First Ascent Design intern and University of Delaware student Matt Lupoli sits down with Jess Ruggieri to talk about the importance of play at work, fitness and health, and what they like best about Wilmington, Delaware. 

Learn more about The Fun Department

Connect with Jess on the following platforms:

 Linkedin , Instagram and Twitter: @jdruggieri 

Podcast Transcript:

Matt:  Welcome to “Cooler Than Me”. A First Ascent Design series showcasing the people that are without a doubt cooler than we are. We’re so lucky to work with and surround ourselves with amazing members of the local community that are trying to make the world better in their own way. We’re hoping to bring their stories to you. So let’s jump in. [Music] How’s it going, everybody? My name is Matt and I’m an intern here at  First Ascent. And I’m really excited to bring you guys our next guest, and that’s Jess Ruggieri from the Fun Department. Now the Fun Department is a consulting firm that’s dedicated to teaching companies how to use the right kind of fun and constructive activities to better the business overall. I’m really excited to share some of Jess’ story and advice and be sure to check out the Instagram hashtag Cooler Than Me to see more content from this series as they come. [Music] Hi everyone, my name is Matt with First Ascent Design and today, we’re interviewing some of this definitely Cooler Than Me, its Jess Ruggieri from the Fun Department. Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Jess.

Jess: Yeah, absolutely, Matt. 

Matt: Awesome, awesome.

Jess: Matt Nupoli, right?

Matt: Lupoli, Lupoli. 

Jess: Lupoli, alright.

Matt: It means little wolf in Italian.

Jess: Excellent. I don’t know what mine is.

Matt: Yes, we’ll have to find out. But Jess is a Client Relations and Operations Manager at the Fun Department and among many other things she tries to manage new clients and match ah, interesting companies with the right type of service within the Fun Department. She’s also a certified health coach and fitness instructor and she loves to enjoy people in and around the Wilmington community. So, we’ll start off with an ice breaker here, Jess, an easy one for you. If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? 

Jess: Well, I have to say that I’m not a big fan of famous people. I just don’t remember their names and there’s nothing exciting that meeting somebody famous, for me. I’m actually and I know this is really, really silly, but um, and this is part of the reason we’re having this conversation cause I adore Wilmington. I just love going out. So you’ll, you’ll catch me having dinner, sitting by myself at any bar and having dinner with a stranger. So dead or alive, I’d have to say I’m having dinner with some random stranger that turns into a friend. Yeah.

Matt: That’s awesome. I would not have expected that answer. Yeah.

Jess: Yup. That’s, I’m, I’m, I’m not the norm. 

Matt: Okay. Awesome. So let’s see. What’s one interesting thing that people might not know about you? I’m just, you on the street, what would they not know?

Jess: Yeah. Um, I, and sometimes I forget this, this is a big part of my life and my story. Um, most people see me as a fitness guru. I guess. I pretty much live at the gym and I try to take care of myself. Um, I am a fitness and health coach. I am a personal trainer. And I think one thing that people don’t know is that I, I hate to even say it this way, but I was a fat kid. You know, when I was 12 years old, I was, um, gosh, like 210 pounds. I couldn’t even run the length of a soccer field. And so, um, that’s a big part of my story cause I think I can really relate to people who are struggling with setting goals and reaching them. So, you know, we, we all have a story that was mine and, um, it’s, it’s enjoyable for me to be healthy.

Matt: Awesome. So how do you, um, become certified in what you do? 

Jess: So, uh, let me say the first thing I did was become a Zumba instructor. Heard of Zumba?

Matt: Yeah, yeah. 

Jess: Yeah. So I was, I was a licensed Zumba instructor. Um, I got a job at the Y. Right, right. As soon as I moved to Delaware, that was my, my first license and I, and I really enjoyed it. And then Les Mills is another international fitness company. 

Matt: Yeah. They have classes at Delaware. 

