Ginger Harris is the Administrative Assistant to Jazzercise, Inc. Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett and has been with the company for 34 Years (!!!). She was raised on a 120-acre timber farm in Georgia where she was once attacked by a turkey. Ginger hasn’t liked anything feathered since.
How did you come to Jazzercise Corporate?
I was a customer before I started working here. My job was in the banking industry and was very formal – nylons and everything. My company was moving to Orange County, but I wanted to stay in San Diego. A friend said, why don’t you interview at Jazzercise? When I came in the first day I saw people wearing shorts to work! It was a total difference. I needed to buy a whole new wardrobe to work here.
How did you become Judi’s assistant?
One day, Judi was too busy to listen to new music for the taping and I offered to listen to it and give her my favorites. Back then, we listened to music on 45s and 33s! The rest is history.
What keeps you here?
I enjoy what I do. My day is never the same. I can plan it out, but before I get here I’ll get a text or phone call asking for something different and from then on it’s just never the same. Music and getting the new titles is my first priority. My granddaughter says “My friends think you are the coolest grandma! Every time they ask what a song is I say let me call my grandma and they think that’s so cool.” It’s always exciting and busy, busy, busy. It keeps it hopping and that’s what I like.
Are you busy, busy, busy outside of work?
No! Life outside of work is more relaxed. I enjoy family. When I get home, I always say, Don (her husband), give me 5 minutes because he’s like my Energizer bunny.
(Don and I) met at school Atlanta Tech in Atlanta, Georgia. A friend introduced us, but we did not click initially. I told him, “I don’t know who filled your head with that you're God’s gift to women, but it’s not that way for me.” He reintroduced himself and we went from there. It’s been 40+ years.
What’s one fun fact about you that we’d never guess?
You would never guess I love to jump on the trampoline. The first time I got on it I was scared but, you know, it’s a funny feeling and I couldn’t stop laughing. The grandkids are spoiled. We have fun with them.
Do you have a favorite snack?
Parmesan cheese goldfish. You will always find them at my desk or in my bag. I also love chips and salsa.
Do you have any fun or silly stories about JSM that you can share with us?
The conventions in San Diego were so big and Judi would get so hungry and so tired. One time, we all sat down at the Hilton and put our feet up. The phone rang and Judi realized she was supposed to be on stage. She said “Don’t answer it!” and ran over to the convention center to get up there.
We’ve done all kinds of things and that’s what makes it fun. We laugh through it all.
Do you have a quote, motto or words to live by?
Something my mother always said to me is “do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Treat people as you want to be treated.
What has Jazzercise taught you?
Learn to have fun at whatever you do. Life can be tough. Nothing is guaranteed. Judi – that’s kind of her philosophy – if you love something, do it. She’s one of a kind. We get letters from people all the time telling us that Jazzercise class has helped them through the toughest of times.
After all this time that I’ve worked with Judi, I so enjoy hearing her speak. When she speaks, it’s inspiring and motivational. I always cry and she asks “What are you crying for?” But it’s the way she presents things – it’s always from the heart.
I’ve also learned to be a good listener. Sometimes people don’t want the perfect answer: they just want to be heard.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Judi is really a gem and I think most of our franchisees would agree. As Judi says, “If it wasn’t for you (franchisees), there wouldn’t be a Jazzercise.” She’s quite a woman.