Mike Ferraro didn’t fall in love with Nina at first sight, but he did hire her. He had a hunch at the time that she would thrive at the company, which she ultimately did, but he couldn’t have known at the time the many, many qualities in Nina that have made her the most persistent, hard-working, loving woman he knows.
Nina is 100 percent self-made, a product of her own tireless work ethic, incredible talent and an ability to simply survive and thrive no matter the situation. She is tenacious in one breath, compassionate the next, serious then funny, honest, loyal and fun.
Michael started to see all of these things come to light as he spent time with Nina, mostly in a group setting with friends after work. After plenty of happy hour gatherings, Michael found that he and Nina were the only two still up for one Friday afternoon get-together where they took their friendship to another level.
They decided to keep their plans that evening, even as everyone else bailed, which was ultimately an unplanned first date that ended with their first kiss. They started a relationship from there but kept it quiet for years to avoid the secret getting out in the office, but they were spotted by a co-worker at a hockey game and had to come clean.
“It was beyond complicated for the HR Manager to be dating someone at work, so we kept it on the down low,” Michael said. “It wasn’t easy, but we both share the same core values and we knew we could make it work.”
Not much about the entire relationship was easy in the early going, beginning with that work dynamic. Michael and Nina merged two families together with her son Matthew (32) and his four children Emily (28), twins Josh and Jorey (26) and Nick (23), and they also added a daughter-in-law Leah just this month.
Their kids are grown up now, but when Michael and Nina bought a house in 2004 and ultimately married in 2007, they were still children and Nina was heavily involved in raising all of them.
Through all the challenges of blending families, just as she seems to do in every other area of her life, Nina got to work and moved forward with purpose and positivity. The same recipe for success pushed her from humble beginnings as a temp in Zeus’ Finance department to her current role as the plant manager for the Branchburg facility.
“She is a very good wife and mom, and also very good professionally,” Mike said. “She is strong-willed, focused and very loyal and dedicated. She is fun, adventurous and a great cook. She is an inspiration to me. She never lets anything get her down for long.”
Michael’s admiration for Nina is clear, as a co-worker, a mother and a wife who always listens and supports him. She is also the daughter of parents, Hari and Shanti, who still live in India. Nina makes clear how much she loves and values them as well. Mike and Nina love to visit them, and Nina makes sure she FaceTimes them every weekend.
That’s the person Nina is.
She offers no excuses, only works hard and does everything to the best of her ability. Family is always at the top of her priority list, and Michael is lucky enough to feel her relentless love and support every day.
This Valentine’s Day, he only wants to share how much her love, trust and friendship mean to him.
“Having her as a wife has been the best thing that ever could have happened to me and the kids,” he said. “We are all better because she has been in our lives. And the older the kids get, the more they appreciate her great qualities.
“She has rock solid core values and she never waivers from them. She is super fun, but also the best companion, mom and friend anyone could ever hope for.”