Opening Keynote Speaker: Amy Dee, RN, NSA speaker (Amy Dee Inc.)

Audiences across the country recognize Amy Dee as a master storyteller and brilliant comedian. She combines her background in standup comedy and theatre with her RN degree and experience as a successful business owner to deliver hilarious stories and valuable content on the brain and behavior. Her message and music rise above the boundaries of gender, age, and occupation.

Amy's hilarious stories and phenomenal content propels audiences to live, act, and work better. Her authentic spirit and down-to-earth approach have made her one of the most sought-after speakers throughout the United States. She is genuinely one of the best speakers in the country at combining message and humor.

Amy's background is as diverse as her audiences. She once ran a non-profit, managing five hundred volunteers and organizing multiple fundraisers culminating in an eight-hour telethon.

Amy lived in Norway from 1994-2003, and while learning to speak, read and write in Norwegian, she started a photo calendar business in her home. Her company grew to become Xerox's largest customer in Scandinavia.

Amy returned to college at age forty-three to obtain her RN degree. She was nominated for Nurse of the Year several times during her nine years as a Psychiatric RN. Amy has been a monthly guest expert on NBC affiliate ND Today. She has written four books and numerous song parodies.

Topic: “Resilience: Awareness, Perspective, Choice”

Closing Keynote Speaker: Johnny Quinn, Olympian (Break Through Leadership, LLC)

Olympic bobsledder Johnny Quinn is a highly sought-after speaker for businesses and organizations of all sizes. Known for thought-provoking and action-packed content, Johnny is a trusted voice on resilience and change management. Johnny has been featured on: ABC, BBC, CNN, ESPN, FOX, NBC, TIME, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. Johnny’s newest book, “PUSH: Breaking Through The Barriers” ushers readers through the valleys of life to the thrills of rocketing down icy mountains at 80+ mph with no seat belts. Johnny, his wife Amanda (m. 2014) and their two children, Amelia (2018) and Oliver (2021), reside in McKinney, Texas. Be sure to connect with Johnny on social media: @JohnnyQuinnUSA.

Topic: “BREAKING THROUGH BARRIERS: Unleash Resilience, Determination and Growth for Unbounded Succes”

Speakers at the TALA 2024 Annual Conference

Aaron Fish, MBA, CHS, Trestle Hospitality Concepts

With nearly 30 years of hospitality industry experience, Aaron has spent his time in the industry with a singular focus on the customer experience. Having gained experience in some of the top hospitality organizations in the country, he has brought a keen attention to building customer-focused operations to the senior living industry. From Dining Room Manager to Senior Vice President, Aaron has spent his career creating best-in-class experiences for the residents he served. He does this with an eye towards innovation in concept design, as well as implementing a combination of best practices, system development, and quality training for all levels throughout any organization.

Aaron holds a B.S. in Hospitality Management from Kansas State University as well as a MBA in Marketing from Baker University.

Topic: “Empowering Families and Caregivers: Navigating Senior Living with Expert Guidance”

Andrew Oksner, MBA, CP Senior Living

Andrew Oksner is Chief Executive Officer for CP Senior Living LLC (“CP”).  CP operates under the Country Place and Countyside Senior Living brand names and owns or third-party manages 18 assisted living and memory care communities in rural and secondary markets in both Texas and Alabama. CP is private equity owned and is looking to expand its Texas business via ownership or third-party asset management. Andrew’s background is in institutional fund management and investment banking with firms including Bear Stearns, Mitsui & Company, and Caisse de depot of Canada. He became involved in senior care in 2006 when he raised and managed a $400 million fund that became the largest independent owned of senior care assets in Japan. In 2016 he moved to Dallas to manage CP. Andrew has a BA in Economics from Tulane University, and an MBA, with a focus on finance, from the University of California, Berkeley.

Topic: “The Art and Science of Smaller Community Management”

Anthony Ormsbee-Hale, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Civitas Senior Living

Anthony Ormsbee-Hale serves as the Senior Vice President of Strategic Operations at Civitas Senior Living, a premier operator with senior living communities across six states. In partnership with Civitas leadership in multiple departments, Anthony focuses on Strategic Operations, ensuring that internal processes run efficiently and that teams are equipped with the knowledge needed to passionately serve senior adults.

A respected industry figure, Anthony has spoken at the Texas Assisted Living Association and LeadingAge Texas annual conferences. He has authored the whitepaper "Turnover Reduction Starts With The Right Data," published by Argentum, and has made numerous media appearances, including multiple interviews on the Bridge The Gap Podcast for Senior Living.

