Many words have been used to describe the year 2020: Unprecedented. Challenging. Difficult. Uncharted. Bizarre. (And a whole host of epithets not fit for publication.)

Blessed is not one of those words. It’s a pretty safe bet that this year isn’t going down in the history books as one for which to be particularly grateful. Yet, as Thanksgiving approaches, we find ourselves thinking about our blessings, those things we name around the harvest table. Even in 2020.

Senior living has had a tougher time than most industries navigating the strange new world of COVID-19. Countless negative stories in senior communities have fed reporters a steady diet of bad news for months, as well as some unscrupulous lawyers an opportunity for exploitation of the worst kind.

What good could possibly come from senior living in 2020? Plenty, if we really take a look.

COVID has brought forth abundant blessings from the wellspring of necessity, invention, and human goodness. This time of year, we at IVY would like to share some of our clients’ most hopeful stories from 2020.

Stellar Staff
Never before have essential workers faced more challenges and, at the same time, proven more heroic. Faithful staff and healthcare professionals in senior living have gone above and beyond anything previously imagined to keep residents physically, mentally and emotionally healthy – even during a pandemic.

Three Hundred Thirty-Five Years and Counting (Eastcastle Place in Milwaukee, WI)
Longtime Nursing Staff Is Family to Residents (The Danish Home of Chicago, IL)
Monticello West Senior Living Community Turns Things Around During COVID-19 (Monticello West in Dallas, TX)

Boundless Creativity
Inspiration, ingenuity and resourcefulness have taken center stage during the pandemic, as both staff and residents have thought far outside the box for most of this year. They have conceived numerous novel ways to stay connected, engaged, and stimulated – all at safe social distances.

Fashion and Benevolence Go Hand in Hand (Monarch Landing in Naperville, IL)
GreenFields’ Own Lollapaloosa Event (GreenFields of Geneva, IL)
On a Hawaiian Cruise (Monarch Landing)
Hugs, One Cross Stitch at a Time (Friendship Village in Schaumburg, IL)
Creativity and Ingenuity (Eastcastle Place)

Profound Kindness
2020 has been an epically trying time, testing the limits of our patience, fortitude and hope for the future. Yet, the new decade has also inspired countless acts and expressions of human kindness. For all the strife in our world today, the present hard times have shown that most people are caring, helpful and inherently benevolent. The heartwarming stories that have come out of senior living this year, including an entire kindness campaign at one community, restore hope and faith.

Campaign of Kindness (Eastcastle Place)
Kindness Rocks (Monarch Landing)
Sharing the Love: Residents’ Grandchildren Bring Good Cheer (GreenFields)

Virtual Technology
Without virtual technology, we might all be at a very real loss during the time of coronavirus. Videoconferencing, webinars and online programming have enabled our work, school, social events, celebrations, healthcare, and more. Senior communities (and the residents living in them!) have embraced technology to an unparalleled degree. Virtual tours have allowed prospective residents and their families to safely explore senior communities, and online events and programs have proven to be successful alternatives to in-person experiences.

Bridging Generations Through Technology (Monarch Landing)
Touring Senior Living Communities During COVID (Friendship Village)
Danish Home Bonds Shine Through Second Virtual Event of the Year (The Danish Home)
Staying Active During Social Distancing (Friendship Senior Options)

Fabulous Food Service
In accordance with state and federal health guidelines, residents in senior living have needed to dine in their apartments instead of the outstanding restaurants and dining areas in their communities. While they have greatly missed eating with friends, they have received “room service” fit for a king or queen from friendly dining staff members delivering the same delicious, fresh cuisine they know and love. Even some local food establishments have brought meals to residents!

Friendship Village Steps Up to Serve Residents  (Friendship Village)
McDonald’s Brings “Happy Meals” to Residents  (Lexington Square of Lombard, IL)
GreenFields Steps Up to Serve Residents  (GreenFields)

New Pals
One of the greatest benefits of community senior living is the opportunity to make new friends, mitigating loneliness and isolation. COVID-19 has ushered in yet another avenue to new friendships: pen pal programs! Seniors and people of all ages, including teens, have been exchanging physical notes, cards and letters. In the process, they are making new friends through good, old-fashioned mail.

(Monarch Landing)
Old-Fashioned Pen Pal Letters Striking a Chord with Teens
Pony Express Pen Pal Program Still Going Strong
New Friends Can Make Your Retirement Years Golden

Loving Family and Friends
“Window” and “drive-up” visits have become part of our COVID lexicon. Family, friends and neighbors have found new ways to spend time with people in senior living. Special occasions like birthdays and holidays have not been foregone; they have been re-invented! And when outside visitation opportunities opened in some communities during the summer and early fall, spirits were lifted by safe social calls from loved ones in the fresh outdoors.