Jess: They, yeah. Yeah. So I’d be, I became a body pump instructor and I’m now actually certified in a couple of their formats. And in the process of that, I thought, gosh, I might as well be a personal trainer too. So I, you know, took the ACE personal trainer exam and I passed that and I started training people with at a gym locally. And then one thing led to another. I ended up at the University of Delaware in the, uh, health promotion masters. Um, I had no idea that there’s actually masters in helping people live better.

Matt:  All right. So, um, so what’s a hobby outside of that, um, that, that you have?

Jess: Oh my gosh. Well, paddleboarding, I mean, that’s the first thing that comes to mind. I remember two winters ago, my brother asked me what I wanted for my birthday or Christmas and I said a paddleboard. I mean, who, who asks your brother for a paddleboard? Next thing I know there’s a paddleboard being delivered to my home. So I, um, recently like. 

Matt: Like a stand up paddle?

Jess: Yeah. Stand up paddleboard. I recently got, um, a beach home, like a camp- campground. So my paddleboard lives down there and when we opened it up in April, yeah. That’s where I am. Out on the bay. 

Matt: Jersey or Delaware Beach?

Jess: Delaware beach. Yeah, I know Jersey shore difference. There’s the difference. I grew up on the Jersey shore, but I’m, I just, I’ve now converted.

Matt: Yeah. I mean I love them both, but I also grew up going Ocean City, New Jersey. 

Jess: Whereabouts? 

Matt: Um, my, I guess it’s my great uncle, um, had a house on 23rd and Wesley so it was really good, really good real estate.

Jess: We used to go to 12th and Central.

Matt: Okay. 

Jess: So not too far away. Yeah, you’re right in the middle of  the boardwalk. 

Matt: Awesome. Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about the Fun Department and your, your real job, I should say. Um, so what is currently the Fun Department’s biggest um, initiative? Like any goals they have right now in 2019.

Jess : Well, it’s, it’s the best place to start is our mission statement. So recently we used to have the word “fun” in our mission statement, but as you start to work with corporations and organizations, you know, sometimes the word “fun” is an f word because literally, yeah, there’s a lot, there’s a lot of other things that demand money. And so it’s hard to get a leadership to understand the value of bringing fun and play and joy and happiness into the work environment. So our new, our new mission statement that we rolled out about two years ago is, um, innovative solutions for a happier, healthier, more connected workplace. So, and the way that we do that is by bringing in these, um, organic, sustainable, consistent little, um, opportunities for teams to get together, um, and socially interact. So, so small breaks throughout the day as opposed to two large parties where you spend a ton of money and people don’t want to go. It’s at night or on the weekends. So we’re trying to re establish how people utilize events in a more, um, consistent way across the year. So it’s more of a sustainable culture shift.

Matt: Okay so would you, would you say that you aren’t a fan of like the traditional, you know, holiday party that a company has? Is that what you guys don’t like or was that something a company could keep and still have other ways to let out stress?

Jess: Yeah, I mean I think, you know, you ask, you asked the leadership when we sit down and we talk to somebody who is wanting to engage with us, we ask them a ton of questions. You know, and that’s why we really do find ourselves being more of a consultant and coach role as opposed to just team building events. Because the whole goal of what we’re going to do is create a plan that works within your budget, works for your people, works for your situation. If you ever moat workers, lots of locations. So that’s why we have to create this innovative solution because it’s not a one size fits all thing. So I’ll sit down, I’ll be like, “how’s that holiday party?” And if people love it and the attendance is high and you know, if you got rid of it, people would boycott, keep it, keep it, you know? But then there’s ways, there’s other ways to lead up and, and, and again, too, if people can’t go for whatever reason and they missed the one thing, you know, what are you doing for those folks? So we just try to teach people how to spend their money differently potentially. Yeah. 

Matt: How’d you end up with the Fun department? 

