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Cafecito Con Gigi Guzman

Thursday, April 20, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Cafecito con Gigi Guzman

President/Owner -GiTech

 

Gigi Guzmán is a business owner and a champion of the Hispanic business community. She previously owned GlobalTech Bilingual Institute, a language institute teaching English as a Second Language and Spanish as a Second Language as well as providing workforce development and job placement to Hispanic Latinos. She now owns and runs GiTech Inc., a company that provides English and Spanish translation and interpreter services, English and Spanish language instruction and workforce Development on contract with primes, federal agencies and corporations.

She is one of two founders of the Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Working alongside co-founder Hector Viñas, Gigi worked to make MDHCC known to government officials and Hispanic/Latino business owners. She served as Chair from 2000-2004 and now, 30 years later, she serves on the Board of Directors and chairs the Business Advocacy & Mentorship Committee (BAM!).


What is the focus of GiTech, Inc?


It’s a company focusing on bilingual services such as translation, interpretation, training and workforce development. We serve mostly large corporations and federal agencies.

Why did you decide to start GiTech?


I started this company back in 1988 to provide Information Technology services and, overtime, during almost 30 years of continuous operation, it evolved into a bilingual training company and an English as a Second Language institute doing business as GlobalTech Bilingual Institute. After I sold that division, GiTech is again focusing on bilingual services, primarily in English – Spanish translation and interpretation services.

What impact has being a member of the MDHCC had on you and your business?


I was one of the founding members back in 1986. Together with Hector Viñas, we realized that there was no organization that represented the growing Hispanic/Latino enterprises; so, it became our goal to get a Chamber of Commerce established in Maryland. Hence, the Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was born and it has been in continuous operation since 1986.


Why did you choose Maryland as the place in which to do business?

 
Back in 1964, my father worked as a diplomatic emissary from Chile to the United Nations and my mother worked at Johns Hopkins University doing research. That’s how we settled in Baltimore and I’ve been here ever since. I finished high school, college, got married and raised two daughters. So, Maryland became the one and only place to do business in. I started out in the Information Systems’ department of a large insurance company back in 1975 and a decade later, in 1985, I started my own business. GiTech initially focused on information technology services providing programming for IBM mainframes utilizing Cobol, CICS and other mainframe programing languages. As technology evolved, I became a Certified Network Engineer (CNE), a type of Unix environment, and later on embraced fourth and fifth generation development languages. In addition to that, we did a lot of training on Microsoft products, Windows, Word, and Excel. Because I spoke Spanish, we started to provide computer training in a bilingual format. As life would have it, it took off, so we started to provide English as a Second Language. It grew exponentially, and led to the development of my English language institute, GlobalTech Bilingual Institute, in 1996. It was a DBA (doing business as) and operated as a division of GiTech Inc. for 16 years. We taught English and computer skills to over 5,000 Latino students in our Baltimore City facilities.

What is the hardest decision you have had to make in your business?

 
The hardest decision was to sell GlobalTech in 2012. I needed more personal freedom to take care of my mother who passed away a year later. Regretfully, it was not my best decision.

What are your expansion plans for the future?

 
I plan to go back to providing English and Spanish language instruction. It was a lot of fun and it felt very good to teach people essential language skills.

If you had to go back and do it again…would you? What would you change?

 
I wish I had continued as a strong player in Information Technology but it had to take a second position to GlobalTech’s growth and development.

What business and leadership advice can you give our members?

 

Time, effort and money – It boils down to long hours, complete dedication, financial commitment and being your worst critic in a constant effort to improve your products, services, and internal processes.

Who is your mentor?

 
Hector Viñas was my mentor. He was truly and an inspirational visionary.

Café…con leche y azúcar or black?


Negro y dulce.

Is there any other fun fact about you or your business that you’d like to share?


At GlobalTech, we used to have great parties - the students danced the bachata, merengue and salsa all over that big building on Luzerne Avenue. And once a year, we had a graduation ceremony at a fancy venue, invited dignitaries, public officials, the Governor, and the funding entities in the State of Maryland that we are still so grateful to, including Gilberto de Jesus, the Workforce Development Board and several Maryland Governors, Officials and Corporate sponsors that played a big quiet role in the background. It was a great time!

 


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