Giovanna Trotta | From Italy to Calgary

“My parents come from a town called San Giovanni in Fiori, Italy. There was no work for them in Italy to raise a family,” says Giovanna (Jo) Trotta.

Author

Genevieve Juillet, Cumming School of Medicine

“My parents come from a town called San Giovanni in Fiori, Italy. There was no work for them in Italy to raise a family,” says Giovanna (Jo) Trotta. “My father came to Canada alone to see what it was like and then called my mother and older sister to join him. That was 60 years ago.” 

Though born in Calgary, Jo hasn’t forgotten her Italian heritage. She’s fluent in Italian and has a passion for cooking. “I specialize in a lot of Italian food, but I like cooking all sorts of food—from French to Greek to Asian. I try to make something different for dinner every night so we don’t get bored!” Jo’s favourite cooking partner is her daughter, who’s 22 and just finishing her degree at the University of Lethbridge. “I’m very lucky to have such a tight bond with her.” 

Jo’s career at the Cumming School of Medicine bookstore began when she was a student herself. “I started working at the main campus bookstore part-time while studying,” says Jo. “My manager told me about an opportunity at the medical school store and I applied, working my way up from there.” It has been 32 years now and Jo still enjoys her job. Her favourite part? “All the friendly faces I see every day!” 

Outside of work, Jo’s family means everything to her. “I really admire my parents for immigrating to Canada to make a better life for all of us,” she says. “I’m very fortunate to have the family I have. I can’t pick a single favourite memory as they’re all so precious to me.” 

Tidbits from Jo: 

Her favourite hobby: “I’m always happiest when I’m in the kitchen.” 

Her favourite spot on the Foothills campus: “The courtyard. I like to enjoy the warm weather while I eat my lunch.” 

Her childhood ambition: “I wanted to be a flight attendant. I’ve always enjoyed travelling and meeting new people.” 

Her greatest achievement: “Raising my daughter to be a wonderful, beautiful and compassionate woman.”