Jess: So when I moved here, my first job I got with that managing a Brew-Haha, which everybody knows Brew-Haha, props to them. Uh, the founder of the company used to come into my coffee shop and we got to talking and that was probably 2008, and the company had been around for about three years and he sat down and told me all about what they were doing. I go, that sounds great, but I need a paycheck. So I did a whole lot. I’ll have a whole bunch of other things. And sure enough, they’ve grown. And right as I was getting out of my, um, master’s program, I ran into one of the other partner on the streets of Wilmington at the Grand Prix race. And I jokingly said, Oh, you guys are big hotshots now that you wrote a book, maybe, maybe you need some sales help. And I like nudge nudge and yeah. The next thing I know I had a couple of conversations and I was on board. So, yeah.

Matt: Awesome. That’s, that’s great. Uh, so then that was, you know, a few years ago, if you could have a one piece of knowledge that you have now, um, back then. 

Jess: In regards to the company?

Matt: I guess just career and your profession. What’s one thing that you wish you knew, like when you were starting out? 

Jess: Ooh, Gosh, not to take myself so seriously. Okay. Which oddly enough, I worked for a company called the fun department, right? Yeah. But I am a perfectionist and I will go above and beyond all the time for everything that comes in front of me. And at some point that will burn me out. We’ll burn anybody out. And that’s kind of the whole point of the fun, you know, is that people are really struggling with this um, workplace stress. You go, you go to work feeling stressed. You show up stressed, you know, you don’t like what you do, you don’t like your people. And so.

Matt: The work makes you stressed, right?

Jess: Yeah. And so the goal of, of teaching people how to play is A: not to take yourself so seriously, create social engagements with coworkers where you could actually get to know each other and you’re not just coworkers but you become friends. So I guess that would be my piece of advice. And my, my latest mantra, which nobody quite understands is “I can only do so much.” Cause sometimes I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders, you know, if this company doesn’t accept this proposal or oh, if this doesn’t go through or oh my gosh, if I don’t get this done in time and I have. I have to remind myself that there’s only certain hours of the day and so there’s only so much I can do. And so it was a really great lesson in prioritizing and time management as well.

Matt: Yes. There, there was an old mantra that like my high school sports teams used to say, it’s like, just control what you can control. And there’s like nothing you can, there’s some things are just out of your, out of your power and like if you focus on what you can control, like that’s all you can really do in a day’s work. I really liked that… Are you at one specific gym or a training facility

Jess: Currently? 

Matt: Yeah. 

Jess: Yeah. Yeah. I, um, started at the Y actually in 2008 at Western, which is on Kirkwood highway. And I bought my house over here on 18th Street, about seven years ago. And so I’ve, I’ve been a city dweller for about seven years and I took the, I took a fitness job at the Central Y, so downtown, um, so everything that I, and yeah, it’s about a half a mile radius from my home. Just walk the streets of Wilmington, yeah.

Matt: Yeah. Um, I’m at the, uh, I’m at the Brandywine Y. Yeah. They just redid it.

Jess: I sneak up there on Thursday mornings to work out with one of the, the co, um, on my, my colleagues. So I do get up there. It is pretty, um, and again, not too far away. That’s why I love the Y of Delaware because my boyfriend lives in Bear, so when I’m down with him, I just shoot down the street. Yeah.

Matt: So what do you love the most, either about the Fun Department or outside of that, like in your fitness, um, profession?

Jess: Um, meeting people. I mean, and I won’t cry, but I’m, I’m serious. It’s so funny how passionate I am about people in general. Like if you put me in, I’m an extreme extrovert, first of all. I don’t know if you could tell that. But if you put me in a room with a bunch of people, I get overwhelmed because I just want to know their stories. I want to, I want to sit there and ask them questions. I want to get to know them. I want to care for them. I just feel like there’s this lack of, you know, human connection. There’s a lack of empathy. And I think it’s all, it’s all inside of me. And like one of them, I feel like one of my spiritual gifts is like literally to pour out, you know, a certain amount of love to the people around me. So, you know, I think that’s why I, I love the Y, because of the diversity of people that attend the Y, um, and the community that they have there and what I get to do as an inspiring fitness instructor. It’s not just teaching the class, but it’s the ability to, you know, welcome somebody into the environment and make them feel comfortable. Hence the ambassador of inclusion, which was, which is my other Fun Department title, job title. So, and that’s what I do with the Fun Department. You know, the things, the things that we structure within an organization are meant to be all inclusive. Cause I’ve seen so many times that people don’t have mental abilities. People that don’t physical abilities, people that might be more shy, they feel left out or they feel left. They’re like on the outskirts. And so the goal of what we do as a company and my own personal passion, which is why it’s such a great fit, is that, um, you know, I get to see those people in the outskirts and just bring them in. 

