It was a week after Gia graduated from college. She had sent out her resume tapes (yes, tapes!), which was a long and arduous process. So finally, she was taking a much-needed break by the ocean in San Diego when she got the call.
It was a news director from Eugene, Oregon. Gia stepped out of the hole-in-the-wall bar and away from her carne asada fries, to take the call. By the end of that conversation, the news director said, "Well, we'd like to offer you a job here as a reporter. Do you want it?"
And the rest is history.
Gia began her career at KEZI, the ABC affiliate in Eugene in 2009. While there, she won an AP award for best breaking news story and news excellence. She also became a University of Oregon Ducks fan and that was easy since she lived down the street from Autzen Stadium. Gia shot, wrote and edited her own stories. Eventually Gia was promoted to weekend anchor and that also meant, producing her own show. But after surviving, learning and falling in love with the Pacific Northwest for more than two years, it was time to move on.
One day, a news director from Kansas City, Missouri called. Her thoughts? "Gia was a west coast girl and would never move to the Midwest!"
But boy, was she wrong.
It just took a blessing in disguise to make it happen. The station impressed her enough to fly her out, but she wasn't sold. Then, her plane was canceled for the night while she was there, and that made all the difference. The next day, she took the job.
Gia began working at WDAF, the Fox affiliate in Kansas City, in 2011. She was a reporter and fill-in anchor at Fox 4 News. Gia was also nominated for her first Emmy there about the changing cultures in Kansas City's first neighborhood. One of the most impactful stories for Gia in her career, came while she was in the Midwest. She was sent to cover the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma in 2013. Gia saw the spirit of community at work. She learned during her time there, it is true what they say about Midwesterners: they are the friendliest people. She made life-long friends there who showed her how to be a big Royals and Chiefs fan. But as this business goes, it was time again.
This time, it was Phoenix, Arizona.
Gia began working at KPNX, the NBC affiliate in 2013. She was a reporter for the 10 p.m. newscast and anchored a number of shows there. Gia was able to cover wildfires in northern Arizona, and was even sent to cover the massive fires in San Diego in 2014. In 2015, the Super Bowl came to town and Gia was also an important part of that coverage. When she wasn't working, it was easy to find something to do with the amazing hiking trails in, or just outside, of the cities. (Of course, not during summer!)
Today, Gia is an anchor at KMPH Fox 26 in Fresno, California. This move was a no-brainer.
Gia was born in Modesto. She lived in Merced for part of her childhood before moving to Sacramento. She graduated with a journalism degree from Sacramento State. Gia has a huge family, six sisters and three boys! She also has many relatives right here in the valley. And she is no stranger to Fresno, spending some summers here with her grandparents growing up.
Gia is Hmong and her parents are refugees from Laos. They escaped to a camp in Thailand during the Vietnam War where her dad spent a year standing in line every day to hope their family's name was on a list to get sponsored to go to the states. Her mom sewed Hmong "paj ntaub" or cross-stitching to make some money. Gia is extremely proud of her roots and how far her family has come.
On her free time, you'll find her at community events, hiking the nearby beautiful mountains, trying out new restaurants, watching a game or at a game, or visiting family and friends.
So, after many stops in different parts of the country, Gia is happy to call the central valley and California home again.
If you see her in the community, say hello! If you have a story idea, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, catch her at 10 p.m., Monday through Friday!