In 2018, Anthony co-founded the Texas Assisted Living Association's Young Professionals Network and has actively participated in industry initiatives such as Argentum's HR Executive Roundtable, LEAD Program Steering Committee, and the TALA Workforce Development Committee.

Anthony completed executive education at Cornell University, focusing on Strategic Human Resource Management, and holds the Professional in Human Resources designation from the HR Certification Institute, as well as the Certified Professional designation from the Society for Human Resource Management.

His professional background encompasses senior living sales, marketing, and operational experience across various asset types in both secondary and primary markets. Before discovering his passion for senior living, Anthony began his career in the non-profit sector as a volunteer and community education manager.

Anthony has received several accolades, including the 2021 Texas Assisted Living Association HERO Award and being named to the Senior Housing News's Future Leaders Class. In 2022, he was honored as Civitas Employee of the Year.

His Predictive Index Profile identifies him as a Maverick—an innovative, "outside the box" thinker who remains undeterred by failure.

Outside of work, Anthony enjoys gardening, hiking, and spending quality time with his family, including his beagles, Beau and Hildi.

Topic: “The Strategic Leader’s Playbook: 3 Tactics for Transformational Leadership”

Arlene Luu, RN, JD, CPHRM, CHC, MedPro Group

Arlene has more than 28 years of experience as a registered nurse in diverse areas that include direct patient care, long-term care administration, case management/utilization management, nursing education, and risk management and patient safety. She has worked as a defense attorney representing doctors, nursing homes, nurses, and other healthcare providers in medical malpractice cases. She has presented and published information on various patient safety topics, and she has provided risk management guidance and support related to healthcare law, quality improvement, and risk exposure.

Topic: “Best Practice Strategies in Senior Care Nursing Claims and Liability”

Brenda Calbow, RN-BC, Brookdale Senior Living

Brenda obtained a nursing degree from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She has been a registered nurse in the state of Texas for 38 years and is certified in Gerontological Nursing. She started her career in acute care, spending 11 Years in Critical Care and functioning in the role of Administrative Nursing Supervisor, while always leaning into Geriatrics.  For the last 27 years, Brenda specialized in all aspects of Senior Living to include Long term care as a Director of Nursing, Regional Nurse; Administrator of Assisted Living, and as an Executive Director in Senior Living.

The last 20 years, Brenda has served as a Clinical Leader for Brookdale Senior Living in various positions; currently overseeing clinical operations for 125 communities in six states; to include CCRC’s, freestanding Assisted Living, Independent Living and Memory Care. Brenda has enjoyed participating in multiple educational/information public speaking events related to Geriatrics and the Continuum of Care. Brenda was a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant for many years and was recognized as one of the “Great 100 Nurses” in the DFW area, by the Texas Nurse Association in 2011.

Most importantly, Brenda’s personal mission is to support others while they develop and then master the opportunities in delivering care to Seniors. She “loves” what she does every day and is inspired to be a resource to others; while “enriching the lives in which we serve with compassion, respect, excellence, and integrity.”

Topic:  “Decoding RN Delegation and HMA’s”

Brittany Lee, MSM, BSN, RN, CPHRM, CLNC, Aventine Senior Living

Brittany Lee's extensive experience and expertise in the healthcare industry, along with her leadership roles in nursing executive positions, have played a pivotal role in shaping healthcare organizations. Her ability to establish consistent standards and implement resident-centered services has contributed to positive outcomes and sustained business growth. Moreover, her knowledge of regulatory functions and healthcare compliance has been instrumental in safeguarding organizational assets.

Brittany's adaptability to diverse healthcare environments, responsiveness to market demands, and ability to inspire others in their unique roles showcase her leadership skills. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Management with a focus on Human Resources Administration. Additionally, her legal nurse consulting and healthcare risk management certifications underscore her commitment to innovative strategies that exceed industry standards.

Topic: Survey Violation: Scope and Severity Determination

Carmen Tilton, MGPS, Texas Assisted Living Association’s Vice President of Public Policy

Carmen Tilton, VP of Public Policy, oversees legislative and regulatory affairs. She represents TALA with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and is a leading voice at the Texas Capitol. She joined TALA in February 2020 after two years as a Senior Executive Policy Advisor for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and five years as a Senior Policy Analyst for several members in the Texas Legislature.

She has an extensive background in both the legislative and rulemaking processes with a focus on long-term care and behavioral health policies and programs. Carmen received her Master’s in Global Policy Studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a sixth generation Texan, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, and a native of Terlingua, TX.

