
Students who choose to study business have a variety of career options.
“Careers in business are really varied and include management, finance, marketing, and operations,” Pinch said. “Since all organizations rely on business knowledge, the career possibilities are quite extensive.”
As Pinch earned two certificates at Rio Salado, she can speak directly to what it takes to be successful as an online student.
“One key is dedicating time each week for classwork,” Pinch said. “It is too easy to fall behind because there are no synchronous requirements. Online students must have self-discipline to stay up to date.”
Pinch encourages students to stay relevant, no matter their program of study or career path.
“New skills are often required – even when employees retain the same position within an organization,” Pinch said. “These new skills could be driven by technology, strategic changes, or forces outside the organization, such as the current pandemic. Adapting to change can ensure you remain competitive.”
Aside from academics, Pinch relishes her other full-time job.
“Outside of work, my life revolves around my husband, two adult kids and three grandchildren,” Pinch said. “Being a grandma is an amazing job!”
Pictured above: Gina with her husband and grandchildren
By Mira Radovich, Senior Contributing Writer