Jennifer Maharajh: Healthcare Guru, Jill Of All Trades
BY NATHAN DUKE
Jennifer Maharajh has taken her family’s mantra of working hard and applied it two times over. She is the senior manager of marketing and communications at AgeWell New York, but is also the founder of a marketing company, a blogger, insurance broker and, occasionally, filmmaker.
Maharajh, who grew up on Long Island and lives in New Hyde Park, said that her parents migrated to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago when they were in their teens. Her father became an entrepreneur in Richmond Hill, where he opened Someday Travel Agency and Frank Rampersaud Insurance Inc.
“You learn from your parents,” she said of her entrepreneurial nature. “My parents were very hardworking and came from the West Indian culture.”
Maharajh said that she spent summers working at her father’s insurance business—and became a certified property and casualty insurance broker last year—and, while there, met members of Queens’ Caribbean community. From there, she began contributing to Caribbean publications and radio and TV programs and taking part in cultural performances at The Natraj Center for the Performing Arts.
“I started meeting people and writing for Caribbean newspapers in the community,” she said. “It’s where I got my start in everything.”
Maharajh worked in radio as a producer and newscaster at WRHU Hofstra University, 930AM WPAT and 1240AM WGBB, where she hosted “Caribbean Sounds.” She also had a stint as an on-air reporter for NYIT’s LI News Tonight.
She became interested in healthcare and, from 2008 to 2014, worked at St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children in Bayside before moving on to Northwell Health.
“I worked on St. Mary’s capital campaign and the pavilion for the kids,” she said of the hospital, which specializes in treating children with medically complex conditions. “I worked on the planning and strategy and also produced their video.”
Currently, Maharajh works for AgeWell New York, a New York State managed-care plan that offers managed long-term care and Medicare Advantage plan options for Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries. In her role, she is responsible for planning and developing media advertising strategies and marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness and member enrollments. She is also the lead design and content developer of AgeWell’s website and digital and social media strategy; and internal and external marketing and communication materials.
“I create all the marketing,” she said. “I provide support and strategy for all internal and external initiatives—all the advertising campaigns and PR. It’s about building brand awareness and increasing membership.”
Maharajh also operates a blog known as “Journeys Ahead” that focuses on a variety of issues—such as healthcare, education and media—and is frequently tailored for the Caribbean community.
“I tend to write a lot about issues that affect the Caribbean population, such as Medicare and Medicaid,” she said. “I take a focus on preventative care, teaching the community about keeping healthy, how to manage illnesses and disease and holistic care. Some of my other articles focus on media and how to build brand awareness. I’ve also written articles on meditation and why it’s good for kids.”
Maharajh said she hopes that her blog informs Caribbean immigrants about important healthcare issues.
“A lot of people are not very savvy when it comes to insurance, so I try to educate and advocate on behalf of them,” she said. “I definitely want to give back to the community in any way that I can.”
On the side, she takes on independent marketing and communication projects at Vees Marketing & Communications, which she founded, and is a broker for her father’s insurance business. She has a master’s degree in communications and film production from the New York Institute of Technology and is a former graduate of the New York Film Academy. Recently, she produced a tribute video for a friend whose 3-year-old daughter had died, which was screened at the Thalassemia Foundation’s annual gala.
Maharajh said that while she is proud to carry on her parents’ tradition of hard work, she is also pleased to see young emerging leaders in the city’s Caribbean community.
“I strongly believe in education, making sure that the youth in the community are keeping aware,” she said. “I want them to accomplish their goals. I’m proud to see so many kids taking roles in the community and following their dreams.”