Topic: “TALA’s Public Policy Update”

Carrie Aalberts,Eugeria and Dementia Darling

Carrie Aalberts also known as Dementia Darling has a Master of Science focused in Gerontology and has been working in senior care for a decade. She created Dementia Darling to provide a safe place for dementia caregivers to find community, support, resources and education. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok @dementiadarling. Carrie works as a Care Advisor for Eugeria, where she shares dignified innovations for the dementia journey.

Topic: “Empowering Families and Caregivers: Navigating Senior Living with Expert Guidance”

Charles Turner, CEO, Kare

An innovator in the senior housing space, Charles is currently the CEO of KARE, which is the leading solution to solve the labor shortage in senior care. Prior to KARE, Charles was the President and CEO of Lifewell Senior Living and PinPoint Senior Living where he led development and operating initiatives for the companies.

Charles has been instrumental in identifying and developing nearly a half billion dollars in Medical and Senior Housing projects including Hospitals, Medical Office Buildings and Assisted Living developments in several states throughout the Sun Belt United States.

Charles has also been Vice President of Finance, Planning and Operations for Attachmate (formerly NetIQ), a $400 Million software company, where he was responsible for financial management, strategic planning activities and real estate. Prior to Attachmate, Charles worked at BMC Software where he was responsible for internal strategic planning as well as restructuring the company’s real estate portfolio, saving the company over $30 Million per year in real estate expense from asset sales and lease restructuring. Charles also has several years’ experience in Big 4 consulting as well as industrial distribution management. Charles holds a B.A. in History and Politics from Wake Forest University and an M.B.A. in Finance from The University of Texas in Austin.

Topic: “Overtime, Burnout, Turnover… Oh my!”

David Sawyer, TSOLife

David Sawyer is the founder and CEO of TSOLife. David combines his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for helping others to create cutting-edge solutions that improve the quality of life of senior living residents. TSOLife’s refusal to accept the status quo of senior living technology has positioned David as the next generation thought leader that is trusted by the largest names in the industry to redefine how they operationalize technology.

Topic: “Eliminating Data Silos in Social Determinants of Health and Maximizing the Impact of Life Enrichment in Value-Based Care”

Deanna Vigliotta, TZMO USA, INC.

Deanna has an extensive 30-year healthcare sales and sales management background.  Deanna is the National Sales Manager for Seni, a premium brand of adult incontinence products. She and her Seni teammates are on a quest to shift mindset in the USA from adult incontinence products being viewed as a disposable commodity to high performing incontinence products being viewed as a critical component to the continuum of care. Deanna joined Seni in early 2019 and has been a guest speaker on a number of senior living related podcasts, webinars, and radio shows, sharing her insight to help educate both consumers and senior living industry professionals about the importance of choosing high quality fully breathable products.

Topic: “Ditch the Two-Hour Incontinence Check: Let's Talk”

Eric Varin, MBA, The Aspenwood Company

Eric Varin is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The Aspenwood Company. Eric brings over 12 years of sales experience in the senior housing industry, holding leadership roles at such companies as Benchmark Senior Living and Allegro Senior Living. As SVP of Sales, Eric oversees the management of all sales and marketing functions of all senior living communities under Aspenwood’s management. A strong believer in the Prospect Centered Selling (PCS) methodology of sales, Eric and his teams have used PCS to accomplish consistent positive sales outcomes. He holds MBAs from Cornell University and Queen’s University (Canada).

Topic: “Golden Opportunities: Prioritizing Quality Over Quantity Lead Generation with Data You Already Have”

Erin Thompson, Aspire for More

Erin Thompson has a distinguished career in the Senior Living Industry that spans 20 years in service to residents, their families, and the associates of 4 different Assisted Living and Memory Care communities. Her professional pursuit of excellence in healthcare was driven by a personal mission to change the lives of everyone she serves. She is deeply passionate about leadership, business, and the profound impact of
adding value to individuals and the larger healthcare landscape.

During her tenure as an Executive Director of Assisted Living and Memory Care communities she was able to grow and cultivate teams to accomplish high occupancy, near perfect survey scores and a true team spirit that overcame adversity during the pitfalls of covid. Her communities were voted a Great Place to Work 2 years in a row and won numerous awards for best community in her area.

She is a the founder of Aspire for More with Erin, a company dedicated in growing/empowering senior living leaders with leadership and confidence skills, a speaker and the podcast host of the Aspire for More with Erin Podcast where she continues to add value to the senior living leader via personal stories of triumph and struggle, interviews with other thought leaders and businesses that will continue to
motivate, mentor and empower leaders in the senior living/long term care industry.

