Meet our Residency Counselor: Julie Howard, MSG NHA
When asked how she became a Residency Counselor for the planned Villaggio at San Luis Obispo, Julie Howard excitedly says, “serendipity!” She was working for Cuesta College, teaching through the Emeritus program for older adults and serving as Faculty Lead for the program.
By happenstance at a local Chamber of Commerce meeting, someone had mentioned to Rebecca Johnson, Senior Director at Villaggio, that she should meet Julie Howard to see if the Emeritus Program might be a topical program for Villaggio. Julie and Rebecca instantly hit it off as they had many common professional connections through prior work in the field of aging and because of their shared passion for enriching the lives of older adults. After discussing in detail with Julie about the Villaggio concept, Rebecca asked if Julie would consider working with the Villaggio team. Because of Julie’s experience serving as the Executive Director of other senior communities in the area, working with Villaggio seemed a perfect fit and she jumped at the idea of working with the Villaggio team.
Now serving as a Residency Counselor at Villaggio, Julie meets with a diverse group of seniors who are at different stages in their retirement planning. Ranging from those who want to know more about senior living options in San Luis Obispo to those possibly interested in Villaggio, and to Villaggio’s current members who need to be kept up to date on Villaggio’s activities. “We enlighten them about how valuable their roles are in developing the Villaggio community,” Julie explains. “Our members are playing a pivotal role in creating the community before it opens offering input regarding future community amenities, as well as co-creating our popular enrichment program and developing lifelong friendships before they move in.”
As for why Julie is excited to enrich the lives of those moving to Villaggio she says, “Helping people plan for the rest of their lives is so satisfying. We want to be a great life-enhancing resource for everyone in San Luis Obispo County.” Having worked in the field of gerontology her entire working life, Julie feels she is at the pinnacle of her career and loves serving those she works with and those looking for positive options for their golden years. She constantly challenges stereotypes associated with aging and encourages all to embrace and accept with grace, all that comes as we age together. Her favorite saying is “age is just a number, not an attitude.”
After living in Pasadena for most of her early professional life, Julie has been living in the North County for 13 years and now resides with her husband in her dream location – a 10-acre spot in San Luis Obispo County. Her favorite thing to do is ride her horses over to the local winery for lunch. While she loves her current residence, she and her husband are looking forward to the day they get to move into Villaggio as their permanent home.