Matt: Right. So does, um, do you think that working, uh, at the Fun Department, like gave you that type of feeling or was that already in you? It brought it out more?

Jess: Yeah. No, I mean, this is, this is me through and through ever since I was a little kid. Yeah. I felt, I felt like I was always, um, like gravitating to leading groups, bringing people together. I’d be on my mom’s line, I’d be on my line and you know, okay everybody, we’re going to go down to the beach, you know, this is, you know, you pick up so-and-so, you pick up so-and-so. And um, I, I don’t think people would even be able to work for the Fun Department if they didn’t have that, you know, deep, deep desires to, yeah. And not that you have to be as extroverted, but you just have to have a passion for bringing people together. Yeah.

Matt: So that’s interesting because it seems like you found like the perfect thing to fit your, your personality as a profession and like, um, there’s people like me and all the students across the nation who are like, what do I do when I leave this place?

Jess: So many options. So many places to go.

Matt: And like I fit, I fit that mold perfectly. They’re like, luckily I’m doing something like this. Like, cause this is really cool. And it’s part of, you know, my like. 

Jess: Yeah, you’re good. It’s awesome.

Matt: I’m just wondering like, is there any advice you could give to, to students then who, or anyone really that’s like in the profession that feels like they’re not, you know, going down the right path. Like how do you figure out what makes you, what gets you going and turn that into a profession?

Jess: So I had the opportunity recently to speak to a group of young professionals. Um, it was the Princeton Chamber, so up in Jersey, you know, um, and I did their closing keynote and it was about aligning your personal passion with your profession. Um, and it sounds easier than it is.

Matt: Everyone says they want to do that.

Jess: Because the reality is, and so my advice to people that are in college or coming out is who are you, you know. Identify, um, who you want to be, who you are. And not that that’s easy, but, and not, not in the context of relationships, but you have to like look within and really try to figure out like, it’s not about what you’re going to get, but ultimately like you’re a part of this bigger universe. And it’s what you’re to give out. So I feel like everybody is given a gift to give. And so you kinda have, it’s almost like you have to find that right. And then once you do, you have to do it and it doesn’t have to be a career. Like that’s the other thing. It, it just has to be something that you do. So if it’s a side passion, if it’s a, you know, a, a hobby or whatever, you, you do have to find that passion. So, and I would say, and this is the other thing is that like now ask, ask questions, meet people that you’re not potentially comfortable meeting and, and do that phase. I used, I used to joke about teaching people how to like bar network. I mean I just, and it’s sad, but I mean I, I do see college students now, like they just don’t get their face out of the cellphone and, and don’t get me wrong technology, there’s a lot of great things. But if you can just go and sit and be by yourself or even have a wing man and just start talking to people next to you, whether it’s at a bar, coffee shop, you know, and ask questions and you know, what makes you work here and just start asking those questions. Right? Yeah. And, and start making connections when you, when you’re young and taking opportunities like you’re doing, you know, interning and poking around earlier than later, you know, so, and don’t get so caught up in, you got to find it right away because it could be phases of life.

Matt: So what’d you say that it’s not the worst thing if someone ends up, you know, doing something that they don’t think is their life’s passion, but like they have like a side thing they’re really passionate about. Like, cause I, I feel like that’s the thing that people are afraid of is like, I’m going to hate my job. I’m going to be sitting at a desk and I’m not. I’ve had those thoughts, you know, I’m sure like all of my, my friends as well, roommates, we all say like, like, you know, we’re, we’re going to be gone. Its kinda soon like, what happenes? 