Topic: “Empowering Families and Caregivers: Navigating Senior Living with Expert Guidance”

Hollie Glover, MA, LPC, NCC, James L. West Center for Dementia Care

Hollie Glover, is a Licensed Professional Counselor, who currently works for the James L. West Center for Dementia Care in Fort Worth. She is the Director of Education and Family Support Services. She facilitates the center's family support groups and is involved in many of the numerous education services provided by the center.

Hollie is a Dementia Care Specialist and has over thirty years of experience in education and working with people of all ages. She has degrees from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Sam Houston State University, and Dallas Baptist University. She also attended Southwestern Theological Seminary to obtain hours in theology.

Topics: “Creating Successful Support Groups for Care partners of Person's Living with Dementia” and “Person Centered Trauma Informed Care in Memory Care”

Jackie Ramieri, CareWork

Keynote speaker, innovator, tech strategist, and data evangelist Jackie Ramieri lives her purpose for cooperative problem-solving through collaboration with senior living operators and frontline operations and care teams. With a background in corporate IT strategic planning, solutions architecture, M&A IT integration, and leadership, her career expanded over several industries before focusing solely on senior living and long-term care more than a decade ago. Jackie worked her way up from an entry-level position with AT&T to earn her seat at the C-Suite table as CIO for long-term care and senior living operators before founding CareWork, the first Unified Operations Platform explicitly designed to simplify long-term care operations. Jackie is passionate about helping operators learn how to approach tech strategy in a way that focuses on operations and the ‘why’ behind the problems that technology may solve in a way that is uncomplicated, interactive, and easy to put in motion. Her experience as an operator and vendor brings a unique perspective to the conversation. She is on a mission to enable every person and every organization to succeed in their core mission – care and service – through the strategic use of data and technology to futureproof operations for a sustainable long-term care and senior living ecosystem. If digital transformation is the journey, then unified operations is the destination. Keynote speaker, innovator, tech strategist, and data evangelist Jackie Ramieri lives her purpose for cooperative problem-solving through collaboration with senior living operators and frontline operations and care teams. With a background in corporate IT strategic planning, solutions architecture, M&A IT integration, and leadership, her career expanded over several industries before focusing solely on senior living and long-term care more than a decade ago. Jackie worked her way up from an entry-level position with AT&T to earn her seat at the C-Suite table as CIO for long-term care and senior living operators before founding CareWork, the first Unified Operations Platform explicitly designed to simplify long-term care operations. Jackie is passionate about helping operators learn how to approach tech strategy in a way that focuses on operations and the ‘why’ behind the problems that technology may solve in a way that is uncomplicated, interactive, and easy to put in motion. Her experience as an operator and vendor brings a unique perspective to the conversation. She is on a mission to enable every person and every organization to succeed in their core mission – care and service – through the strategic use of data and technology to futureproof operations for a sustainable long-term care and senior living ecosystem. If digital transformation is the journey, then unified operations is the destination.

Topic: “Data Driven Leadership: Data can be a fundamental tool to empower your team and yourself”

Jaime Capelo, JD, Capelo Law Firm

Jaime Capelo is the legislative consultant for the Texas Assisted Living Association.  Mr. Capelo has been actively lobbying the Texas Legislature and regulatory agencies for over 13 years, advocating for his clients directly with the Governor, Lt. Governor, the Texas Senate, the Texas House of Representatives, numerous state and federal agencies, and even the U.S. Senate and Congress.  Prior to initiating his legislative consulting practice, Mr. Capelo was elected and served 4 terms in the Texas House of Representatives from the Corpus Christi area.

In the Texas House, he served on the House Public Health Committee and was ultimately appointed Chairman of the Public Health Committee.

After graduating salutatorian from Roy Miller High School, Mr. Capelo earned his J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law and his B.A. in history from Yale University.

Topic: “TALA’s Public Policy Update”

Jaime Cobb-Tinsley, CAEd, CMDCP, James L. West Center for Dementia Care

Jaime Cobb Tinsley, certified Alzheimer’s Educator and Montessori Dementia Care Professional is the Vice President of Dementia & Caregiver Education at James L. West Center for Dementia Care. She earned a degree in Integrated Marketing Communication at Abilene Christian University and has been working with persons with dementia and their families for over 15 years. Since Jaime has been at the West Center, she has developed and implemented a variety of innovative programs that focus on enhancing the quality of life for families living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Jaime also leads collaborative models of training for current and future healthcare workers. These programs have been proven beneficial for professional and lay care partners. Jaime is a Certified Independent Positive Approach to Care™ Trainer, a Master Trainer for Dementia Live®, Compassionate Touch™ programs, Dealing with Dementia, and the Stress-Busting Program for Family Caregivers™.

