“I love creating strategies with clients to align with their marketing goals and then executing the plan and seeing the results. It’s very rewarding to take an initiative from vision to implementation and measure the impact. I love to take innovative ideas from outside of the senior living industry and adapting it to our prospect experience. Creativity, innovation, and strategy feed my soul!”
It’s safe to say that Deborah “Debbie” Howard knows a thing or two about the senior living industry—particularly marketing, sales, and building occupancy—thanks to the 25+ years she spent working on the operator side.
Debbie got her start at the community level, serving as a director of community relations, which involved an “outreach” task of calling on referral sources and generating leads. From there, she moved to inside sales, working closely with families as they made decisions for their loved ones, an experience that inspires Debbie to this day as she helps clients craft realistic personas that truly reflect the buyer’s journey.
After moving into a regional role with Benchmark Senior Living, Debbie mentored other community level sales people and won the prestigious President’s Award. As a divisional VP of sales & marketing with Emeritus, Debbie was responsible for building occupancy in 70 communities in the Northeast. As the national VP of sales & marketing for Five Star Senior Living, Debbie oversaw 210 communities and was awarded the “Best of The Best” for marketing by Argentum, the national assisted living association.
In 2012, Debbie left Five Star to start Senior Living SMART with Andréa Catizone, who also spent her entire career working in the industry. Together, they use their combined 50 years of experience on the provider side to create strategies and tactics for senior living operators. Debbie says, “Because of our collective experience, we knew we could help operators connect the dots between marketing strategy and working successfully with prospects in the real world.”
Since Debbie has worked at every level (community, regional, divisional, and corporate), she can also easily help stakeholders within a senior living community, particularly the C-suite, understand the work and the value that she and her Senior Living SMART colleagues deliver every day. “We can meet with the C-Suite about reporting and ROI and also facilitate a call with community teams to explain the basics,” she says. “We understand that we have to get buy-in at every level to get the best results.”
I had a children’s band called KidRock (I wish I had registered/ trademarked the name). We recorded an album and had a cable TV show: Circle Time Singalong.
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein
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