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“If you believe your product can fulfill a true need, it’s your moral obligation to sell it,” said author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar.
That’s a philosophy that Mark Zullo takes to heart. The new Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Friendship Senior Options, which oversees Friendship Village of Schaumburg and GreenFields of Geneva, has worked in senior living for more than 30 years. Zullo, who was formerly a resident of Crystal Lake and now lives in Naperville, said that he is not, in fact, a natural-born salesperson. “I wouldn’t want or be able to sell anything other than senior living. But I wholeheartedly believe that a retirement community offers an amazing lifestyle choice and security for the future, and I am committed to helping seniors.” He is pleased to have returned to the organization which helped launch his career three decades ago.
Zullo studied health service management at Benedictine University in Lisle, and after graduation, he was hired to work at a small senior living community in Northlake. “I loved it. I loved the people. I’ve always resonated with seniors. I have always enjoyed being with them; they’re so intelligent and full of wisdom. This was a natural fit for me, and I had the bonus of automatically becoming everyone’s grandson,” he said.
After a couple of years, he accepted a sales position at Friendship Village senior living community in Schaumburg. “This was an easy sell for me. The residents and prospective residents were awesome, the product was wonderful, there were so many great amenities, and it was a beautiful place,” he said. “They had a very strong lifestyles and activities program. They always have. The residents were active and enjoyed living here. It lived up to its name Friendship Village.…it was friendly. There was so much positive energy.”
Zullo took on subsequent leadership roles at several other retirement communities, where he gained experience with different contract types, philosophies and amenities.
Like Zullo, Mike Flynn had been with Friendship Senior Options for many years. He left briefly to gain more experience in the industry and then returned as Chief Financial Officer. Earlier this year, he was promoted to Chief Executive Officer. When the Vice President of Sales and Marketing retired, Flynn reached out to Zullo to see if he’d be interested in returning to FSO. “It was a no-brainer. I knew and loved the product. Friendship Village has a history of more than 44 years as a leader in the industry, and GreenFields has been part of our organization for 10 years. I’m very proud and excited for what we have to offer older adults.”
Furthermore, Zullo added, “I’d follow Mike anywhere. He’s a natural leader with great vision. He loves to collaborate and find solutions to problems. He’s smart and a great guy to work with. I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with him again.”
Flynn is equally enthusiastic about having Zullo back by his side. “He is an energetic, enthusiastic go-getter and will help enhance the census in both of our communities. We are looking forward to achieving great things,” he said.