Inspiring Stories

Monica Vargas, Iona College

Monica Vargas is a junior who is majoring in marketing at Iona College and has been an intern with The Westchester Department of Senior Programs and Services for a little more than a year.  When she came to the department, she was primarily interested in fulfilling the college requirement of completing an internship in her field of study.  ‘I thought working with the elderly would be boring’, she said.   She didn’t realize that this internship would turn into so much more.  According to Vargas, the internship has ‘opened her eyes’ and has changed her perspective on the elderly.  She feels that she has so much to learn from seniors and she finds her work rewarding because she feels like she is helping others.  She said that she will probably take some of the aging related courses offered at her school, and would even consider working with the elderly at some point in her career.  She never realized how fulfilling working with the aging population could be, and she also realized that she can incorporate her marketing degree into areas that would include aging services.

Lucille Ettere, Licensed Realtor

Lucille Ettere is a licensed NYS Realtor who holds the SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist) designation. The SRES Designation program educates realtors to profitably and ethically serve the real estate needs of the fastest growing market in real estate, clients age 50+.  Lucille chose to pursue this special certification so that she can help her senior clients in the best way possible.  Lucille understands the unique needs of the senior population, which could mean helping them find one level homes, homes close to shopping and doctors, homes with grab bars or wider doors, just to name a few.  Lucille commented that “I enjoy assisting seniors as many need extra care and assistance. Working with seniors has always been a passion of mine as I see many struggle in the supermarkets, post office, in and out of cars, etc.”

Ellen Eichelbaum, Corporate Gerontologist and President, The SpeakEasy Group

Ellen is President of the SpeakEasy Group, which is a corporate gerontology company that addresses the emotional and psychological needs of the mature market, and the impact that the aging of Baby Boomers will have on a corporation’s bottom line.  Ellen decided to work in the aging field from a very early age.  Ellen grew up living with her grandmother and during those years, realized that communication between her mother and grandmother were strained, and much of it due to miscommunication between the ‘ages’.  She knew there had to be a better way so she decided to learn about intergenerational communication and gerontology.  In addition to corporate gerontology, Ellen is an active speaker to students and educators.  She believes that gerontology isn’t just ‘aging’, but the process of understanding the mature market, and all that goes along with it and encourages students to pursue this very worthy and growing field.

Ileana Guzman, BSW Iona College, 2009

Ileana Guzman is a 2009 graduate of Iona college who currently works as a social worker in a nursing facility.  Her original major was criminal justice, but she decided to change to social work after taking a few sociology/human services courses.  She said that those courses made her realize that she ‘had a different path to follow’ and that her ‘passion was to provide care to those who aren’t able to provide for themselves’.  When asked what she likes about her field she says, ‘ I love being a  social worker, especially in the geriatrics field.  There are so many elderly people that don’t have someone to be their voice or to be an advocate for them – being a social worker to the elderly is more than just providing services to a patient.  Since each patient is different, it is about truly listening to them and understanding what their needs are.’