Every night at around 7:00, Jamie Hendricks turns into a giant, spear-wielding Amazonian woman. She then joins forces with other characters of various shapes, sizes, colors, brandishing their own weaponry to complete virtual quests and challenges, unlock new levels in a fictional world, and—most importantly—have a whole lot of fun. It’s all part of the massively popular multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) known as Final Fantasy XIV. “It’s sort of like World of Warcraft, but it’s geared toward a different demographic of people,” Jamie said. “It’s more laid-back.”
Still, Jamie takes her role in the game pretty seriously. In fact, when Final Fantasy XIV released an expansion this past summer, Jamie woke up at 3:00 AM so she could be one of the first players to give it a go. “That was probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done,” she joked. “I’ve never gone skydiving or run a marathon or anything like that—but I’ve gotten up in the middle of the night to play games online.”
Jamie’s affinity for online gaming—especially the role-playing variety—should come as no surprise; after all, it merges two of her strongest interests: theatre and technology. In fact, the proud Phoenix native—who holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Arizona State University (ASU)—is bound and determined to follow her performing arts passion right here in the Valley of the Sun.
In March 2013, she teamed up with some friends and former classmates to start a theatre company called Howl Theatre Project. The group produces all-original plays that Jamie describes as “very poetry-heavy.” Howl already has four productions under its belt, with rehearsals for the fifth—a Shakespeare-inspired story titled “R U Mad, Ophelia?”—starting next month. “It’s taking the characters from Shakespeare and telling their stories in a different way,” she said. “This one is based on ‘Hamlet,’ but it’s more focused on war and art. It’s also a commentary on the Phoenix theatre scene.”
And while that scene definitely isn’t as well developed as the local art community at large, Jamie has high hopes for the future. In the meantime, though, she’s racking up a wealth of professional experience at WebPT, where she recently took on the role of the company’s culture captain.
“Culture is the heartbeat of a company,” she said. At WebPT, that heartbeat is strong—and the company’s leaders are dedicated to keeping it that way. That’s why, even in the face of massive growth, they’ve clung tight to the roots that have anchored the company since its coffee-shop startup days. (You can get the inside scoop on WebPT’s company culture here.) In her new role, Jamie will make sure those roots are well cared for—which means she’ll spend a lot of time engaging with fellow WebPTers to find out how the culture team can better meet the company’s culture needs and expectations. “My two cents about engaging people is that it’s all about letting them have input,” she said. “When we’re both contributing to something, in the end, we’ll have something we can both be proud of.”
Although she’s only been on the job in the culture department for the past few weeks, Jamie has nearly two years of experience as a WebPT team member. Her serendipitous path to WebPT started at a local Starbucks store, where she worked as a barista and manager. Tired of coming home with cracked and bleeding knuckles after long days making coffee, Jamie looked to her social media inner circle for leads on a less painful day job. “I put up a post on Facebook with something to the effect of, ‘I need a big-girl job. Is anyone hiring?’” She said. One of her friends recommended WebPT, so she applied for a position as a support representative—and thus began Act I of her WebPT career.
“Customer service naturally has its ups and downs,” she said. “But whenever I hung up the phone or hit send on an email, I got to come back to WebPT and the culture and heart of this place, and I loved that. I also gained a lot of experience and knowledge about the healthcare system in general, and I am really grateful for that.” But, when WebPT’s human resources director approached Jamie about taking on the culture captain gig, she jumped at the opportunity. “I’m happy everything worked out and [happy] with where I’m at,” she said. While she is still settling into Act II of her WebPT tenure, she has grand visions for ramping up the company’s culture-related programs. “I feel like the door is wide open, and I have some pretty wild pipe dreams,” she said. “But the culture here definitely has a bright, bright future.”
Between her job at WebPT, her role as a founding member of a budding theatre company, and her nightly journeys through the land of Eorzea, Jamie doesn’t have much time left for leisure. But, in the little free time she does have, she enjoys hanging out with her husband (and high school sweetheart), Brian, visiting her parents and other family members around the Phoenix valley, and contemplating her next adventure in hair color (though she is really feeling the green at the moment).
And while she hasn’t lost sight of her name-in-lights dream of stage stardom, Jamie is perfectly content starring as the leading lady of WebPT’s culture team—that is, of course, until the curtain opens for Act III.
Fave Five with Jamie
- Favorite food: French fries with ranch dressing or brown gravy
- Favorite movie: Blue Velvet
- Favorite sports team: New Orleans Saints
- Favorite musical artist: Sufjan Stevens
- Favorite place: Disneyland