Close Encounters of the Loving Kind (GreenFields)
Outdoor Visits Bring Danish Home Loved Ones and Residents Together Again (The Danish Home)
Yes, We’ll Be Your Neighbor! (Friendship Senior Options)

Senior citizens have the unique advantage of a long view of life. They have seen a lot, experienced a lot, endured a lot. Unlike younger people, seniors can more easily put difficult times in perspective and realize that “this too shall pass,” and what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger!

Milwaukee Man Explains How He Stays Positive at the Age of 100 (Eastcastle Place)
Across the Ages: Why Intergenerational Relationships Mean So Much (Friendship Senior Options)

Gratitude Itself
Studies have shown that sheer thankfulness is beneficial to overall health and well-being. While 2020 has brought with it many unanticipated concerns, there is comfort and healing in literally counting our blessings.

The Healing Power of Gratitude (Eastcastle Place)

Nothing pleases our IVY team more than bearing good news. Now more than ever, let us help your community be part of the larger – and true – story of joy and thanksgiving in senior living.


It’s addicting!  The fast-paced, ever changing world of public relations and marketing captures your interest and keeps you charged up to learn more everyday.  I love to find the best ways to tell our client’s stories and man, they have awesome stories!

It’s my job to discover our client’s goals and then match the best processes to achieve them, within their budgets, of course.  I get to explore traditional, digital and every manner of communication to determine which tactics, whether it is direct mail or TV advertising, a new website or PPC (to name just a few) will efficiently and effectively capture the attention of prospects. 

I also get to work with great people at IVY – they’re creative, fun, caring and super smart.  We’ve all been around the industry a while so there is not a novice among us.  Our clients are very cool too and totally passionate about the services they offer.  We’ve been working with most of them for years so we know they truly care about being innovative and responsible to the markets they service.  I have great admiration for all of them and look forward to every day. 

It’s true what “they” say, if you love what you do, you won’t work a day of your life!


IVY was established in 1990 with a basic premise to offer professional, ethical and highly creative marketing, advertising and public relations services. We have successfully maintained our core values and have been part of many amazing projects, client growth and changes in the world of marketing that continue to happen at lightening speed. Most of our clients serve older adults in some capacity so we keep abreast of the opportunities and challenges they face.   Each day, we keep it real and fun and consistently deliver positive results to our clients and their markets.


As a hybrid graphic and digital designer/web developer with over 17 years of experience, I am always on the lookout for innovative digital and print visual communications. IVY Marketing Group’s broad range of projects keeps my job challenging and rewarding, as each campaign is a new and exciting opportunity to effectively communicate our clients’ messages and help them achieve their goals. It’s my passion!

My body of work encompasses a diverse design style and wide base of clients, ranging from national associations, small businesses and big name brands like Hyatt and LiftMaster. I firmly believe that form follows function and highly value the communicative power of simplicity. 

Areas of professional expertise include Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Word Press, Responsive Design, CSS3, and HTML5. The industries I’ve served include senior living, health care, hospitality and finance.


All my life, I have loved writing. As a child, I could often be found in my room “writing a book.” While “novelist” is not (yet) on my resume, I am a storyteller. I believe that everyone and everything has a great story, and it is my joy to find that story and share it with the world.

After earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism and completing my master’s studies in the same field, I joined a small advertising agency with powerhouse clients in the hospitality industry, such as Hyatt, Hilton International and Carnival Cruise Lines. I began as a proofreader and achieved the position of senior copy writer within a year.

After my first son was born, followed by two more, I started a freelance writing business that included (among several others) such clients as Advocate Health Care and Coldwell-Banker Realty. Clients in the education arena included DeVry University’s Becker CPA and Stalla CFA Reviews, DePaul University, and Naperville School District 203, for which I won two state public relations awards.

For nine years, I was employed as Communications Director for a large faith community, where I managed all aspects of internal and external communications. I was writer, editor, designer, web master, and content manager.

As such, I am experienced and comfortable writing multimedia for a broad variety of industries, products and services.

I joined IVY Marketing Group in 2013, when I began writing client press releases on a freelance basis. I loved the work—and my teammates—so much, I was thrilled when I was invited to come on board in a greater capacity.

I have immensely enjoyed getting to know our valued clients in the senior housing industry, the people they serve, and telling the many wonderful stories that come out of content marketing done right—with the love and care our IVY teams puts into everything we do.


It all starts with one idea. Working with the Ivy creative team for over two decades has always meant taking one great idea and bringing it to life to help our clients meet their goals. We enjoy the challenges offered with every creative opportunity and try to make the design process itself enjoyable for our clients.


