When Marketing alumna Susan Sherwood ’01, who has worked at Asbury Springhill in Erie since 2010, told us that she absolutely loves her job as marketing coordinator and hopes to spend her entire career working at the senior living community, we had to know more.
Why do you love your job? There’s a family atmosphere here. Residents and staff members genuinely like and care about one another. I have the opportunity every day to make someone happy just by stopping to chat with them or helping them in some other small way. It is gratifying. I also am part of a great team in the marketing department. We are very close and it makes coming to work enjoyable.
What do you enjoy about working with older adults? They are so kind and wise. I love listening to their stories, and I am amazed every day at the things residents have accomplished in their lives and the ways they are continuing to make a difference.
What are your duties at Asbury Springhill? I wear many hats. I plan two or three events every month for people interested in learning more about living at Springhill. I also handle advertising, coordinate photo shoots, lead tours, help with promotional videos, update our website content, and maintain our social media accounts. There is no typical day, which is what makes my job fun and exciting.
What are the misperceptions people have about senior living facilities? That older adult communities are nursing homes and that people have “given up” when they move into a facility. It’s actually the complete opposite of that. Often, they really start to live again when they come here. Many of them had been lonely and bored at home, and once they’ve moved here, they make friends and go places and participate in activities and events.
Word has it that there are some rockin’ Penn State football game parties there. Oh, yes, many residents are big Penn State fans. They have flags, cowbells, pom-poms, and all the trappings of a tailgate party—chicken wings, beer, pizza, chips and dip. The room is packed every time.
How did Behrend prepare you? Aside from the marketing skills and techniques I acquired there, Behrend really helped me to grow up and break out of my small-town shell. College gave me the confidence I needed to be successful in my career.
You minored in Psychology. Does that come into play in your current role? Yes, especially in understanding and connecting with our residents. Also, in one of my psychology classes, I learned that no amount of money will make you happy if you don’t like what you are doing to earn it. Enjoying your coworkers, feeling like you are making a difference, and finding personal satisfaction in what you do is what will ultimately make you happy at work.