Community of Friendships

I am nine weeks into my internship with RiverWoods Durham. What started as just a job has become part of my life. Those that started as just my RiverWoods coworkers have become my RiverWoods family. With the Founder’s Club coming to an end, the list is complete. We can breathe easy knowing that Founder’s members are set in stone. At this point, it is all about educating these 580 members and filling the building. 70% of the building needs to be pre-sold in order to get financing and move into the next step of the construction process. Typically, this is a big obstacle for any CCRC starting out. However, pre-sales for RiverWoods Durham with this level of interest, and the associated constriction appear to not be a concern. The RiverWoods Durham team’s aspiration is to no longer debate whether or not the building will get filled, but instead, how quickly!

Each event being held is special in its own way. The one constant at each event is that residents are able to interact. There is no better feeling for us than seeing residents that are either old friends reconnecting, or new friends creating a bond. Seeing future residents forming relationships is perhaps the best part of working at RiverWoods Durham. A community of friendships being built far ahead of the actual community is a great sign for what is to come.

Another great part about these events is seeing how excited residents are about this new community. When one resident is excited, this is contagious. It not only makes other residents pumped to learn about RiverWoods Durham, but it makes our staff excited as well! It creates a buzz, and gives momentum to the long process of opening up a new CCRC.

At each event, many of the prospects are concerned with their Founder’s Club numbers. They feel as if there may be no point to sign up if their number is not in the top 150. However, when it comes to opening up new CCRC’s, studies have shown an average of 30% ultimately convert and reserve an apartment shown. Things can change, people may not be financially qualified, or family may realize that they want to take care of their loved ones. We are curious to see how compatible the industry statistics work with the strong interest of the RiverWoods Durham Founders Club. With each resident hoping that their name will get called as one of the first 150 apartments, this uncertainty can cause quite a stir!

Typically, Cathleen Toomey (VP of Marketing for the RiverWoods Group) is the one that gives the presentations at our luncheon seminars. She has quite a way with words, and somehow, she can put a new spin on each and every presentation she gives. Cathleen has mastered this so many times, that she probably could do it in her sleep! However, the senior living counselors give the presentations when Cathleen has prior commitments. It is a lot of fun seeing the same material presented in a different way, through different voices. I always get a few laughs hearing them use some of the same jokes that Cathleen makes, as well as throwing in their own whenever they see fit. Seeing the counselors go out of their comfort zones in order to successfully present the information allows the prospects see how passionate they are about the industry, and about making sure that all retirees plan for their futures.

As the home stretch of my internship is approaching, I can’t help but to reflect on my time here. All of my coworkers have done nothing but welcome me with open arms, and teach me the RiverWoods way. One thing that separates RiverWoods’ workers from workers elsewhere is how much each person cares about you. Each and every employee actually wants to know how your day is going, and wants to get to know you. On top of that, everybody in this company has a voice. It doesn’t matter if you are an intern or a manager; everybody has a valued voice in this organization. This is the type of place everybody should aspire to work at. It truly has been a blessing to have been given this opportunity.


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