Jennifer is the Content & Communications Manager for MATRIX. Her mission is to understand what information our communities want and need from MATRIX, and to deliver it in ways that are enlightening, engaging and in sync with who we are as a company. She loves pop culture, Oklahoma football, and the great state of Texas.
MATRIX Consultant Spotlight: Gina Scott
After a 30-year career working every job imaginable for one of the largest airlines in the world, Gina Scott came out of retirement to return to that same airline as a MATRIX Consultant in a new gig as a QA Tester. Read Gina’s incredible story and why she enjoys contracting today.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a fraternal twin, born five minutes apart from my sister. I was premature and had to stay in the hospital for a month. My mom, being in total shock from going from two children to four, did not pick me up when I was released to come home. My aunt came, so I tease my mom by saying that’s why I feel so neglected, and it has become a running joke around our family. Our nicknames are Big Bit and Little Bit (guess who’s Little Bit). My mom also made history in McKeesport, PA as the first African American Female hired as an Executive by Holiday Inn.
What has your career path looked like?
I always knew I wanted to work for an airline. I moved to Los Angeles when I was 19 and met a woman at a bus stop who worked for one of the world’s biggest airlines and told me they were hiring. I submitted my application and was hired in 1981 as a reservations agent. From there, I worked in multiple departments – international, domestic sales, tours. I was also a flight attendant for a brief time but I knew that wasn’t for me. Then, I was asked to go to Raleigh, NC, to help open that hub. I became a Quality Assurance Instructor, monitoring agents on the phone. I helped create the Dual Agent Program, which utilized agents for four hours in reservations and four hours as an airport agent. From Raleigh, my husband and I decided to move to Dallas to raise our kids and be closer to home. I worked as a reservations agent and was part of the inception of several large programs before working as an International Reservations Supervisor. From there, I went to DFW as a ticket and gate agent, where once again, I performed many job functions…the opportunities were never-ending! Not to say I got every job I applied for, but I became known and that’s what gave me the opportunities to advance. My final journey at DFW was as an Operational Supervisor, which I loved, but the roadblocks of bankruptcy and pay cuts and the uncertainty for advancement made me decide it was time for a new chapter. A longtime friend from the airline’s Learning Center called me out of the blue to ask if I had retired yet, and that was my confirmation to take the early package that was offered to me. And so, I took that leap of faith to go and teach all that I had learned to the new faces of the company. When that contract ended, I retired. But soon enough, I got a call from MATRIX.
What made you consider getting into contracting after retirement?
Jessi, the recruiter from MATRIX who first contacted me, was very warm and inviting. I’m the type of person who likes a lot of projects - I don’t like a lot of downtime. So it was perfect timing when I got her call; I was very open to trying something new. We developed a relationship from there. She made me feel like I was valued, like my time at the airline was still worthy.
As someone who worked full-time at the same airline for over 30 years, what is it like to be back as a consultant?
My transition into contracting has been smooth, which I needed since the airline is so regimented. Working as a contractor gives me freedom – a freedom I didn’t have as an employee. There’s good and bad. My loyalty will always be to the airline. They gave me a knowledge, an ability to see the world – they gave me something and I gave them something; it was an even exchange. The thing about being a consultant is MATRIX allows me to be in the room, but I don’t always have to be a part of the room – and I like that. MATRIX has given me another purpose in life. I was retired, living in an empty nest. I stepped out in faith and took a chance that there was more to me than my former career. My heart is with the airline but my freedom is with MATRIX.
What have been the most challenging and most rewarding parts of your career?
The most challenging part of my career was making the decision not to move further up the ladder like some of my peers. I was qualified to move into an Executive or VP role, however, my children meant more to me than climbing that ladder. The proof is seeing them today as adults who are professionals with dignity and self-respect, and true assets to society.
The absolutely rewarding parts, because there’s not one but many, are the friendships all around the world. It’s nice to travel somewhere and know that I can call folks from way back to meet for lunch or even to have a place to stay. I believe in nurturing friendships; I will call you and stay in touch. The travel allows an unimaginable freedom - just go the airport, point and go. It’s all about the journey. Being here when we were small, being part of a merger, being part of the creation of new departments and programs, it’s so much. It’s like seeing your newborn for the first time and now they’re grown up, and to think I was a part of it…it’s the growing pains that I went through and now we’re on the other side – we made it. That truly is the most rewarding part…it really is too much to put into words.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
I love life and living it to the fullest. I absolutely enjoy spending time with my husband, our three children and grandson. And of course, my 83-year-young mother and my twin and big sister who I talk to 3-4 times a day. I eat healthy and organic foods, and I work out 4-5 days a week. Let’s see, other things I love…traveling, volunteering, being active at my church, motivational speaking, talking to young folks, inspiring others, taking computer classes so that I don’t get left behind, paying for other people’s groceries, and just saying hello to people. I’m always listening and learning, because there’s too much you can miss out on when you’re not really living.