She's a people-person, so it wasn't hard at all to talk to marketing director Heather Kelly. In fact the most difficult part was convincing her that—with all the other great staff at the facility—she was the one we wanted to talk to that morning.
Born in Michigan City and currently residing in Chesterton, Kelly says her current position at a senior care facility isn't one that she exactly planned on. As she revealed, the same can be said of her Bachelor's degrees.
"When I started at Purdue, I was studying elementary education. After my first year, I switched into business management. I ended up with two degrees—one in management and one in marketing—kind of by accident. I needed five electives, but I read the sheet wrong and ended up taking an entire block of classes I didn't have to. It wasn't until my last semester that I figured out I had earned an entire other degree by doing that," Kelly said.
Once she graduated in 2008, Kelly did some work for the American Red Cross before applying for a position with Rittenhouse, which has locations in Valparaiso, Michigan City, and Portage.
"I saw a job listing for a marketing assistant before they opened in 2010. I worked at both the Michigan City and Valpo locations, then stayed at Michigan City at first when they got started. I moved up to program director there, and two years ago I was promoted to marketing director here at the Valpo facility," she explained.
Kelly says senior care is a good field to be in and that she really enjoys her job, which involves everything from coordinating advertising and organizing events to leading tours for the prospective residents and their families.
"It's nice to be able to help these families when they're faced with a tough decision like this. I also like that I get to do so much with fundraising to give back to the community. In 2013 we worked with United Way to collect stuffed animals for their 'I Need a Hug' program, and we also do a lot with the Alzheimer's Foundation to raise and donate funding for them as well. I have a fun job, really. I'm a people-person—if I were at a desk all day long, I'd go crazy—and I get to talk with a lot of people in the course of my work, which I like," Kelly said.
Kelly says she has no intention of leaving anytime soon, either.
"Rittenhouse is a great company to work for. It's privately owned, so it's not like you're working for a big corporate chain, which is nice. The staff here are great to work with and very dedicated to what they do. The state has recognized us two years in a row as deficiency-free, which for our business is a big accomplishment by both the nurses and the nutrition staff," Kelly said.
As much as she enjoys her job, Kelly says the regular hours she gets to keep are pleasant as well. When she isn't at Rittenhouse, Kelly can be found taking care of her Pit Bull, Maya, at home ("she's 11 but she's like a kid," Kelly said) or outside running.
Photo taken by Von-Kozy Photography