“A natural fit”

Mass. woman living her best life by giving back

Created date

April 29th, 2019
Retired attorney Marilyn Stewart now lives at Linden Ponds, where she serves on the community’s Resident Advisory Council.

Retired attorney Marilyn Stewart now lives at Linden Ponds, where she serves on the community’s Resident Advisory Council.

Marilyn Stewart has always been active within the communities where she’s lived. She worked for 43 years as an attorney and became the first female managing partner at her law firm, Sherin and Lodgen, in Boston, Mass. In Sharon, where she lived, Marilyn chaired the Council on Aging, worked on a project related to health information for seniors, and started other programs. Now that she lives at Linden Ponds, the Erickson Living community in Hingham, she’s still doing her thing; serving her community and living her best life. 

A cue from the past

“I was in charge of the complete running of the law firm—from hiring attorneys to supervising construction of office spaces,” Marilyn says. “I am also able to work with seniors. I listen to their concerns and complaints and help resolve issues.”

With all of her professional experience managing large projects and working with older adults, Marilyn was a natural fit for Linden Ponds’ Resident Advisory Council (RAC), an important and influential committee that facilitates communication between residents and management.

RAC members are elected by their neighbors and serve a three-year term. Each RAC member serves as the liaison to a different department at Linden Ponds. Marilyn is the liaison to the dining services department and is also the vice chairman of the RAC.

In her role as dining liaison, Marilyn attends monthly meetings of the dining committee, which is open to all residents and gives people the opportunity to provide feedback on their dining experiences at Linden Ponds.

“As a RAC member, our duty is more or less to listen to what residents have to say,” Marilyn says. “My job is to report back to [the] RAC and tell them what is going on.”

Not just lip service

In addition to attending dining committee meetings, residents may also provide feedback about the food and service on a regular basis so staff can make changes as soon possible.

“We put cards on the tables, so if they have a complaint or are happy about something, they can write it on a card,” Marilyn says. “These cards are looked at it by one of the heads of the dining room.”

Marilyn says the dining services department’s commitment to make changes based on resident feedback isn’t just lip service. As an example, she says residents were saying the café was getting too busy at the end of each month when people were visiting more frequently to use up the unused meals in their meal plans. Management heard what people had to say and decided to make swift change by opening up the pub for lunch. With that change, people had another option to use up extra meals, making the café less crowded at the end of the month.

“[Tomas ‘Omar’ Gonzalez], who is in charge of dining services, is very willing to listen to everybody and supply what they ask for,” Marilyn says.

During her time on the RAC, Marilyn has made it her business to understand as much as possible about how the community operates. Before she was liaison to the dining services department, she served stints as liaison to the finance and general services departments.

“The reason I am doing that is that I want to see how each area runs,” Marilyn says.

When her current term ends, Marilyn will take the required one year off from RAC but says she would like to run for another term after that.

“I really enjoy doing this,” she says.