Jess: I know. The freedom of college. 

Matt: So, so you’re saying it’s not the worst thing in the world to them to, to, to just have something on the side that you really love?

Jess: Yeah, I, I think, I think, and this is why the Fun Department is a great organization because companies have to be competitive. Cause if you’re gonna go work for a company, you’re going to ask those tough questions. Do I have flexibility? Do I have to sit at my job, my desk for eight hours. Do I have to actually work at, you know, at my desk. So if companies can give you the flexibility, the what people call the work- life balance, I call it, I call it the rhythm of life. You know, you have to work, you have to rest and you have to play. And so if you can find that rhythm. And so if you’re at a job that like maybe for instance, inside sales, cause I’ve been talking about that, you know, where you’re at the desk and you’re calling, you’re calling, you’re calling and that’s like as, a portion of your day. Make sure and make sure that the company you’re potentially working for gives you more opportunities to do what you’re passionate about. Right? Like, oh, I would love to be a part of your culture team. So if I was to do my job for you guys and hit my sales goals, but also have the opportunity to be part of your culture team, then that would really drive me up, you know? But if I’m just stuck in this little, so like if you know what you want to do and how you wanna do it, those are the questions you ask in an interview when you’re going to try to find a job. Yeah.

Matt: Um, so you said there’s work, uh, rest and play, right? 

Jess: Yeah. The rhythm of life. 

Matt: So what would you consider your fitness life? Would that be work or is that play for you? 

Jess: Oh my goodness. Stress Relief. Is it rest? 

Matt: Cause I know sometimes I played sports all my life, so like there’s always that, there’s that always that voice in your head that like you got to put the work in you gotta like you gotta be doing more than the next person. But I feel like that also, I guess it’s like a half Fun Department, haLfFitness podcasts.

Jess: It’s fine. I know. It’s fine. It’s a Jess Ruggieri Podcast.

Matt: Um, I guess half, half of it is like people don’t realize that it’s not always work, you know, like working out, even though it’s in the title, you know, it doesn’t have to be considered work. So what do you consider, how do you do it every day? You know. 

Jess: So, I have learned a lot from Les Mills, their trainings and certifications. When I am in front of a class teaching, I’m not there for me, it’s, it’s work. And when I walk into the room, if I’m not in a good place or if I’m rushing from a meeting, I literally have to sit and center myself and kind of get into what they call ultimate self before I walk into the classroom. Because as soon as I start making eye contact outside of the locker room, I’m working. Cause now I’m heading, you know, so when I’m teaching classes, that is work. It’s about them. It has nothing to do with me. Now granted I’m pushing myself as well because it’s role model. You’re role modeling what it should be for them. So, but I, but with that said, it’s very important for me to find chunks of time that I’m working out and pushing myself and doing things. So for instance, uh, one of my colleagues that I work out with on Thursday morning, she teaches a combat class. And I go, we should go, we should go find a kickboxing gym. And so I know, cause Wilmington, this is all about the community. Kenny owns a gym down on the riverfront, on Justison. I got ’em on Facebook. I’m like, Kenny, like what’s your class costs? When’s your schedule? So I got this group of girls, there’s about three of us that go down and take a kickboxing classes. So we put the gloves on and it’s so fun because it’s like a different environment. It’s, I’m not teaching, you know, in someone’s.

Matt: And it’s a different way to, uh, to be active as well too. It’s not, it’s not traditional.

Jess: And if you, and if you can, this is the thing. If you get bored, you, you’re never going to see this is the health coach in me. You’ll never sustain habits that you want to sustain if it’s not fun and enjoyable, you know, if there’s, if there’s barriers, you know. So if you, if this is the person you want to be and the habits that are going to get you to be that person, you know, if you stopped doing them, there’s gotta be a reason. And so, um, you know, at some point if you hit a plateau, you know, it’s like, oh, I don’t want to go to the gym, or I don’t want to lift, find something else. Like try, try something else. And maybe you’ll find this new love of, you know, kickboxing.

