Alumni Spotlight

Good Gift Box: A Better Way to Shop

If you’re like so many of us, holidays, birthdays and special occasions somehow seem to creep up unexpectedly. You’re suddenly left fighting holiday crowds or racing to the mall in a desperate attempt to discover the perfect (usually last minute) gift for that special someone.

Meet three female entrepreneurs and FIU alumnae who are ready to transform the way you think about gift giving! Patricia Izquierdo, M.S. ’08; Gennipher Perdomo ’11; and Carolina Lizarralde, MBA ’10 understand your dilemma all too well and they’ve created a solution: Good Gift Box. From birthdays to baby showers and everything in between, this South Florida trio is designing thoughtful, handcrafted gift boxes with a focus on featuring products from other local and US entrepreneurs.

Patricia, Gennipher and Carolina found time to catch up with us to discuss their experiences at FIU, juggling career and family with a new business endeavor and to share more about Good Gift Box. The following Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

Tell us about your years as an FIU student. What were your goals?

Patricia: My Master’s program was based on the FIU Biscayne Bay campus. At the time, it was a relatively quiet campus and the School of Hospitality was in a building along the bay. I took full advantage of the beautiful scenery – meeting with classmates, studying and hanging out outside.

My goal was to learn from my peers – to understand their experiences and how they worked through them.

Carolina: Early on, I knew I had made the right choice. I had a good experience as a student of the Professional MBA Downtown program. The program was based in Brickell and allowed a diverse group of professionals to come together at a convenient and beautiful location.

My experience challenged me to see past what I thought would be my biggest obstacle – thinking I would not have enough time. I had to make some personal sacrifices to perform well both in the classroom and at work, but it was all worth it.

My goals were to challenge myself and grow as a business professional, gaining new insight and fresh perspective. I was fortunate to be able to do both thanks to incredible interactions with my peers, professors and other business professionals. With great dedication, perseverance and determination, I accomplished what I intended to.

Genni: My years as an FIU student were wonderful. I worked on campus and took the majority of my classes on the MMC campus. I wanted to make connections and develop as many relationships as possible in hopes that one day, my peers and I would be able to help each other reach our professional goals.

Has FIU supported you in meeting your career goals? If so, how?

Carolina: Completing my MBA degree at FIU broadened my view on best business practices, allowing me to advance my career and go after new ambitions. Since graduation, I’ve engaged in regional and enterprise projects with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as Associate Director. I was also inspired and motivated to explore my inner entrepreneur and recently co-founded Good Gift Box!

Genni: Now that I have become more in tune with what I want to do with my life, I’ve started reaching out more and FIU is open to helping in any way possible. To this day, I still receive emails from FIU when guest speakers are coming to campus and it makes me feel as though FIU really has my back and wants me to succeed. They are there for you if you need any sort of help.

Tell us about your company.

Patricia: Good Gift Box is the answer to too many hours spent worrying about the perfect gift: what to give, where and how to get it and how best to present it. Our dedicated team will bring you the best, most relevant gifts offered by United States artisans. Each Good Gift Box is thoughtfully hand-packaged and presented in an eco-friendly gift box. Whether you’re looking for a prepackaged or custom gift box, be confident you can trust us with your gift giving needs.

Carolina: Additionally, we’re committed to supporting local artisans and encouraging fellow entrepreneurs. 

Share a little about your career journey and how you ended up where you are today.

Patricia: I began my career in hospitality, working my way from the front desk to Director of Housekeeping. I have a passion for logistics, but I was looking to meld this talent with my creativity. Transitioning to a Meeting and Events position felt like a logical next step for me, so I moved to Washington, DC and thrived in that role. It was tough to leave my home in DC to return to Miami recently, but I did so for professional reasons and to be closer to family. I’ve done well in my career but still want to do more. At the end of the day, I realize that my philosophy is really quite simple; I enjoy being in the business of making people happy. That’s a big reason why we created Good Gift Box.

Carolina: My passion for marketing, branding and business development came to life midway through my undergraduate years at the University of Miami. The new, the different and the unknown have always intrigued me. Being able to take an idea or a partnership to a new level has always been exciting.

Early on in my career, I had the opportunity to work with the Florida Marlins. It was a great experience and a step in the right direction. My passion for sports came together quite nicely with my passion for marketing. It was a great match! I have always had a philanthropic spirit and the next chapter of my life combined my passions for philanthropy and marketing. Again, a perfect match!

My journey with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital dates nine years and I enjoy an incredible career in such a wonderful place. My dedication and commitment have allowed me to move from Marketing Representative to Senior Marketing Representative. From there, I became Regional Manager, and now, I’m Associate Director. I believe that success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself, but what you do for others that sets you apart.

Uncovering my inner entrepreneur has transformed who I am and positively impacted those who chose to be a part of it. Since joining the team in February 2016 and co-founding Good Gift Box, I’ve been on an exciting, rewarding, sometimes uncertain, but always fun journey. I’m looking forward to the future of Good Gift Box with my business partners, the local artisans we support and the other entrepreneurs we hope to inspire!

