“I have so many great memories of my time at LMU,” says accounting alumna Gina Roberts-Hagen ’87. “I developed a strong work ethic, defined my core values, made lifelong friends and even received a job offer before I graduated!”
Gina’s love and enthusiasm for LMU is evident to this day. “I just feel really fortunate that I went to LMU,” she said. “The university taught me to be a continuous learner and gave me a broader perspective. It also provided a great launching pad for my career.”
For 25 years, Gina served as CFO of two family-owned businesses – OPI Products and Milani Cosmetics – that experienced tremendous growth and were eventually sold. In addition to running finance, she oversaw the human capital, information technology and legal departments. In 2020, the timing was right for Gina to enter a new phase of her career as a personal financial planner.
“In working with so many employees, it became clear that everyone deserves access and knowledge to financial planning,” said Gina. “I was being approached by employees, family members and friends asking about their 401k benefits, managing credit card debt or purchasing a home. I felt a real calling to move in this direction to help others reach their financial goals.”
Over the last few decades, financial planning has evolved from buying and selling stocks into a full-service checkup that includes cash flow management, tax and insurance planning, investment planning, retirement planning and estate planning – all areas Gina has expertise in. She completed a certificate in personal financial planning through UCLA Extension, passed the CFP exam and launched her own financial advisory practice.
Looking back on her life and career, Gina vividly remembers the day she arrived on the bluff as a transfer student with her sights set on earning an accounting degree. She joined the Accounting Society and worked as a teaching assistant for Professor George Dasaro. It didn’t take long for Gina to realize how passionate the accounting professors were about wanting every student to succeed. It also didn’t take long for her to figure out how hard the accounting program was.
“LMU’s accounting program provided a drive in me to always reach higher,” said Gina. “The professors were very supportive, yet they expected you to put in the work and would call you out if you were slacking off.”
The accounting class of 1987 banded together and grew very close. “Feeling challenged brings you closer to others going through the same experience. We all wanted each other to succeed. I still stay in touch with several classmates, and a few are lifelong friends.”
In fact, Gina was part of a group of donors who contributed and inspired others to establish the Class of 1987 Endowed Accounting Scholarship. Gina also started a fund to support financial literacy initiatives in the College of Business Administration. She credits her faith for instilling a desire to give back. Donating to LMU allows her to participate in programs that can give back.
“I see LMU as always striving to do the best for its students, to keep them at the forefront of changes in business, society and technology so they are prepared to make positive contributions,” said Gina. “When you understand LMU’s core principles, it’s easy to want to get involved.”
Gina also served on the LMU Accounting Advisory Board for four years which allowed her to meet other accomplished professionals and provide feedback and guidance to the Department of Accounting on how to better serve the needs of students.
When she’s not working, you can find Gina on the tennis court or enjoying other outdoor activities. She’s also active in her church’s Mission Outreach program.
“I encourage every LMU student to think about what they’re thankful for and how LMU has helped them get to where they are today. Build a strong network of classmates and professors – they want you to succeed. And define a personal mantra; mine is Believe, Be Brave & Breathe.”