30+ Reunion At Non-Profit Organization
I walked into the restaurant on east 57th street, not knowing what to expect. I worked at Altro Health and Rehabilitation Services back in the 1980’s, more than 30 years ago. I was fresh in the field of PR and eager to learn. I had previously worked at Ogilvy & Mather PR and Hill, Holliday/PR and was very familiar with agency life and “pitching” but I never wrote and designed a brochure, newsletter or any other collateral piece, you just didn’t do that at a PR agency.
I remember my first days at Altro. It was an exciting place to work. We helped people with psychiatric problems get jobs in the community. We had sheltered workshops where consumers learned real trades, like printing, direct mail, sewing, food services and more! I felt like I was making a big difference. Little did I know the agency set me up to grow personally and professionally.
There was such an emphasis on degree at Altro. Everyone, or practically everyone, had their Master’s or Doctorate degree. That was one of the reasons why I went on to get my Master’s degree.
I learned so much working there. As I think back, I learned about graphic design, printing, layout, writing for different types of publications, dealing with crisis management and even working on a successful capital campaign. It was probably the best place I ever worked and that’s due in turn to the leadership of Dr. Jeffrey Solomon, our CEO. He was incredible at building a great team of people and letting them flourish by promoting creativity.
There, I had my first assistant and I learned how to delegate work. I later became a manager there and had to also learn how to juggle it all and get it all done.
Looking back on that time, Altro shaped a ton of people to succeed, including me.
Back at the Restaurant
So, when I walked into that restaurant, I had a lot of mixed emotions. I hadn’t seen these people in so many years. Would they remember me? Would I remember them?
I walked in and was the second one there. Barbara Plotnick was standing at the bar. I recognized her immediately. “Barbara,” I said, “OMG, you look amazing!” She did. She looked just as beautiful as she did the day I met her.
“Hilary is that you,” she said. “I can’t believe our little Hilary is all grown up!”
I laughed. I was young when I worked there. I was only 24.
Slowly, some of the other managers from Altro walked in. I was so excited to see everyone. They all looked about the same, maybe a little older but not that much older.
We spent the evening catching up with each other. It was so nice.
“You know Hilary, if everything went as planned, I would have still been at Altro,” said Peter Murphy.
“I know, I would have too,” I said. I loved working there.
At the end of the night Barbara Plotnick and Jeff Solomon told us that they would like to make this a yearly tradition. So any of you former Altro employees out there, tune in for the third annual Altro Reunion!