In this episode of Meet Merrill Gardens, we bring you our Canine-Lover-in-Chief, Jason Childers. When Jason isn’t palling around with his five year old furry friend, Koda, he’s our senior vice president overseeing sales, marketing, information technology, operations analysis, building & facility maintenance.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I spent most of my childhood in the Seattle area but graduated from the University of California at San Diego with a degree in Economics and a minor in Psychology. After college, I worked in advertising as a strategic planner for two prominent agencies and worked on large national brands like Hilton Hotels, Kawasaki, Mazda and Sunkist.
I made the natural transition from motorcycles and orange juice to senior housing in 2002, starting as a market research assistant. I fell in love with senior housing because of the impact we can have in the lives of our residents. That’s just not something you can find in other sectors. I eventually worked my way up to marketing director, then VP of Brand Strategy, then Partner & Vice President. I joined Merrill Gardens last year.
Now tell us about your adorable poodle Koda.
Koda and I have a lot in common. We are both very even tempered and we are more indoorsy than outdoorsy. She is a great running partner, though. When it’s not raining, we have a three-mile loop around our neighborhood that we like to run.
How did you get her?
I always had a Lab growing up, but when I left for college, I realized I was actually allergic to dogs. So, when I started looking for a dog a few years ago, there were a few requirements: 1. The dog had to be good with my two daughters, Peyton (9) and Makena (5). 2. The dog had to have a hypoallergenic coat. 3. We wanted a dog that would not shed too much. After much research, we found that a standard poodle was the perfect match.
We actually found Koda on an online pet adoption site, when she was two years old. She was living with a great family near our home but their daughter was getting ready to go to college and they were worried Koda wouldn’t get enough attention. On our second trip to visit her, we brought her home with us. She’s fit in perfectly with our family from day one.
What is your favorite part about working at Merrill Gardens?
The people. Every day I am impressed with how talented, smart, and genuinely friendly everyone is at Merrill Gardens. We are fortunate to be in a business that truly matters and where we have the opportunity to make life better for the residents we serve. Everyone here takes that responsibility seriously.
What does your typical day look like?
We have a truly outstanding team here, and my job is to make sure they are challenged, excited and recognized for their great work.
On the top of the list right now, we are working on some significant technology implementations. This continues our mission of providing the most innovative tools for handling their responsibilities as efficiently and effectively as possible. Our new software programs touch every aspect of our business in some way. It’s been a huge project for everyone at Merrill Gardens, both at the communities and here in Seattle. The impact of all this hard work will be remarkable because it will allow our team members to spend more time focused on resident services.
Finally, how do you think Koda will feel about being featured in the blog?
I expect she will have the same look of excitement she gets when I open a can of her favorite dog food.
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