Genni: I consider myself extremely fortunate with the path my career has taken. I found a company that encourages its employees to find their niche. I’ve worked for them since graduating and I’ve never had a desire to leave!

I started off in an administrative position and was happy to directly assist the officers of the company. When I started to feel a desire to do more, I spoke to my bosses. Of course, just like any other recent graduate, I wanted to put my degree to use. I wanted to work in marketing. At the time, the company had no marketing department. The need was there and I was able to transition into this role. I worked in marketing for about two years and decided I didn’t love it. I am the type of person that needs to love what they are doing in order to do it. So, I took a leap and went in a completely different direction. I earned my real estate license and told my bosses I wanted to work in home sales. They welcomed me with open arms and thought I would be just the right fit for sales.

I am now a New Homes Sales Consultant with the same company and I couldn’t be happier.

Carolina, Patricia and Genni
                                                             Carolina, Patricia and Genni

How did you meet? How and when did you decide to join forces to create Good Gift Box?

Patricia: Genni and I met in July ‘89, we’re sisters! Carolina and I are sorority sisters; we met at UMiami in ‘04. I knew this business was one that I wanted to share with my sister, someone I trust professionally and personally. Carolina presented herself to the company at the right time. We were seeking a partner we could trust, someone who had ambition and would add value to the team. Carolina was a perfect fit.

Genni: Patricia and I are actually sisters, so we go WAY back! I met Carolina through my sister a few years ago and we hit it off right away. All three of us are so different, yet ultimately have the same goals so it made complete sense for us to join forces in creating Good Gift Box. We’ve been working behind the scenes for about a year and just finally went live on October 18, best feeling ever.

What obstacles have you experienced since starting your business venture? How did you overcome them?

Patricia: It’s been a challenge to essentially have two full-time jobs. When we’re done at our 9-5’s, we’re meeting in person, on the phone or over video chat. Starting a business is tough but we’re grateful to have technology that’s helped us be more efficient.

Carolina: The biggest obstacle has been balancing my new passion for entrepreneurship with my existing career and my commitment to family and friends. Overcoming this obstacle is a work in progress. I believe that as long as you are determined, dedicated and passionate, it will all come together nicely. I am grateful for technology, but even more grateful for a strong group of friends and family who have been supportive.

Genni: There are days when I find myself tired and not wanting to do anything. Then there are days I find myself full force, putting on my “pilas,” as we say here at Good Gift Box. There are days we’ve thought our pricing structure wouldn’t work, days we don’t see eye to eye, days we are missing out on fun in order to work. But in the grand scheme of things, none of that matters. No matter the obstacle in front of us, we always manage to keep going. We have a goal set and we are not going to stop until we get there. With a little bit of faith and perseverance, we keep moving forward.

As an alumna, how are you staying involved with FIU and why do you feel this is an important connection to maintain?

Patricia: I attended the Women’s Leadership Summit, Power Up, earlier this summer. It was an inspiring event and I got to meet and chat with other professional females. I would not have had the opportunity to connect with other women with similar goals if it wasn’t for FIU. At Good Gift Box, we hope to develop a relationship with FIU’s First Generation Scholarship program. Over the next few months, we hope to work together and discover ways we can positively impact the lives of first generation students, because we were first generation students, too.

Carolina: In addition to the efforts Patricia mentioned, I’ve been part of a few events hosted by the American Marketing Association Collegiate Chapter over the years.

Genni: I’m really not, HELP ME!

[vision_notification style=”success” font_size=”12px” closeable=”false”] If you’re feeling like Genni, check out to email us, search for events and webinars and discover more ways to get involved! We are here to help our alumni stay connected and thrive. [/vision_notification]

What advice do you have for students who want to start their own businesses?

If not now, when?

Patricia: We have a tendency to put things off until we feel right or until the time is “right”. Chances are, that feeling or that timing won’t ever present itself. You’ve gotta make it the right time.

Carolina: Just do it! Have passion for everything that you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. Be ambitious, courageous and dedicated. Don’t fear the uncertain. Instead, let it be the fuel that ignites your creativity!

Genni: DO IT! While starting your own business entails a massive amount of work, it is completely and totally worth it. There is no better feeling than seeing your vision brought to life. Work, work, work and make it happen. Your company will slowly become your baby and you’ll want to do anything and everything in your power to make it as successful as you possibly can. You’re most likely going to see a side of yourself you never knew existed. I have to admit, seeing the hunger in me has made me really proud of the woman I have become.

Patricia: Use your resources. Reach out to people whether you know them or not. Especially in the small business world, people will help you and they will cheer you on.

Carolina: Strong relationships are key to everything you do. Cultivate them and allow your contacts to connect you to even more people while you do the same for them. Listen to everyone that crosses your path. They were put there for a reason. Learn from every situation, good and bad. Everything you experience is constantly influencing who you are becoming. We never stop evolving. Enjoy the journey and don’t take anything or anyone for granted!


To learn more about Patricia, Genni and Carolina and to explore their current selection of Good Gift Boxes, visit

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