Ginna | Manager
Years of Industry Service: 42
When she was 14-years-old, Ginna (pronounced Jenna) began her service industry career at H Salt Fish & Chips. Forty-two years later, she has worked in a variety of roles and positions and it has become a career she embraces. "I always say I wish I could get a job that gets me off my feet, especially at my age," Ginna said. "The restaurant business gets under your skin. I can't get away from it, but I do it for one reason. It's for the people."
For twelve of those years, Ginna has been at Pierpont's, where she was originally hired on as the day hostess, then hostess supervisor and now as a manager. When she first started, Ginna never thought she'd last this long. She says, "I didn't think this would be my last job, but I hope it is." Monday through Friday, every lunch shift, you could count on Ginna to answer the phone in the morning to find out if, after a heavy night of drinking, whether you could please, please, pretty please be cut from the floor. She has become friends with so many servers, bartenders, managers and kitchen staff alike, that there is not a person she doesn't know in the building.
Now that she's a manager, everyone still considers Ginna their friend and confidante. When she was promoted, Ginna was advised to distance herself from the staff, but she said, no way is that going to work. "If I can't be friends with them, I don't want the job."
A server ends her shift by giving an envelope of money and credit card slips to Ginna, who checks her out for the day. She leaves quickly, but not before saying, "Love you, Ginna." That is a small, telling moment of the special relationships she develops with people. The friendships sustain her love for the job.
But family comes first for Ginna. She is the second oldest of four girls. Her mom, 78-years-old and her father, 84, are originally from Sicily. She has a daughter, a son and four grandchildren. They all live in Kansas City. "I have an awesome family. I don't know what I'd do without them. I have wonderful kids who have never given me any problems. My parents are alive and kicking, and they're old. I'm damn lucky they're still in my life."
Ginna loves to travel. Like many people, she said if she she didn't work and had the money, she could live out of a suitcase. "But it has to be warm and be by the water," she says. "[The water] is serene and I love the sun. I love being tan." Her last vacation was a family cruise that included both her parents and all her sisters. "I had more fun with my mom and dad than I ever thought I could have."
Although she doesn't have much time for travel these days, especially around the holidays, she still dreams of her next vacation, a tour down the Amalfi Coast. She went to Italy for her 50th birthday, visiting Tuscany, Florence and Rome and it is a trip she will never forget. She would like to return to Italy with her boyfriend, who speaks the language fluently. Ginna and her sisters never learned to speak Italian. Although she didn't think anything of it when she was younger, she would give anything to know the language now. Her beau is encouraging her to learn, even if it's only a few phrases at a time.
When she's not working and dreaming of Roman holidays, Ginna's vice is gambling. She loves going to the casino and says she can spend more time there than at her job. Before she came to Pierpont's, Ginna worked at Station Casino. "I went to work there so I could quit gambling," she says. "But I just went to other casinos." She was hooked by blackjack, moved to craps and now loves the slot machines. You will most likely find her at Ameristar Casino because that's where she has built up most of her comps. "It's just fun." She also got hooked on Indy racing, embracing a sport that her boyfriend enjoys. In addition to the excitement of the vrooming-engines, Ginna says. "I think it was more the drinking that got me. It's a big party."
She smokes. She drinks. She gambles. And she tells you exactly how it is.