Making certain that the projects IVY produces are word- and picture-perfect is my specialty. But I also love implementing marketing campaigns and programs that bring our clients success. Details are my thing, so it is a pleasure to have worked with IVY twice now, first after college four years ago and, recently, for the past two years.

The IVY Group is a terrific team of creative, positive and talented professionals that I love working with and, judging from the length of stay of our clients, I think they love our team, too!


Rock-climbing, training for an 80-floor stair climb event, running a 5K…This is just a tiny peek into what people 20 and even 30 years older than I am, are doing on a fairly regular basis at some of the retirement communities that IVY represents.

I’m of the generation that still has reoccurring nightmares about what the next step looked like when my grandmother could no longer live by herself. The very best option at that time was living at a “facility” and  included eating rubbery chicken and playing an occasional game of BINGO. Period. That’s why my parent’s generation begged us not to ever put them into “one of those places.”

I am so proud that IVY’s clients are at the very forefront of an industry that creates opportunities, challenges, and most of all freedom for seniors, allowing them to explore hobbies, interests, passions…the next chapter of their very full lives.

I feel reassured for my own future. Even more, I feel honored to be able to share the impactful stories about this paradigm shift in the world of senior housing. What we hear and see at our clients’ communities is fascinating and inspiring!


Keeping up to date on new public relations strategies, online engagement tactics, and promotional tools is my passion.

With my hospitality background in marketing top Chicago restaurants and hotels, I was eager to bring fresh concepts and communication strategies to our clients and have really enjoyed learning various industries.

Our clients have such exciting and unique events and programs, which really makes it motivating for me to make the most of their content.  Results like increased sales leads, website visits and social media connections make everyday rewarding and interesting.


I oversee, plan and implement projects and processes at IVY.  Often,  I am the conduit between our writers and designers, with printers, and other vendors to fulfill the marketing needs for our clients. I also manage media buys and coordinate production of advertisements.

Working for a flexible and fluid company that is constantly growing, changing and evolving is fun and rewarding. There is always something new to learn.


My bio has a big blank in the beginning—Mom and Dad rescued me in Wisconsin, and no one really knows my origins. They were probably ruff. What matters though is where I am now, running IVY Marketing Group. There are humans here who think they’re in charge. In truth, they do actually have amazing experience in content marketing and public relations, but I’m super important and the center of attention. I mean, look at this face. Right? And I know I’m the top dog because honestly, I’m the only one allowed to sleep through staff meetings and eat things that people drop on the floor.

The fact is though that I truly love staying awake at staff meetings. Everyone talks and laughs and they’re always excited. That surprises me a little because it’s not like anyone has thrown a ball to play fetch or anything. But I guess what gets my pack of peoples’ tails wagging is their work and their clients. I don’t know what a website or a blog is, but I do know that my pack must be good at them because they’ve earned all sorts of awards for these and other things. My bed had to be moved because the framed certificates were taking up so much room. Despite the inconvenience, I’m proud of these awards!

I serve several important purposes at IVY. I always let Mom (and the world) know when the mailman is here. When people come into the office, just one (usually) quick non-invasive (usually) sniff, allows me to determine important characteristics…like if they had anything good for breakfast, own any pets (pet owners are the best!) or if they stepped in anything on the way in. (It’s sort of like me conducting a first job interview.) I generously share my tummy because I know people like to give it a good scratch. I always give kisses, whether one is feeling lonely or not. And I’m always happy to share someone’s meal, especially if they’re trying to lose weight. My pack describes me as being engaging, amusing, and entertaining. (When I hear a siren, I “sing” along and it makes them laugh.) NPR talks about the benefits of having a pet at the workplace. Studies show pets lower stress hormones and improve morale and productivity. I wholeheartedly agree that a dog in the workplace is the best thing since rawhide bones.

As for my pack of people at IVY…they are amazing and always make my tail wag!


I could not be more thrilled to work alongside the IVY team.

For over 25 years, I have been employed in top executive positions across the Chicago area and have consistently built profitable businesses, generated sales, and developed and launched new product lines.

Strategically positioning companies and commodities for growth is a strong suit I’m eager to bring to ResponderHub™, IVY’s new crisis communications solution. I’m also excited to help expand IVY’s reach in the senior marketing industry.

I believe people are more open than ever to thinking outside the box and looking at new ways to reach their customer base, while at the same time reducing their cost of sale. The senior industry is exploding, and IVY is perfectly positioned to respond to the need for innovative, quality content marketing services and effective crisis communications.


I love being able to use my skills to help improve other people’s lives, and with a growing elderly population, it’s important to create meaningful and user-friendly digital solutions to aid the senior living industry.I have a wide range of technology and design skills with a deep interest in Human-Computer Interaction– helping IVY provide outstanding web design and print design services. IVY has a long-proven track record of excellence, and I’m proud to be able to help carry on that tradition.