Matt: Yeah. And that type of mindset, at least for me, has extended way past just the, like the personal fitness stuff. Like that mindset of needing to like the process more than the end result, like really applies to to everything in life. I think like if you are able to, to really enjoy that, then the work doesn’t become work anymore. So I really, I really liked that, that mindset and I feel like that that started for me from sports at least. Um, how do you find that, you know, how did you find a way to make it enjoyable for you?

Jess: Um, well, um, not taking myself so seriously, you know, I, there’s Dr. Stuart Brown is the guru when it comes to, to play in what play does for um, empathy, building empathy, building trust. Like go read his books. Um, but anyway, but he, he says that there’s like these eight different play personalities and we also use that and designing fun and assessing companies to try to figure out what’s gonna really work for people. And it was this eye opening experience. I’m like, I’m a, I’m a, I’m not a competitor. I’m not a team sport player. I will trash talk all day long, but I don’t really care about winning. And people think that’s crazy. But for me, um, I’m a joker. Like if I can just joke and bring joy to other people that’s fun for me. So you know when, when things are hard or if there’s like a stressful situation or if you’re at a meeting and it’s just so stuffy, like I’m the one that’s gonna just lighten the mood. Cause I’m right, this is this, I can’t, I can’t do this. I can’t get through this. I’ll do it. I’ll do it in the fitness room. Like if I’m taking a class and I’m dying, I, you know, I’ll joke or make, make a show. I’m like, I’m going to curse in your face if you don’t get out. Right. Like I just, so yeah. 

Matt: Yeah, I like that. Um, so I guess, so you’ve always known this about yourself, like you are, you’re an extrovert, like, and you love being social and to people. So is this always what you imagined yourself doing something in this area or what’d you think you’re going to do? 

Jess: Like at what age? 

Matt: I guess college cause that’s when people start to figure out like, you know. 

Jess: So, um, doors have always opened for me and I can’t say that it’s not because of things that I do like right. You go out and you start making connections. But I remember it was, there was one morning, my sophomore year in college where I popped out of bed and I went, I’m going to be a guidance counselor. So I, so I went to my advisor and I said, what do I do to be a guidance counselor? And he’s like, well, uh, Psychology, you know, it’s like, okay great. Now that was in Virginia cause I went to James Madison. I knew I wanted to come back to this Jersey area. So I called a guidance counselor in Jersey. My, my old guidance counselor was like, hey, what do you have to do to be a guidance counselor in Jersey? And I don’t know what inspired me to do that. But in Jersey you had to be a teacher first and then be a guidance counselor. I didn’t want to be a teacher. I didn’t want to get on that path. So I was like, you know what, I’m just going to do Psychology and, and, and whatever ends up happening ends up happening. So after school I was, somebody said I worked, I volunteered for a Christian organization called Young Life.

Matt: Yeah, I’ve had Young Life in my high school. Yeah, I’m from the area as well. 

Jess: Awesome. Okay, cool. Yeah. So, um, they said, have you thought about going into an area, you know, as an area director. So I did that and then somebody else offered me a job. So right out of college, like I thought I was going to be a guidance counselor, but at the end of my schooling, a ministry that I really, really was passionate about kind of recruited me. So I did that for, for many, many years. So, um, you know, I mean, I, I ended up working, running a kitchen for five years. I was managing a kitchen at a resort, a Young Life resort, maybe you’ve been, it’s called Lake Champion. 

Matt: I’ve seen like t-shirts, I’ve seen it. 