Topics: “Respect and Transparency: Communicating with Family Caregivers” and “Elevating Human Connections through Compassionate Touch® Communication

James Lee, MBA, Bella Groves

James Lee is a caregiver turned CEO and has amassed a highly engaged audience in the senior living industry through his own storytelling, compelling vision, and execution through work at Bella Groves, the Level Up Leadership Podcast, and the senior living Think Tank event.  A frequent and favorite speaker at industry and private corporate events, James brings a unique flair and passion to storytelling, connecting with the audience, and sparking actionable next steps for those inspired to further their own leadership acumen.

With work ranging from frontline roles across nearly every discipline and senior leadership roles in sales, operations, and learning and development, James has the hard-won wisdom, experience, and perspective to lead positive change in an industry we all love and want to see grow.  James earned an Executive MBA from the McCombs School of Business at UT Austin, and lives in San Antonio with his wife and two children.

Topic: “Great Leaders Tell Great Stories: How to Level Up Your Storytelling Mindset and Capabilities”

Joe Van Kampen, CITIZEN

Joe van Kampen has been with CITIZEN for over 5 years as the VP of Business Development and has come to understand the senior living industry like the back of his hand. Through his experience helping build brands and relationships, he knows the value marketing can bring to senior living providers across the country. With a Business Administration education focused on Marketing under his belt, and over 10 years of professional experience creating long-lasting value for clients, he's excited to share with you the power of AI and marketing at work in your very own communities.

Topic: “The Age of Artificial Intelligence & Marketing”

Joe Walter, LifeWell Senior Living

Joe Walter grew up in Turpin, a small town in the Oklahoma panhandle.  The small-town life taught Joe the value of community in a different way than most have the opportunity to learn.  After graduation, Joe moved to Amarillo and worked his way up into management of a large retail corporation, which he credits for his approach to service.  From there, wanting to broaden his business and knowledge scope, he took over as the Vice President of an electrical manufacturing company based in Pampa, TX.  It wasn’t long, though, that the need to serve people caused him to take a place in hospitality.  He worked for years in a large hotel chain, supervising all standards of guest service.  It all paid off when Joe was offered the Executive Director role at The Legacy at Town Square, his first “job” in senior living.  He describes the opportunity as a once in a lifetime gig, saying: “Very few people get to be as edified and inspired by what they get to do for a living.  We get to create experiences and environments that help us and our residents connect, grow, and love.”  Joe’s data driven approach and his ”love them different” heart has allowed him to grow within LifeWell serving in multiple capacities and now as the Director of Marketing and Sales for LifeWell Senior Living.

Topic: “Data-Driven Approach to Preventive Care”

Justin Yee, The Aspenwood Company

Justin Yee is the VP of Marketing for The Aspenwood Company. With over a decade of professional marketing and branding experience, Justin delivers a communications strategy leveraging data to make efficient and impactful decisions.

Topic: “Golden Opportunities: Prioritizing Quality Over Quantity Lead Generation with Data You Already Have”

Kathleen Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS, CGCS, Select Rehabilitation

Dr. Kathleen Weissberg, (MS in OT, 1993; Doctoral 2014) in her 29+ years of practice, has worked in rehabilitation and long-term care as an executive, researcher and educator.  She has established numerous programs in nursing facilities; authored peer-reviewed publications on topics such as low vision, dementia quality care, and wellness; has spoken at numerous conferences both nationally and internationally, for 20+ State Health Care Associations, and for 25+ state LeadingAge affiliates.  She provides continuing education support to over 40,000 therapists, nurses, and administrators nationwide as National Director of Education for Select Rehabilitation. She is a Certified Dementia Care Practitioner, Certified Montessori Dementia Care Practitioner, Certified Geriatric Care Specialist and a Certified Fall Prevention Specialist.  She serves as the Region 1 Director for the American Occupational Therapy Association Political Affairs Affiliates and is an adjunct professor at Gannon University in Erie, PA.

Topics: “Together We Can: Impact Suicide and Despair in Transitional Elderly” and “Senior to Senior Bullying: Exploring Impact on the Culture in Senior Living”

Lexi Zager, Belmont Village Senior Living

Lexi Zager is a highly accomplished financial professional with a career in senior living spanning from commercial real estate investment sales to development/owner/operating companies. Specializing in financial planning, sales & marketing development, analytics, and business intelligence, she currently serves as the VP of Financial Planning & Analysis at Belmont Village Senior Living, driving profitability and optimizing operational performance. Outside of work, she actively contributes to the community, co-founding the Texas Assisted Living Association's Young Professionals Network and currently serves as Chair for the Junior League of Houston's Sing Along With Seniors placement. She also holds a BA from New York University.

Connect with Lexi on LinkedIn:

Topic: “How to Maximize Your Financial Value

Loren Shook, CEO, Silverado

As co-founder, president, CEO, and chairman of Silverado, Loren Shook is often recognized as a memory care futurist. Loren is a true visionary – helping to transform an industry while creating thousands of healthcare jobs – but he is most driven by a lifelong commitment to changing lives.

Loren works with the Board of Directors and Executive Team to provide Silverado with the organizational structure and culture that empowers all leaders to lead and enables frontline associates to care for the loved ones of the families they serve. His role is to lead the overall performance of the company including forward-looking, which includes ideating and leading strategic planning, identifying new opportunities, partnering with key public policy influencers, and furthering the industry – making it possible for Silverado to achieve its mission and vision to change the world. A leader in senior housing, he frequently speaks at national and international events and has presented to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, bringing insight on how to provide quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Loren is the recipient of numerous awards, including the University of California Irvine’s Institute for Memory Impairment and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND) 2015 Community Leadership Honoree Award, Southern California 55+ Housing Council’s Person of the Year Award, Boomer Business Summit’s Innovation in Leadership and Service Award, Mission Hospital Foundation’s Vision Award, Ernest & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in health care and others. He co-authored New Possibilities in Memory Care: The Silverado Story and The Silverado Story: A Memory Care Culture Where Love is Greater than Fear and authored the chapter “Pioneering Memory Care with a Culture of Love Greater than Fear” in the book Paths to Leadership in the Senior Living Industry by Matthew Lifschultz and Edward L. Schneider. Before founding Silverado, he served as President and COO of Community Psychiatric Centers, an international NYSE company.

Loren is proud of creating an environment where people help other people achieve their dreams – such as a caregiver who becomes a Registered Nurse and Director of Health Services, an activities staff member who becomes Vice President of Operations for many communities, a case manager who becomes President and CEO of a multi-state behavioral hospital company, or an associate who starts her own company. His greatest passion in life is helping everyone he touches to find a quality of life – including friends, family, Silverado residents, patients, and associates – and witnessing what the Silverado team has done to improve the quality of life for the memory impaired by demonstrating for others what is possible and then seeing those principles adopted throughout the world, improving countless lives beyond our reach!

Topic: “Leading with Courage Through Adversity: The Strength of Culture and Purpose”

Melissa Dillon, MSG CDP, Senior Resource Group

Ms. Dillon leads SRG’s Enliven Creative & Adaptive Memory Care. She holds a master’s degree in Gerontology as well as certifications from Teepa Snow as a Certified Trainer, Certified Coach, and Certified Engagement Leader. Ms. Dillon is an innovator and nationally renowned thought leader who shares her expertise at national conferences. She was recently named in Senior Housing News as a Future Leader.

Topic: “Powerful Memory Care Partnership that REACHes the Heart of the Business”

Michael Crowe, J.D., Husch Blackwell, LLP

Michael Crowe is a partner with the law firm of Husch Blackwell, LLP. Michael has a national healthcare practice that focuses on senior living and post-acute care. He has been affiliated with the Texas Assisted Living Association for almost twenty-five years in several different roles.

Topic: “Termination and Eviction of Residents”

Misty Miller, MSN, RN, Civitas Senior Living

Misty Miller is Chief Operating Officer at Civitas Senior Living, where she supports its mission, vision, and culture by identifying areas of opportunity and growth, overseeing strategic initiatives, performing risk management, and ensuring Civitas communities have the necessary resources to provide high quality services and superior customer service.

Misty discovered her passion for seniors and healthcare at a young age when she watched her mother perform her duties as a private duty caregiver. Watching how her mother became part of her patient’s family, coupled with the wonders of the human body and medicine, ignited her passion for senior living.

