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residents on the road, GHA resident Marilyn Gould with several other Goodwin Living team members at the Goodwin Living booth at an event.

Live Vibrantly - April 16, 2024

Residents on the Road: Inviting Residents to Attend Local Networking Events

By Lindsay Hutter

As a champion of social good and active participant in business and community events across Northern Virginia, Goodwin Living often sponsors local events. From supporting the Senior Services of Alexandria to the Pro-Aging Network to nearby schools and universities, we are grateful for the opportunity these sponsorships provide for team members to represent our organization and introduce others to our mission and the ways in which we support older adults.

Last fall, we took a different tact on our participation in sponsored events: we invited residents of our senior living campuses to join us and take the lead. Why? Because if people could see older adults active in the broader region around us and supporting a variety of causes, they would realize that older adults are contributing significantly to both their retirement communities and the wider region around them.

Our first foray into this type of resident engagement was the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Professional Women’s Network (PWN) Perfect Pairings celebration in November 2023. The event is the end-of-the-year event for the hundreds of professional women who are members of the PWN. When the Chamber approached Goodwin Living in August about hosting Perfect Pairings, we jumped on the opportunity and were grateful that Goodwin House Alexandria agreed to be the host location.

As a wine tasting and food pairing event, we would need wine pourers. Given how much our residents enjoy a lovely wine, we immediately thought it would be a unique twist to invite female residents to serve as the wine pourers and network with the participants. Within no time, we had ten volunteers to pour, one of whom was GHA resident Marilyn Gould.

Then, in March 2024, the PWN held a Leadership Forum in the Westin Hotel in Alexandria. Nearly 300 attendees took part in this event. Marilyn was among the Goodwin Living representatives in our sponsorship booth at the Forum.

In this Q&A, we’ll explore Marilyn’s impressions of being a “resident on the road,” with additional insights from Meg Tinklepaugh, Goodwin Living senior living product and marketing manager, who attended both events and watched as guests interacted with the residents.

Marilyn – Can you share a little information about your background as well as the activities you engage in today that continue to give you a sense of purpose and engagement in society?

I grew up in a small town in Iowa. In 1960, I moved to Washington, D.C. where I worked for the FBI for a short time before moving to work on Capitol Hill for two Congressmen. I then began working in the Government Relations office for Mobil Oil Corporation. When the Marketing and Refining Division and the Corporate Headquarters moved to Fairfax, Virginia, I became Mobil’s community affairs advisor, the company’s community outreach representative. This enabled me to be on boards of several nonprofit organizations, such as the Arts Council of Fairfax, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and Northern Virginia Community College Foundation, among others.

Since moving to Goodwin House Alexandria, I have been active in my church (Washington Street United Methodist Church) and the Board of Lady Managers (a fundraising organization for Alexandria Hospital). At GHA, I serve on the resident Marketing Committee, the Quality of Life Committee and the Floral Arts Committee, and started a Mah Jongg group. I also participate in many of the activities the GHA Life Enrichment team offers to residents.

Marilyn – What was your impression of how the attendees responded to residents participating in the PWN Perfect Pairings event at GHA?

an older woman in black stands behind another older woman in blue who is holding up a wine bottle
Marilyn Gould shows off one of the wines she served at the Perfect Pairings event.

This was a fun event for both the female residents who served as wine pourers and the attendees. I think the attendees were candidly surprised to see vibrant and active residents participating!

It was quite enjoyable to participate as the attendees were engaging and asked questions about life at Goodwin House Alexandria. Many had never been to a Goodwin Living campus. They were curious about the CCRC (continuing care retirement community) concept specifically, and several attendees came back with more questions because they thought it would be a good place for their parents. They asked about the activities and the amenities. One attendee came back twice to get more information!

Meg – What were your impressions of the Perfect Pairings event at GHA?

Excitement! All of us on the Goodwin Living host team were excited to introduce Goodwin Living to so many first-time visitors. For many of our attendees it wasn’t just their first visit to a Goodwin Living campus; it also was their first visit to a continuing care retirement community. This provided an opportunity to dispel misconceptions about senior living and highlight all that life plan communities have to offer individuals, their families and the larger region around them, including the type of resident engagement that was on display by our wine pourers.

While we offer skilled nursing – which is typically the image people have of what a retirement community looks like – our Goodwin Living campuses are much, much more than nursing homes. This was an opportunity for these women attendees to have their notion of retirement living turned on its head!

Marilyn – The PWN Leadership Forum was the first time in many years that a resident joined the management team at an event we sponsored. How did you feel about being invited to represent Goodwin Living at this event? 

Alexandria Chamber CEO Joe Haggerty with Goodwin Living team member Ioana Munteanu, and on the far right GHA resident Marilyn Gould
On the far right, Marilyn Gould and on the far left Alexandria Chamber of Commerce CEO Joe Haggerty.

It was an honor to be asked to represent Goodwin Living, especially since the event highlighted women’s leadership in the business world. When I was in the corporate world, there were no networking groups like the Chamber’s Professional Women’s Network in existence. As you can imagine, I am thrilled for women today to have these resources to help them grow in their careers and make wonderful business friends!

Marilyn – What did you want the Leadership Forum attendees to learn about older adults and retirement communities?

That we are interested in them, their careers and their future. We are active in the community in many different ways through volunteering and have community mindedness in common. As Meg points out, most people have a very limited understanding of retirement communities and think that those of us who live in them do not get out and volunteer and contribute ourselves. The opportunity to attend the Leadership Forum was one more chance to show others that older adults are not simply consumers or those in need of services, we are also contributors to the region around us and we volunteer and engage in so many ways around so many causes.

Marilyn – What observations from your experience at the Leadership Forum have you taken back to fellow residents at GHA?

Marilyn joined Goodwin Living Team Members Jackie Barbarito, Jenny Elrod and Barbara D'Agostino at the Leadership Forum.
Marilyn joined Goodwin Living Team Members Jackie Barbarito, Jenny Elrod and Barbara D’Agostino at the Leadership Forum.

When I looked around the room of nearly 300 young and mid-career women who own their own business or hold leadership positions in businesses, it was reassuring for our future. I was so enthusiastic after attending that I shared this with my friends at GHA. The panelists all had impressive stories to tell.

Meg – In what ways was it unique to have a resident join our exhibit team in the sponsorship booth?

Similar to the Perfect Pairings event in November, attending this event alongside Marilyn was an opportunity to highlight the vibrant community cultivated by our Goodwin Living residents and Goodwin Living At Home members – those interesting and accomplished individuals like Marilyn.

Interacting with residents of Goodwin Living, whether on campus or in the broader community at events like this forum, serves to demystify an industry that most people know very little about. Furthermore, when we think about the role loved ones play in motivating and/or encouraging their family member’s decision to move to a senior living community, venues like this are invaluable opportunities for us to establish a positive narrative that will someday support those individuals’ decision-making processes.


Lindsay Hutter is the daughter of a mother and father who survived the Great Depression, World War II and the loss of family and friends. Throughout their lives, they unfailingly chose to construct rather than destruct and to leave people and places better than they found them. Lindsay strives to follow in her parents’ footsteps. Since 2017, she has served as Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer for Goodwin Living Incorporated.


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