Parkville, Maryland--Brittany Woodard never envisioned herself in sales. Now, as a senior sales associate at Oak Crest, an Erickson Living-managed community in Parkville, she can't imagine doing anything else.
"I started with Erickson Living at Charlestown in 2009 in their dining services department and moved to Oak Crest in 2012, where I worked as a service manager for one of the on-site restaurants," says Woodard. "At the time, the restaurant where I worked was only open for dinner, so I reached out to the sales department to see if I could volunteer as an ambassador at sales events when I wasn't busy. I got to know the sales staff and was later hired as part of the team," says Woodard.
Now, Woodard is a senior sales associate and works with individuals and couples interested in learning more about the Oak Crest lifestyle, as well as other aspects of the moving process like selecting an apartment, selling a house, downsizing, finding a real estate agent, and hiring a moving company.
"The most important aspect of my job is to listen," says Woodard. "Change is difficult, even if it's good change. By listening to their fears and concerns, their hopes and dreams, I can then cater to their wants and help meet their specific needs."
Woodard balances dual roles in her busy life. Not only is she a senior sales associate at Oak Crest, she also serves her country as a senior airman in the Military Police of the U.S. Air Force Reserve.
"In the military, you meet people from all over the country and from different backgrounds," says Woodard. "You learn how to relate to people who are different from you and to see things from other perspectives. I've discovered my military service can also be a great ice breaker when I meet people here at Oak Crest who have also served. It's something they can connect with."
Woodard serves one weekend a month and two weeks out of the year at Andrews Air Force base in Prince George's County. Earlier this year, Woodard completed a nine-month deployment to the Middle East.
"I was deployed to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Before I went there, I don't think I could point it out on a map," says Woodard. "I worked on the flight line, guarding the planes that were coming and going."
She has learned a lot from her time in the Air Force Reserves but says the people she meets at Oak Crest have also taught her a thing or two.
"I have learned to be appreciative of seniors and their stories," says Brittany. "You can learn a lot from them. I have always had respect for older generations, but I feel a much stronger connection to them from working here at Oak Crest."
Woodard says it's the people who work and live at Oak Crest that she loves most about her job.
"The community is filled with so many interesting people from different backgrounds. I have made so many friendships and developed relationships with many residents. I recently helped a new resident move in, and a week later, they called and invited me to see their apartment. I had another resident send me a card while I was away deployed, just to tell me she was thinking of me. It's really like one big extended family," says Woodard.
Woodard lives nearby in Baltimore County. She is engaged and hopes to move forward with her wedding plans once pandemic restrictions are lifted. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and cooking, which she says, 'go hand in hand.'
"The last place I visited for leisure was Thailand," says Woodard. "While I was there, I took a Thai cooking class. They gave us a cookbook to take home, and I have been experimenting with different flavors and combinations ever since."
At the end of each day, Woodard says she feels as though she's making an impact in people's lives and considers it a privilege to be a part of such a significant life decision. She also says now is a great time to take a closer look at Oak Crest.
"Fall is an ideal time to move, before the worst of winter arrives, especially with a strong seller's market like we have now," says Woodard. "So many people tell me, 'I wish I would have moved sooner.' But I've yet to hear anyone say they wish they'd have waited."
Photo Caption: When she's not helping retirees find their dream home at Oak Crest, Brittany Woodard serves as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve 459th Security Forces Squadron.
Written by Danielle Rexrode
About Oak Crest: Oak Crest, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 87-acre campus in Parkville, Maryland. The not-for-profit community of more than 2,100 residents and 1,250 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of Oak Crest. Additional information can be found at OakCrestCommunity.com.