LeadingAge Blog Project

Being a Marketing and Communications Intern for McGregor, a non-profit organization in Cleveland, Ohio, has given me extremely valuable experience that has already helped me to grow tremendously as a professional.

I am currently a rising senior at Bowling Green State University where I am studying Marketing. I will be graduating early in December and will be returning to the Greater Cleveland area to hopefully land a position on the marketing team of an organization.

Aging services is an increasingly growing field that is becoming more and more essential as our society ages, and I am grateful that I was exposed to various diverse opportunities and educated on all aspects of a care community.

I have had the honor of meeting several residents who have made a great impact on me with the stories they’ve shared about the lives they have led. There is an event at McGregor- called Planting Partners, where residents are welcome to venture into the outdoor courtyard to plant pots of flowers. During this event, I was able to assist a resident in planting her pot. While we were digging up the soil, she expressed “I love gardening and flowers. Every day after work I would come home and spend hours in my garden until it was dark outside.” Meeting residents and hearing about their hobbies and accomplishments is an experience that I will cherish forever.

Planting Partners event at McGregor.

Wilhelmina and Gabrielle

As an intern, I have worked on many projects over the course of my internship. One task that I find rewarding is interviewing staff members in varying roles. I ask them about their time spent working at McGregor, along with how they entered the field. Dana Wiggins, the Assisted Living Director, explained, “My focus is the residents and doing whatever I can do to enrich each of their lives.” It is truly amazing seeing the passion that each employee has for aging services. Each of them has a different story to tell and I love being able to highlight the work that they do.

A large project I have worked on has been with the grant recipients of The McGregor Foundation. They give grants to various organizations that support older adults or the community. I selected 5 organizations who received grants that interested me, and I was able to interview them 1:1. I got to learn about the mission of their organization, what they do to serve older adults, and how our grant has benefited them. I learned so much about the immense field of aging services and saw how many local and national organizations are involved with providing support to older adults. After our interviews, I wrote grant profiles to be posted on to our website along with pictures that highlight their organization.

Another aspect of my internship is content development. Each week I brainstorm and write articles relating to health, aging services, older adults, holiday celebrations, and other relevant topics, to be posted to our website or sent to local publications. These articles provide an engaging way to educate our audience on important subject matters.

Throughout my internship, I have learned a lot from my mentors. Each week I meet with Lee Ann O’Brien, the Chief Marketing Officer, to discuss accomplishments from the previous week and goals for the upcoming week.  Ryan has his goals, too. This enables us to check in with one another, as well as discuss any opportunities that have arisen throughout the past week. I also attend the monthly Marketing and Sales meetings with the entire team. With this, I am educated on each team member’s goals and successes and can hear about what each person is working on. During these meetings I am able to contribute by discussing my current projects and my goals. These meetings have opened my eyes and helped me to see all sides of an organization and everything that goes into an organization in aging services.

A unique opportunity I have had is to provide event support for different marketing activities. My personal favorite has been the food trucks that we hold for employee appreciation. It is very important to show appreciation for our professional caregivers because the work they do is so valuable. One food truck we had this summer was a gourmet cupcake truck and it was a big hit! I enjoy being able to have these diverse opportunities that show me a little bit of everything and expose me to every aspect within the field of aging services.

Ryan Eisenhuth and I at the Cupcake Food Truck Event

I am grateful for this internship and the opportunities that Lee Ann O’Brien, the Chief Marketing Officer, and Susan Althans, the Director of Philanthropy and Secretary to the Board, have given me. This internship has given me valuable hands-on experience that has allowed me to learn and grow as a marketer. It has opened my eyes to the expansive world of aging services. My internship has forced me to go outside of my comfort zone in order to learn new communication skills, research important topics, and write content that is useful and relevant for so many people.