Points of Pride

From MBA to CEO

Gina ZakGina Zak is not only a two-time alumna of the Monte Ahuja College of Business, she is also the Chief Executive Officer of Puppy Parcel, a monthly subscription box filled with curated toys, treats and wellness products for dogs that gives back a percentage of each purchase to dogs in need.

Gina graduated with her MBA in August of 2022 and completed her undergraduate degree in General Business with a minor in Entrepreneurship in May 2021. During her time as an MBA student she carried a full-time load of courses (9 credit hours, 3 classes), was a Graduate Assistant for the Cleveland State University Small Business Development Center working 20 hours per week, started working on her own business and also worked part-time as a business-to-business Marketing Specialist for Harry & David, which she has continued even after graduation.

"If I didn't have the experience as a graduate assistant for the SBDC, I would not have known the steps on how to obtain my vendor's license and file my LLC," said Gina. "I have a really strong work ethic and if I put my mind to something, I'm going to do it. I was grateful for my time at the SBDC because it gave me hands-on experience on how to overall start and run a business."

"I first learned about the opportunity for the SBDC graduate assistantship from Jessica Yox (also a Cleveland State alum and adjunct faculty member) who taught Entrepreneurship Finance," Gina added. "Working with Jessica and the director Katie Van Dyke was a great experience. They both were very encouraging and supported me and my business ideas. I was able to run social media marketing for SBDC client Cou Cou Sentiment and train their employees, as well as advise other SBDC clients on marketing their businesses and filing with the state."

Gina chose Cleveland State University because she had to figure out how to pay for her education and did what was best for her budget by staying home and commuting. She worked throughout her entire college career and was grateful for the opportunity to be a graduate assistant.


"All of the Cleveland State professors care about you as a person. CSU is a good place to obtain your degree," Gina added. "I knew I wanted to continue my education by earning my MBA. I love business and wanted to expand my knowledge overall. I just love learning in general."

"My mom was always supportive," Gina said. "She told me if I wanted something to go for it. As a single mom she was very big on me getting my education."

Puppy ParcelGina started her small business while working with the SBDC and Puppy Parcel became official in September 2022. Born out of her work in pet stores, Gina's subscription box company provides interactive toys, treats and wellness products that she herself has used and tested. All products are Made in America and she donates a portion of the proceeds to no-kill shelters and other dog friendly non-profits.

In addition to running her own business, Gina continues to work as a B2B marketing specialist and full-time as a leasing consultant. What does her future hold?

In the future, Gina is considering starting another business and is contemplating a doctoral degree. We can't wait to see what she does next!

In the meantime, follow Puppy Parcel on social media here: