People in the news, May 17 – Companies

Pat J. Fraley


Send your personnel news to Lois Bowers at [email protected].

Heritage Senior Living names COO, regional director of operations

Tammy Schafer has been promoted to chief operating officer Heritage Senior Living, based in West Allis, WI, and Justin Gerbers has been promoted to regional director of operations.

Since joining Heritage in 2019 as vice president of operations, Schafer has overseen the company’s 15 communities throughout Wisconsin, all departments and operational functions, and the more than 780 staff members across the state. In her new role as COO, she will maintain her current responsibilities while also taking on a larger role in driving new growth and development opportunities for both the company and its staff.

Schafer has more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry and has held leadership roles at various senior living communities. Before joining Heritage Senior Living, she was the president and CEO of Saint Simeon’s Senior Community in Tulsa, OK, as well as the senior vice president of operations at Evergreen Senior Living Properties in Abilene, TX. 

Shafer holds an undergraduate degree in gerontology from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in business management from Southern Nazarene University.

Gerbers, in his new role, will oversee operations for seven of the company’s communities. Previously, he was the executive director of the company’s Aspire Senior Living Kimberly community before being promoted to area director. Before joining Heritage in 2020, Gerbers spent more than 11 years in operational roles at BAKA Enterprises.

North Shore Healthcare welcomes new COO

Darren Gee headshot
Darren Gee

Darren Gee is the new chief operating officer for North Shore Healthcare, Milwaukee.

Most recently, Gee was chief development officer for Prestige Healthcare, a provider of long-term skilled nursing care and short-term rehabilitation solutions in Kentucky. Additionally, he formerly was CEO at Everest Management Solutions, a company that helps long-term care and senior housing communities find ways to stay open, reach peak performance and improve care.

Gee has directed most areas of long-term care in his previous positions, including financial services oversight, strategic sales and marketing, mergers and acquisitions, and operational supervision. He has held progressively advanced positions at long-term care providers, including director of operations for Cornerstone Healthcare in Arkansas, vice president of Sava Senior Care in Georgia, and COO of SLC Professionals Capital Funding in Maryland.

Gee holds a Bachelor of Science in health and human performance from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma.

Oakmont Senior Living names Gina Grable Hollens as VP, sales and marketing

Gina Grable Hollens headshot
Gina Grable Hollens

Gina Grable Hollens is the new vice president of sales and marketing for the northern California/Sacramento region at Oakmont Senior Living, based in Irvine, CA.

As the newest addition to Oakmont Management Group, Hollens joins the team with more than 16 years of experience that spans the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.

Before joining Oakmont, she spent time as a hospitality executive. She began her senior living career with Sunrise Senior Living, first serving as director of community relations, then as a sales specialist and then regional director of sales.

Cadence Living hires Michelle Cornelius as VP, memory care engagement

Michelle Cornelius has joined Cadence Living, Scottsdale, AZ, as vice president of memory care engagement. She will have principal responsibility over the Revere Memory Care programming across the Cadence portfolio of communities. 

Before joining Cadence, Cornelius was chief operating officer at Cypress Homecare Solutions. During her time at Cypress, she implemented a dementia-specific homecare program that was rolled out across the country. Cornelius brings extensive experience in dementia care, having also managed memory care units in both assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities.

She has a Master of Social Work and a Master of Education in human resource development and has devoted the majority of her career to working with older adults. Cornelius speaks on dementia care, having been a support group leader for the Alzheimer’s Association. She also has served on the board for the Arizona chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association and has been an Alzheimer’s Impact Movement ambassador to Arizona’s federal representatives, a facilitator for Dementia Friendly Arizona, a regular facilitator for Duet’s Finding Meaning and Hope group, and a supporter of other local dementia-related initiatives.

Blakeford Senior Life welcomes two new leaders

Dr. Ralf Habermann headshot
Ralf Habermann, MD

Ralf Habermann, M.D., has joined Blakeford Senior Life,Nashville, TN, as medical director and Ashley Briggs is the new memory care and assisted living administrator.

Habermann is an internal and geriatric medicine specialist and has been practicing at Vanderbilt for more than 26 years. He also is the medical director of the home-based primary care program and the geriatric primary care clinic at the Nashville Veteran Affairs Medical Center. An assistant professor of medicine and a faculty member of the Autonomic Dysfunction Center at Vanderbilt, Habermann has been involved with long-term care for decades and is the president of the Tennessee Association of Long-Term Care Physicians. 

Ashley Briggs headshot
Ashley Briggs

Briggs joins Blakeford with 15 years of experience in senior living, with a focus on Alzheimer’s care program development. Throughout her career, she has developed training and specialized life enrichment programs and has assisted with building memory care-focused communities. She also is a community educator and support group facilitator for the Alzheimer’s Association and is co-chair for the 2022 Nashville Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Briggs will be using her experience and passion to develop Blakeford’s new Burton Court memory care community, opening this year.

Erickson Senior Living’s Avery Point names Todd DeLaney executive director 

Todd DeLaney headshot
Todd DeLaney

Todd DeLaney has been named the first executive director of Avery Point, managed by Erickson Senior Living. He will oversee daily operations for the senior living community, which will open in Short Pump, VA, in the fall.

DeLaney started his career with Erickson 17 years ago and has held a variety of leadership positions at multiple Erickson communities. Most recently, he was executive director of Cedar Crest in Pompton Plains, NJ. Before that, he was executive director and associate director at Seabrook in Tinton Falls, NJ, and director of continuing care and associate executive director at Brooksby Village in Peabody, MA. He also was a regional operations manager for Erickson at the corporate headquarters in Catonsville, MD, and a project manager at Cedar Crest. 

