Meet Cathy Rosebaugh-Jennings Founder of Alterna Home Solutions
Cathy Rosebaugh-Jennings is a 46-year-old dynamic woman entrepreneur who is blessed to have a business that allows her to blend her personal passions with her professional skills and relationships. She also has a wonderful and supportive family and circle of friends to complete a full and balanced life.
HERE’S HER STORY:
What do you enjoy most about your profession? The ability to help a population, those “50 and Better,” that is typically underserved by real estate professionals. Frequently, clients have not sold or purchased a home in many years, and are overwhelmed by the process of downsizing and relocating. I enjoy hearing their stories and creating relationships which last long beyond the real estate transaction. Many times, my clients remain in contact for other needs as they age, whether related to aging-in-place, in-home care options or rental retirement community options.
What was your vision for choosing your life’s work? When I left the corporate world with a regional commercial development firm, I knew that my passion was in the area of senior housing. Over time, I saw the opportunity in the area of residential real estate. Within a relatively short period of time, I created the only real estate firm in the country focused on the needs of boomer, retiree and senior clients. What makes my firm different is the sole focus on this niche and the ability to offer my clients a comprehensive solution as well as referrals to trustworthy seniors-focused professionals to handle any need they may have, whether now or in the future.
What was your first job? Nothing too exciting, but it did get me to North Carolina. I worked part-time through high school in Erie, Pennsylvania at the JC Penney catalog desk…long before the days of the Internet. After I decided to make the move to the Triangle area, I was able to transfer my position to a store here which made the transition much easier. It was also the first opportunity I had to learn that hard work, dedication to customer service and employer loyalty pays off. Within a short period of time after arriving in North Carolina I was promoted to a new position.
Tell us about the organizations your company supports? My local board and community involvement:
Board Member, Center for Volunteer Caregiving – www.volunteercaregiving.org
Board Member, Triangle Advisory Board-Second Chance Pet Adoptions – www.secondchancenc.org
Senior Corps Advisory Council Member-City of Raleigh (Senior Corps programs include the Retired Senior Volunteer Program which is the country’s largest volunteer network for people age 55 and over and the Foster Grandparent Program) – www.seniorcorps.org
President, Senior Resource Alliance of the Triangle – www.sratriangle.com
I am also an enthusiastic supporter of the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
What life event or incident made you choose to support them? Ever since I formed Alterna, it has been easy to select causes which are a good fit…those focused on making a difference in the lives of seniors. By combining my personal passion and professional world, a singular purpose has been possible. I have also been involved with Second Chance Pet Adoptions for many years and created a “puppy visitation” program for Alzheimer’s patients in a skilled care facility.
From where do you draw inspiration? I have had many mentors over the years, but I can credit one in particular as being the foundation to my business and passion of helping seniors. In my 20s, I had the wonderful experience of working with an 80-year-old retired professor in writing a book. He became much like a grandfather to me, exposing me to travel and cultural events as well as the world of business.
What one thing would you like to learn in 2009? How to grow my company. With a significant background in marketing and public relations, that particular aspect of business development has been natural. I have also provided my clients with exceptional customer service which has helped in expanding my customer base. However, acquiring capital and strategically growing my business is my next obstacle to overcome.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I have a five-year plan which includes a consulting division for real estate development companies focused on age-restricted communities. It also includes a component to assist seniors of limited financial means in locating resources they need.
What do you do for fun, relaxation? Travel. Not only is it relaxing, but I become invigorated by visiting new places and meeting people. North Carolina has been an amazing state to explore…from the coast to the mountain areas. One of my most memorable lifetime experiences is traveling solo to the California coast to celebrate my 40th birthday, driving from Santa Barbara to San Francisco.
Do you have a secret indulgence? If so, what is it? That’s a tough one since I’m a pretty open book. I believe something others find surprising is that I love consignment clothing shopping. It’s a lot of fun searching for a spectacular item at a bargain basement price…all in the company of friends (and sometimes clients). Another favorite which is well known would be having a glass of wine with good friends.
What’s the Best book you ever read? “What Happy People Know,” by Dan Baker. It was a reminder of the many joys in life, even if at times in the face of adversity.
Your Favorite quote? “What you are is God’s gift to you. What you make of yourself is your gift to God.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? My background in marketing and public relations taught me that focus groups are critical – with both the community-at-large as well as potential clients. I made the mistake of not doing these, thinking that I knew what my future clients wanted. In retrospect, I was wrong, and it took me many tries to get it right.
For example, in my particular business traditional advertising or marketing does not work. My clients are referred to me based upon trust, either from local professional sources dedicated to the senior population or from existing clients. Many hours and days have been spent on clients who were not a good fit. It is critical to determine who your clients are and the way to communicate how your particular service will benefit them. This seems like a pretty simple concept, but it can be a challenging journey.
The other wish I had when I started Alterna was for a mentor in this business. In so many ways, I created the wheel because no other real estate professionals were solely focused on the “50 & Better” niche. Although I have a tremendous amount of support from women business owners in my community, they could not really help me. If you have resources to draw from in developing a business, use them. Mentors are truly a blessing.
Learn more about Cathy Rosebaugh-Jennings at http://www.Alternhs.com