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young professional of the year 2020 GILROY spice of life awards Gianfranco I FILICE Written By Kimberly Ewertz t’s not surprising that Gianfranco Filice was selected as Young Professional of the Year consider- ing all that he’s achieved in his 21 years. Out of an intern class of 350 he was the only college freshman selected to join Visa as a business analyst. He also interned at the global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, after being selected from more than 100,000 applicants. He also spent a summer working as a business analyst in Goldman Sachs’ New York office, and most recently with the venture capital firm, Matrix Partners. As if that weren’t enough, he’ll be starting work with a group equity firm upon graduating from Stanford this June. How has this young man accom- plished so much? His answer: his par- ents, Franco and Nadina Filice. “My mom is amazing, I don’t think I would have the eloquence or the ability to articulate my ideas without her,” he said. “She has modeled for me what it means to be a human being that can spread love and joy regardless.” It’s no wonder his mother has been such a powerful role model. When Gianfranco was 13, Nadina was diag- nosed with Stage IV stomach cancer and given a slim chance of survival. “I saw my parents meeting with dif- ferent doctors and constantly going through chemo treatments. It was a dif- ficult time,” he said. His father Franco, has equally influ- enced his life. “There was a period of three or four years where my dad stopped working and became mom’s personal nurse,” Gianfranco said. “He’s been very sup- portive and definitely someone who has helped model and shape my view of GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN SPRING 2020 the world. I’m very lucky to get to have these two role models in my life.” After witnessing all his family went through, Gianfranco realized that time is a precious commodity and he wanted to make a difference. At the age of 14, he focused his energies on founding his own company, Ripple Designs, which produced creatively-designed products tied to charitable donations. During the company’s run, Ripple provided over 10,000 people with access to drinking water and 5,000 emergency meals. But even with the success of the company, he felt unfulfilled. “I was at an extremely low point,” he said. At age 20, he decided it was time to focus his attention inward, but to do that he would need help. “As one learns how to struggle one learns how to deal with pain,” he said. “And life, with its ebbs and flows, will always find a way to test your persis- tence and your ability to maintain your character in the face of difficulty.” Gianfranco began working with a life strategist and 18 months later came away with the realization that the deep- est sense of fulfilment comes from giv- ing, and he wants to give to those who need it the most. “Roughly fifty percent of all Americans are four hundred dollars from financial ruin,” he said. With his long-range goal of estab- lishing a financial technology company aimed at creating an automated and tailored solution to address that prob- lem, Gianfranco knows he can make a difference. “That’s something I’m willing to devote my life to. Character equals desti- ny and destiny equals fulfillment in life.” 33