Like many others, Gina Castellano Morisoli’s career followed a path different than what she had envisioned as a college student.
As a finance major at Baylor, she fully expected to work for a bank and aspired to become a CEO by age 40.
“You think there’s this magical career path that’s plotted out for you,” Morisoli says. “That is not real life, and unfortunately sometimes the economy has an alternate plan that doesn’t cooperate with your own.”
Morisoli grew up in Arlington, Texas, and, like many young scholar athletes, dreamt of heading off to an “exotic” location for college — anywhere but nearby. Selected the Texas state player of the year as a senior, she was highly recruited out of high school with her pick of universities.
“The thought of moving away to an entirely new place sounds cool,” Morisoli says. “But ultimately, Coach [Randy] Waldrum was able to sell me on the vision of building a program and a legacy from the ground up in my home state. That led me to Baylor. Looking back on it now, it was the perfect outcome.”
At age 17, having already committed to Baylor, Morisoli experienced the loss of her father in an automobile accident while her family returned to Arlington from a regional soccer tournament.
“Staying close to home with the support of family while attending Baylor made the journey after losing my dad more manageable,” she says. “Most likely, had I gone far away for college, my family would have had few opportunities to see me play and be there for me when I needed them.”
Morisoli joined Baylor’s soccer program in its second year of existence. She was a freshman in 1997 and helped the Bears to the Big 12 Conference championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance as a sophomore.
“When I left high school, Baylor was still the scrappy underdog, but look at the success we had in such a short period of time,” Morisoli says. “A lot of us played together growing up, but we weren’t a tenured team or coaching staff. You work as hard as you can, and a lot of times good things come from that.”
After graduating from Baylor, Morisoli found early success as a business operations analyst for Nationstar Mortgage. In 2009, she returned to school at the University of Notre Dame, from which she obtained an MBA. Morisoli appreciated Notre Dame’s similarity to Baylor as a faith-based private institution.
“I always thought of Baylor as a top-tier school when it came to academics and culture,” she says. “Notre Dame also had that sense of family that you don’t get a lot of places. My husband went to UCLA, and he doesn’t have alumni reaching out to him throughout the year to network or meet up. It’s a different atmosphere.”
Morisoli met her husband Brannon while both were working for a housing developer in the Dallas area. It was 2008, on the precipice of the market’s downturn. Her decision to attend graduate school — a decision, she says, in which nothing was guaranteed but the debt — came at a time when she regularly worried about making rent.
“It was a leap of faith,” Morisoli says. “But hard work pays off, and out of that I have a career that has spanned 10 years with many travel opportunities.”
After Notre Dame, Morisoli worked three years for Epic, a privately held healthcare software company based in Madison, Wisconsin. Epic software holds medical records for nearly two-thirds of all patients in the United States.
“It was problem solving — very difficult problems for even more demanding clients,” Morisoli says.
Today, she is an independent consultant, providing her medical computer IT services to hospital systems. Morisoli is a senior access consultant for Evergreen Healthcare Partners, a healthcare IT company based out of Chicago. However, she essentially is her own business, thanks to her expertise with the Epic software. Morisoli lives in Highland Park but travels for work every week.
“Wherever they send me. I’ve worked all over the country,” she says. “If we provide software to a hospital and that hospital merges with another hospital, there is a need for these IT solutions in order to keep all the records and charts for us to legally perform as an institution. It’s more extensive than going to a hospital and simply plopping in a CD to install the new system.”
Even with her professional aptitude and success, Morisoli says hers is a career she never saw coming.
“I never planned on being in software, looking at the underside of the carriage and looking at code and writing that for hospitals,” she says. “Now, it’s a very familiar space for me.”
Morisoli says much of her professional success stems from her background in athletics at Baylor, where she was a three-time first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection and remains among the program’s all-time leaders in career assists.
“Name something it doesn’t prepare you for professionally,” Morisoli says of being a collegiate student-athlete. “Day in and day out, we have to work as a team. I verbatim say things to team members that coaches said to me.”