Jen Ritsema has spent her career helping people, initially in education and then in the field of health and wellness. First as a school psychologist for seven years, followed by 10 years in university recreation and now as HAC’s recreation and community wellness manager, Jen gets jazzed by inspiring healthy habits in others.
“Supporting people in creating positive, sustainable changes in their lives and then watching them put in the hard work to reach their goals and even surpass them brings me so much joy,” she says.
A native of Saginaw, Michigan, Jen earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and human development and a master’s degree in school psychology from Central Michigan University. While working as a school psychologist, she turned to exercise for stress release.
“I became friends with some of my instructors and they encouraged me to teach fitness classes,” she remembers. Through goal setting with a mentor, she quickly became a certified spin and Barre instructor. She taught her first fitness class in 2008 and has been earning more certifications ever since making her career change from schools to the fitness industry.
Jen worked for HAC for nine months in 2022 but temporarily left to work again in an area public school district. She returned to HAC in August 2023 in her current role because “I missed the HAC community,” she says. “I missed being part of a team whose goal is to provide these amazing services for any age and ability. The community of our members and of our staff – they are such great humans, and I really enjoy being back with them again.”
HAC is glad Jen Ritsema is back with us, too.
LEARN MORE ABOUT JEN
Favorite food: Avocados /Any breakfast my husband makes and any Italian meal my mother cooks.
Favorite place in the world: Anywhere I can hear the ocean (or lake waves) with loved ones
Best vacation: Spain 2013. It was my first time in Europe, and I received my yoga teacher certification while there.
Favorite sport: Baseball
Bucket list item: Write a book
Best advice I ever received: Be where your feet are. / Do one thing a day that scares you.
You would be surprised to know… My swimming skills are lacking but I’m working on it!
Biggest fear: Heights
What attracted me to work at HAC: “The opportunity to share health and wellness where I live.”