Jess: I’ve seen the shirt. Yeah. I ran the kitchen for five years and I literally, when the head chef was hiring me, I go, you know that I don’t know how to cook. I’m like, I, and I ask, this is, this is a great question too and this is a great interview question. And I didn’t even know I was being interviewed. I go, why are you hiring me? Because I, cause if you tell me why you’re hiring me, I can say, okay, I know that’s who I am. I can bring that to the table. Right. But if he says, I want to hire you because of your culinary skillset, I’d be like “peace.” You know, so yeah. Or lab right out of the gate. I was like, why? Why do you want to hire me? And he said, he’s like, he, cause he said he was a great leader. He goes, because he knew what he lacked and he knew how to um, bring a team, like, you know, orchestrate and, and surround himself with the people that had those opposing skill sets. So I’m very, very organized. He is very, very, very, very, very disorganized. And so, yeah, so I, um, that’s what I brought to the table. Just a great way to be organized like in the refrigerators in the, you know, the ordering, you know, you’ve got to save money and stuff like that. So. 

Matt: Alright. So then I guess winding down now, um, so you, you’re living in Wilmington and you’ve been here for a couple of years, right? Um, what would be your favorite part of Wilmington and then do you think that there’s anything the city could use? Like the number one thing that’s like your pet peeve or like your number one thing that you see everyday that you’re like, I wish this was different.

Jess : Um, it’s so funny. I, I’ve had, since I’ve lived in my home too, I’ve, I’ve had, uh, roommates, like my house has been just kind of this rotation of people staying with me. But, um, the, my favorite part about Wilmington that I tell people about is that it’s a city. It is legitimately a city. It is not a big city, but it has a city feel. However, you can be somebody in Wilmington. And I know that’s the catch phrase, but I’m like, but it’s the truth. Like you really can be someone in Wilmington. So if that is the environment that you want to be in, then this is a great place to be. Um, like, cause if you go up to Philly, New York City, Baltimore, you know, they’re big cities. Yeah. You know, you’re just, uh, uh, just to, so here you can establish that and you can go places by yourself and there is a 95% chance you’re gonna run into somebody, you know, you know, if so that, that I really do love when people say, oh, it’s Delaware. I don’t even know if you’ve had that experience yet, but.

Matt: I don’t know. See, I see. I grew up just, just over the border in Pennsylvania, so I didn’t get that. Yeah. I guess discrimination of being from Delaware.

Jess: Cause I’m from Jersey, so I always joke about being an import, right? Yeah. Well, and it’s all the imports that like love Delaware, right? Yeah. 

Matt: So I guess that you could call me like a…

Jess: You’re an import

Matt: A native? I don’t know. 

Jess: if you’re not from Delaware…Where in Pennsylvania?

Matt: Glen Mills.  Literally like, closest town. 

Jess: But it’s still, it’s still not, it’s still not Delaware. There’s something about, you know, so I love that component. And um, how in proximity it is to other places. And even this, I mean, I grew up in Jersey, so the mountains, the beaches, I mean there’s so much like tax free shopping, I can go on forever. Um, and honestly I would add, the thing that I would would have said was the, um, parking, but then they finally got parkmobile recently. 

Matt: I used that today. No negatives, actually.

Jess: Yes. Yeah. It was an issue, but you know, the river front, like it’s, it’s growing. And then the BPG sports and you know… So, yeah, so you can see that different pockets of the city. I mean, you know, are there pockets that is kind of like, oh, I don’t want to walk down that street, you know, certain times, but there’s just so much going on. I don’t even know anymore how much stuff is going on in Wilmington, so I’m not, I’m going to give it a zero for negative. 

Matt: There we go. Perfect. 

Jess: I’m going to, I’m going to do the political route. Plead the fifth. 

Matt: That’s fine. I mean, I mean, I’ve, I’ve only had really positive experiences here, like working in The Mill and I’m coming and doing bids, like meetings and stuff like that. So, yeah, I mean, I really, I’m a fan. I’m a big fan as well. 

Jess: Yep.

Matt: Alright, guys. I said that was Jess Ruggeri from the Fun Department and a fitness coach as well. Hope you guys enjoyed this episode of Cooler Than Me and I hope you can understand why she definitely is cooler than we are here at First Ascent. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you guys next time. [Music playing]