Sally Baldridge started in the mailroom at Jazzercise almost 35 years ago, and has worked her way up to the posts (yes, that’s plural) she holds now – Chief Operating & Financial Officer. She’s the most cheerful person in the office, but you’ll also find a picture of Sally right there in the dictionary description of “spitfire.” We asked her everything you want to know about her Jazzercise journey.
How did you come to Jazzercise Corporate?
I graduated from Cal State Long Beach in December with a degree in Business (emphasis in Finance) and knew I wanted to work in Business. I was engaged to Dean (her husband of almost-35 years) who is from Oceanside, CA. I started pounding the pavement looking for work, only to find out that San Diego was a very mature job market. Here I was right out of college!
Back then, we didn’t have social media or cell phones and the only people I knew in San Diego County were Dean’s parents (Dean was still living in Long Beach) his best friend and his best friend’s wife Nora who suggested I apply at Jazzercise. So, I came right over with my resume, dressed in nylons and sling-back pumps. Personnel Director Marjorie Sowers told me they didn’t have any positions but to try the temp agency next door. Well, the agency sent me right back to Jazzercise to temp in the warehouse typing orders and labels!
Tell us a little bit about your path…
I did pretty much anything that needed doing. Working in the warehouse, I got to know our apparel line from the ground up. After 4 months in the warehouse, we put in our first accounting system and needed a data input person, so, I raised my hand.
I started working for then-CFO Robin Wilkins entering beginning balances from the aging report. (Editor’s note: we don’t know what an “aging report” is, but we don’t think Botox has anything to do with it.) Robin moved me over to accounting and that was the foundation for my career at Jazzercise.
What keeps you here?
I’ve always had a passion for fitness. My Dad jogged and was the doctor for a high school football team, so, I grew up with a healthy lifestyle as our family focus.
I started at such a great time in 1982. Things kept evolving and changing so I never felt static here.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
Well, I love to be outdoors and we do a lot of walking. I also love sharing mystery novels with Judi (Sheppard Missett, Founder and CEO.)
Oh, and my girls (identical twins Marcie and Jodi, 29) both work at Disneyland, so we go there quite a bit!
What has Jazzercise taught you?
To be more flexible in my thinking. I’m a linear thinker: rules are my friends. Working for Judi, an entrepreneur, the lines can squiggle a bit. Through our relationship, I’ve learned that you can make exceptions and stick to your core values.
What’s one Fun Fact about you that we’d never guess?
I’ll give you two: I’m the 6th of 8 children and my husband is 6’3” to my 4’11-1/2”!
Do you have a favorite sweet snack or vice?
Yep. Three rolled tacos with guacamole.
Anything else you’d like to share?
While Judi and Shanna are the faces of Jazzercise, I’m more of a behind-the-scenes person. Judi and I read people the same way. We’re very aligned in our thinking from the types of restaurants we like to big business decisions and we’re much more similar than people might think. My contributions may not always be visible, but I take pride in what I bring to the table.
Plus, starting in Jazzertogs (now known as Jazzercise Apparel) and working in so many areas of the company, I have a good understanding of the franchisee and of our overall structure: I’m able to see the whole picture.