She has worked in senior living her entire career in roles such as Director of Nursing, Regional Health Services Director, and Vice President of Clinical Services. Misty joined Civitas as Chief Wellness Officer in 2018 because she loved how the company’s values aligned so closely to her own and how its people were forward-thinking and always looking for opportunities for improvement. She is known for her work ethic and dedication to making Civitas a great place for its residents and staff through optimal quality of life.

Misty is a Registered Nurse and holds an MS in Nursing with an emphasis on leadership and development from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City. She is Director of Nursing Services Certified and a Certified Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Trainer, Assisted Living Administrator, and Dementia Practitioner. She is involved with various Texas Assisted Living Association (TALA) clinical and public policy workgroups and a member of the Alzheimer’s Association. When she’s not working with Civitas to set high standards and improve the senior living industry as a whole, Misty enjoys yoga, weightlifting, listening to audio books, and spending quality time with her family.

Topic: “Decoding RN Delegation and HMA’s”

Nicole Will, BS, ADC, willGather

Nicole Will is a passionate advocate for our aging community, equipping older adults, family caregivers, and healthcare professionals with valuable information and resources. As the founder of willGather, she enlightens and expands people's awareness of leaders, initiatives, support and resources in the care economy through the willGather Podcast: Navigating the World with Your Aging Loved One. The podcast is making an impact in the lives of others as it has made the Apple Charts and is in the top %15 shared globally via Spotify. With over 20 years of experience in aging and senior living services, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services: Social Gerontology and is actively certified with NCCAP. She spent years as a Director at a well-respected senior living community overseeing the Therapeutic Recreation, Volunteer, and Spiritual Care departments. She is a national speaker and consults on aging and caregiver advocacy. Her hands-on approach and advocacy are inspired by her close relationship with her grandma, who came to live with her family giving her a deep understanding of family caregiver needs.

Topic: “Empowering Families and Caregivers: Navigating Senior Living with Expert Guidance”

Pat Nixon, RN - BSN, CALM – CDP, MBA, iNurse Delegate

Pat T. Nixon, RN – BSN, MBA is the owner of iNurse Delegate, delegating and training more than fifty Assisted Living Facilities, Home and Community Based Service Agencies and Personal Assistance Service Agencies across Texas. She has strategically studied the regulations from both Texas Health and Human Services as well as the Texas Board of Nursing to debunk the mysteries behind safe and effective nurse delegation. She maintains her Certification in Assisted Living Management and is a Certified Dementia Practitioner.

She has spoken across Texas educating nurses, managers, and senior care operators on RN Delegation and how it can be used to grow their prospective businesses. Having successfully operated assisted living facilities, home health agencies, and personal care service agencies, Pat is an expert on the regulations and legislation affecting senior care. As an RN, Pat holds a clinical background in the management of geriatric patients in both acute care, home health and hospice settings.

Pat believes in education and mastery. Throughout her career, she has achieved various certifications and awards in order to add value to the senior community. This strong passion led to the startup of iNurse Delegate, providing clinical consulting, caregiver training, and nurse delegation for Assisted Living Facilities, Home and Community Based Service Agencies and Personal Assistance Service Agencies.

She holds designation as a Certified CPR instructor, Residential Assisted Living Specialist with Memory Care certification, she’s a Certified Dementia Practitioner and Certified Assisted Living Manager. She is a proud member of the Texas Nurses Association (TNA), Texas Organization of Residential Care Homes (TORCH), Alumni of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and a mentee of the Small Business Association’s SCORE program.

Topic: “Decoding RN Delegation and HMA’s”

Richard Cheng, Esq., MBA, CHC, Ritter Spencer Cheng, PLLC

Richard is an attorney and managing member of Ritter Spencer Cheng, PLLC. His legal practices focuses on healthcare corporate transactions and regulatory matters. Richard represents a variety of healthcare clients (e.g. investors, post-acute care providers, etc.) and was formerly an equity partner at a global Am Law 100 law firm where he chaired of the hemp/hemp cannabinoid products practice and a member of the healthcare sector. His extensive background includes dealing with the Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statute, the False Claims Act, HIPAA, corporate practice of medicine laws, and more. Richard has served as vice president and general counsel at two healthcare companies and began his healthcare journey as a licensed occupational therapist prior to becoming an attorney. He has also lobbied in Washington, D.C. on behalf of a healthcare professional trade association.

Richard has multiple distinctions, including Thompson Reuters Superlawyer, D Magazine Best Lawyers. Richard is certified in healthcare compliance (CHC) by the Compliance Certification Board (CCB).

