When it comes to learning more about the lifestyle at Highland Springs, there's no better resource than the people who live at the North Dallas Erickson Living community.
The ambassador program at Highland Springs is a way for prospective residents
to get the inside scoop on community life from those who know it best—the people who already call Highland Springs home.
Resident ambassadors have meals with prospective residents, attend marketing events, and open their apartment homes for tours. They answer questions about the community's social life, dining services, clubs, and activities.
Highland Springs Senior Sales Associate Molly Mann oversees the ambassador program. She says the community's ambassadors outshine any sales or marketing effort.
"We absolutely could not be as successful as we are without our ambassadors," says Mann. "Our guests tell us how much they enjoy talking with people just like them, people who have walked the same path they're on."
When a first-time guest attends a marketing luncheon at Highland Springs, a resident ambassador serves as the table host.
"Our ambassadors are the best people to answer questions about life at Highland Springs, because it's something they experience every day," says Mann.
Currently, Highland Springs has more than 150 resident ambassadors who form a group that's especially invaluable during this season of growth, as Highland Springs prepares to open its second clubhouse, Magnolia Place, and a new residence building, Twin Oaks Square.
"When we have guests visiting the community, we'll make every effort to introduce them to resident ambassadors who have similar backgrounds or interests," says Mann. "Many times, these introductions grow into lasting friendships."
John and Mary Lou Shadduck moved to Highland Springs in May 2014 from Robson Ranch in Denton, Tex.
"We attended three or four marketing luncheons at Highland Springs before we moved, and the first thing that we noticed was the friendliness of the staff and residents," says John, a retired veterinarian. "I was just cynical enough to wonder if the friendliness was authentic."
To dive deeper into community life, John and Mary Lou booked a Suite Experience stay at Highland Springs.
The Suite Experience includes a one-night stay at Highland Springs, the chance to eat meals with resident ambassadors, and opportunities to try activities of interest.
"During our Suite Experience, I was most interested in exploring what it was like to live here from the residents' perspective," says John. "I wanted to see if this friendliness was part of the culture or if it was a facade. We learned that friendliness is one of the hallmarks of Highland Springs."
As part of their Suite Experience stay, John and Mary Lou ate three meals with resident ambassadors.
"The residents we met were extremely helpful in answering our questions about the community and even raised some points we hadn't considered," says Mary Lou. "A few of the people we met gave us their phone numbers and email addresses. As I continued think of questions about Highland Springs over the next few months, I found it a great benefit to email those residents and get their honest answers in reply."
Paying it forward
Less than a year after they moved to Highland Springs, John and Mary Lou became ambassadors themselves.
"We found our visits with residents and meals with ambassadors had been extremely helpful and wanted to pay it forward," says Mary Lou.
Now, when they're meeting prospective residents at marketing events, the couple says they field questions that cover every facet of resident life.
"Questions run the gamut," says John. "Guests want to know about the amenities, clubs, and activities at Highland Springs. Sometimes they'll ask specific questions like, 'Do you hear your neighbors when you're in your apartment?' or 'Do you need covered parking?'"
John and Mary Lou recognize their role is to provide honest feedback.
"We'll answer your questions exactly the way we feel about it, whether we're 100% enthusiastic or whether we have some reservations about a topic," says John. "You tell us what you'd like to know, and we'll do our best to answer."
Consider all factors
The couple also says they try to point out topics to consider, the way ambassadors did for them when they were thinking about a move.
"We talk about our own search," says John. "We figured out pretty quickly that a larger community was better for us because we appreciated the choice of activities and the variety of restaurants offered on a bigger campus. So we try to bring up talking points that were important to us and might be beneficial for guests to consider."
In the end, John and Mary Lou recognize the magnitude of the decision to move and take seriously their roles as ambassadors.
"When you've made your choice, you want to look back and think, 'I did the research, and this decision is the best one to meet my needs,'" says John. "That's how we feel about our choice to move to Highland Springs. We like
it here, and we're happy to answer your questions."