Marketing sold Melissa Huffman on something much bigger than skater shoes or a hybrid car: it gave her personality an outlet through which to promote the people and places she cares about. What Melissa has done with her career in marketing is effecting her whole community.
Melissa is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Residences of Deer Creek, an assisted living home in Schererville, Indiana.
When she was a child she dreamed about being a famous singer. Music was her escape from life, the sanctuary she retreated to when reality got a little too harsh. Melissa has always been an old soul.
“This is a strange progression, how I ended up in this position,” she says. “I was blessed to have seven grandparents in my life growing up and it prepared me for this. You can’t go to school to help people with this transition in their lives. You have to live and learn.”
Melissa had her first child when she was in high school. It changed her path, sending her through a thicket of other people’s doubts before landing her at her destiny.
“That’s why I tried so hard to succeed. I knew I could still finish school, go to college, and do all the things people were discouraging me to do because I had a child.”
Her next step was to get a job at a bank. Melissa applied for a secretarial position, but instead she was offered a job in marketing. Her boss saw something in her personality that said she would be a perfect fit. She was.
“I liked the promotional things, the events. We did a lot of community outreach. I think it’s important for any company to support the community: People need to know that they are supported and that we care.”
Melissa’s first experience working in the senior living industry was for Classic Residence by Hyatt, in Chicago. It was a fast-paced environment in a city too big for her intimate personality. She was soon searching for a job closer to home.
For a short while, she worked at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Hobart.
“I really missed my seniors,” she said. “It was different. I didn’t get the same interaction.”
Four years ago she took a job at Residences of Deer Creek and it fulfilled all her career and personal needs. Melissa is back to working with the seniors, and getting involved in her home community. She promotes events and fundraisers that help not just the business she works for but the people that make up the world around her. Melissa’s work is personal.
“I love when I’ve worked with someone for so long and know their family and know they’re happy here. They are coming into themselves and this is becoming home. Personally, if I wasn’t working full time I would be volunteering. It’s amazing that I get to do it through a job that I love.”
Melissa has volunteered at NICK (Northwest Indiana Cancer Kids). She is a board member of Schererville Chamber of Commerce and a member of other chambers as well. Being a part of the community is another personal commitment of hers and one that is reaffirmed in her career.
“I love my community, where I am at. I love our great little home town feel. When people look at us and see all the great things we do, they see we are a part of the community too.”