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Meet Judy Baxter

Best sales counselor, move manager, and ‘cookie mom’ in town

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September 24th, 2013

Judy Baxter, sales counselor and senior move manager, remembers the first day she reported to work at Tallgrass Creek the Overland Park, Kans., Erickson Living community in April 2007. Construction crews were hard at work, and along with a handful of employees, she worked from the Welcome Center, a trailer perched on the edge of the construction site. We caught up with Baxter recently and asked her to share some thoughts about her job at Tallgrass Creek, family, and personal interests (including the secret ingredient that makes her chocolate chip cookies so special). Q: You ve worn several hats during your six years at Tallgrass Creek. What are they? A: I was hired as a sales specialist to meet and greet interested prospective residents while the community was still under construction. When Tallgrass opened, I became a personal moving consultant, and then in 2009 added on the sales counselor position. By the way, I m the longest termed employee at Tallgrass Creek that was hired locally. Q: What are some of the challenges of your job? A: Many times, it is a very hard decision to sell a much-loved family home and right-size to a retirement community. My combined responsibilities allow me to develop real, continuing relationships with new residents so as they go through what can be a tough transition, they feel a sense of comfort and trust that what we promise, we will deliver. We all work very hard to do that. Q: What are some of the most meaningful parts of your job? A: Just the other day, I sat with a new resident who said very matter-of-factly, You delivered on everything you promised. Of course, the comment wasn t just directed at me. This is such a great staff, and everyone wants the very best for the residents. It makes my job more than just a job. Q: Do you have some favorite spots you like to point out on tours to potential new residents? A: Oh, yes. I always point out the woodshop and art gallery, because both places personify the vibrant community and highlight the talents and gifts of our residents. I also love the panoramic view from the second floor clubhouse on the way to the Blue Bird Crossing neighborhood, and I love the Blue Sky Restaurant because I can go from table to table and chat with everyone. Q: If you had to say one thing that you love about your job, what would it be? A: That s easy. It is that I ve been involved with every resident from the time they first toured Tallgrass to the time they moved here. It is very personal to me and truly an honor and privilege to be a part of our residents decisions as they begin this new chapter of life. Q: What is your background, and what brought you to Tallgrass Creek? A: I m from St. Louis, Mo., have a degree in accounting from Missouri University, and for several years, worked as a corporate auditor and in professional sales. After multiple corporate moves, my husband John and I (we just celebrated our 28th anniversary) settled in Kansas City 17 years ago. After we started our family, I was a stay-at-home mom and active volunteer in school and church. In 2006, we became the primary caregivers for John s mother, and I knew then that I had a passion for working with seniors. Q: How many children do you have, and what are their ages? A: Melissa is 23 and in grad school at Clemson. Our middle child, Philip, is a high school junior, and our youngest, Olivia, a freshman. Both attend Kansas City Christian School. Q: Any pets? A: We love our four-legged family members! We have Bailey, a golden retriever, and our little diva dog Ellie, a Lhasa apso. Q: What are some of the things you like to do outside of work? A: I love spending time with my family, and we all love to travel. I also love to bake and make great chocolate chip cookies, if I do say so myself. I ve even been in a bake-off challenge with a new resident who admitted my cookies were delicious. And I love to bake cinnamon rolls, especially at Christmas. Q: Okay, lots of people make great chocolate chip cookies. Do you have a secret ingredient you will share? A: Hmmm, okay. I use pure butter (no shortening), and the cookies always turn out wonderful. My kids friends have voted me best cookie mom. Q: What is a fun fact the residents and perhaps your fellow staff members don t know about you? A: We have vacationed in Kauai, Hawaii, ten times because we all love it. And I ve moved ten times throughout my life. Something about the number ten.

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