DeLaney received his MBA in healthcare administration from Seton Hall University and an undergraduate degree from Springfield College.

Newcastle Place welcomes Matt Monaco as executive director

Matt Monaco headshot
Matt Monaco

Matt Monaco is the new executive director of Newcastle Place, a Lifespace Communities senior living community in Mequon, WI.

Monaco most recently was associate executive director at Clarendale Clayton in Missouri. He has extensive culinary and operations experience in senior living and once worked at former Lifespace community Deerfield Retirement Community in Urbandale, IA.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in hotel, restaurant and institution management from Iowa State University and a Master of Science in hospitality management from Purdue University.

Blake Management Group hires two new leaders for Florida community

Blake Management group, with Cardinal Ventures, welcomes Misty Zulli as executive director and Reetu Haave as sales director of The Blake of Viera, a boutique-style senior living community set to open this summer in Melbourne, FL.

Zulli has been working in senior living for 14 years in various positions, from floor nurse to spending the past three years as an executive director during the height of the pandemic. 

Haave attended George Washington University for both undergraduate and graduate education. She has been a sales and marketing director and an administrator in various senior living communities. 

Anthem Memory Care appoints community relations director for Colorado community

Cyndy Walters headshot
Cyndy Walters

Cyndy Walters has been named community relations director for Greenridge Place, an Anthem Memory Care community in Westminster, CO. She will be responsible for community outreach and marketing.

Walters brings more than 17 years of senior living experience to this position. She previously was director of community relations for Morningstar Senior Living of Littleton, in Littleton, CO. She also has served as sales and marketing director for Gardens at Columbine in Littleton, CO.

Walters earned an associate degree from Mount Vernon College in Washington, DC, and an undergraduate degree in communication and drama from Mount Union University in Alliance, OH.

Friendship Retirement welcomes nurse practitioner

Benita Bocanegra headshot
Benita Bocanegra

Benita Bocanegra has been hired by Friendship Retirement Community, Roanoke, VA, as a nurse practitioner at the community’s Friendship Physician Clinic. She will see patients across all levels of care at Friendship, including Friendship Assisted Living, Salem Terrace at Harrogate and Friendship Health & Rehab Center.

Bocanegra completed her education at Walden University and is board-certified for adult–gerontology acute care through the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.  Her background includes stints in primary care, psychiatric medicine and a role as wellness coordinator helping people with chronic medical conditions.

Sequoia Living announces new hires, award recipient

Sequoia Living’s life plan community, The Sequoias San Francisco, has expanded its dining experience with the hiring of two new executive chefs with almost 50 years of combined experience. 

Tsitsi Helman is overseeing culinary operations at the community, which has more than 350 residents. Before joining The Sequoias, she worked for several Bay Area tech giants and was a former personal chef to an Oracle Corp. co-founder. The pandemic altered Helman’s corporate dining career, however, as many workplaces moved to remote-only working. Following her passion for food and the kitchen, she studied nutrition essential to healthy aging.

Christopher Miller, director of dining services, brings to his new role culinary experience working for The Ritz-Carlton and prominent figures, including Elon Musk.

The chefs, along with a dietitian and a resident-led dining committee, create menus inspired by seasonal ingredients.

Sequoia Living also announced that Cal Groeneweg, R.N., its director of risk management, has been honored as Risk Manager of the Year by Caring Communities. 

In addition to being a certified professional in aging services risk management, Groeneweg is a registered nurse with more than 30 years of clinical and administrative experience. His professional background also includes assisted living administration, staffing and admissions. He is president of the American Assisted Living Nurses Association.

NexCore Group adds two industry veterans to Experience Senior Living

Denver-based NexCore Group has hired two senior housing industry veterans to the firm’s senior living entity, Experience Senior Living. Andrew Brainard will serve as vice president of finance and asset management, and Brandi Williamson has been named vice president of sales and marketing.

Brainard has two decades of commercial and residential real estate experience, with more than a decade focused exclusively in the healthcare sector. Most recently, he was assistant vice president of investments at Welltower. During his tenure, Brainard led more than $2 billion in transactions and was responsible for asset management of more than 400 senior living communities across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Brainard graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a Bachelor of Science in geography followed by an MBA in real estate and urban land economics from the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He also is a licensed real estate broker in Wisconsin and a licensed real estate sales associate in Florida.

Williamson joins Experience Senior Living with 20 years of experience in sales performance management within the senior living industry, most recently with Balfour Senior Living. She has guided sales and operational teams across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. 

She holds a Bachelor of Science in sport and special event marketing from the University of South Alabama, attended the Real Estate College of Colorado and is a broker realtor.

EDSA builds out presence with new office, promotions

Landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm EDSA has expanded its reach and presence along the East Coast with the opening of a new global office in Raleigh, NC. With the new office comes the appointment of Michael Batts and Courtney Moore to oversee the firm’s operations in the region.

Both Moore and Batts studied landscape architecture at North Carolina State University.

The opening of the new Raleigh office marks the sixth global office for EDSA, joining other city-centered locations in North America, including Baltimore, New York, Orlando and the firm’s headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, FL, as well as internationally in Shanghai.

Fishman & Associates expands business development team

New business development professionals Matt Andrus, Justin Sells and Jennifer Stott have been hired by Fishman & Associates, based in Venice, FL.

All three have experience in the food industry. Andrus managed restaurant operations for more than 23 years, Sells was a chef for 18 years and Stott was the program director for Farm Fresh Rhode Island after being a chef for 20 years.

Send your personnel news to Lois Bowers at [email protected]. High-quality color headshots welcome but not required.



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