Topic: “Deal Flows, Capital Raising and Transactions in Assisted Living”

Rose Saenz, LVN, CALM, LNFA, MBA, Texas Assisted Living Association’s Workforce Development Advisor

Rose M. Saenz's 20+ year career is centered over serving seniors in various senior living roles from nursing care to operations to new developments. She has successfully opened, licensed and operated assisted living and memory care communities.

Rose actively serves the industry as President and Operations Specialist for RevealSol, LLC, a consulting company and as the Vice President of Workforce Development for Texas Assisted Living Association (TALA) .  Additionally, she serves on the Board for A Gift Of Time in Georgetown and supports the Public Policy Committee with (TALA).

Rose is passionate about educating and supporting community leaders in how care is approached, ensuring independence, autonomy and dignity of senior adults is of highest regard through day-to-day operational practices, programming and community design.

Topic: “TURNOVER: Is it all bad?” 

Sara Padilla, RN, Senior Resource Group

With more than 25 years of clinical, long-term care and technology experience, Ms. Padilla oversees resident-centered health services across SRG communities, focused on wellness, clinical management, resident risk management, staff training, education and survey readiness. She plays an integral role in coordinating the company’s health care provider delivery systems and managed care initiatives. Ms. Padilla oversees Zest, SRG’s science-based wellness program, and Enliven Creative & Adaptive Memory Care, two of SRG’s signature programs.

Topic: “Powerful Memory Care Partnership that REACHes the Heart of the Business”

Stephanie Berman, MSN, RN, Engagement Through Education, LLC

Stephanie Berman, MSN, RN, is the leading expert on RN Delegation in Texas. Stephanie’s engaging, down-to-earth, practical, high-energy presentations leave audiences wanting more. She engages them from the moment they start and leaves them empowered to handle their new responsibilities. Her ability to connect with audiences creates a desire for more. From medication administration to leadership training, it was the overwhelming response to any presentation Stephanie provides that led her to form Engagement Through Education, a cutting-edge training academy.

She started her career in nursing as an emergency room nurse and has spent over 15 years as the Executive Director or Director of Nursing of various long-term care communities and has been the RN Delegate for dozens of assisted living communities here in Texas and other states as well. She earned her Associates Degree in Nursing from Austin Community College and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Masters in Nurse Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. A deep passion formed for the geriatric population, and she has spent her career working in various long-term, assisted living, and memory care facilities where she developed programs that reduced re-admission rates, created an understanding of RN delegation, developed a leadership program, and fast became the go-to person for better standards of care and regulations. Her company, Engagement Through Education, has paired with its partner facilities to revolutionize the training and delegation process, even including the development of an online curriculum, in person training and mentoring of the team.

Topic: “Decoding RN Delegation and HMA’s”


Steve Groth has spent 18 years in risk management and insurance with a specialization in senior living and home healthcare. His diverse career began assisting clients in preventing claims during transfers, ambulation assistance, toileting, etc.  Then, he was an insurance underwriter making pricing and coverage decisions. Now, he is an independent broker leading a team to deliver insurance and risk management solutions. He is a Certified Safety Professional, Associate in Risk Management, and expert in safe resident handling and mobility. He received his Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety from the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater in 2006.

Topic: “Safety Leadership Positively Impacts Staffing and Culture”

Tammy Lenamond, CP Senior Living LLC

Tammy Lenamond is Director of Operations for CP Senior Living LLC (“CP”).  CP operates under the Country Place and Countyside Senior Living brand names and owns or third-party manages 18 assisted living and memory care communities in rural and secondary markets in both Texas and Alabama.  CP is private equity owned and is looking to expand its Texas business via ownership or third-party asset management.

Tammy oversees the staff responsible for the operations of both Country Place and Countyside’s senior care communities and has been an integral part of the CPSL team since 2014.  She has filled positions of increasing responsibility, including Texas Regional Manager in 2020, and assumption of her current role in late 2021.  She has produced excellent operational results through team-oriented leadership, innovative marketing, and the ability to establish and grow customer/resident relationships.  She also continually earns the trust of residents and families alike through her expertise, compassion, and dedication to excellence in every aspect of senior care.  Tammy attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and has a Texas Assisted Living Manager license.

Topic: “The Art and Science of Smaller Community Management”

Ty Jones, MBA, iCARE Seniors Initiative

Ty Jones earned his Executive MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas. He is a former professor of Miami-Dade College School of Business having taught courses covering the following topics: leadership, organizational behavior, human resource management, financial management, ethics, and small business management. His two decades of professional leadership experiences include having built and led successful teams as both a C-level and senior management professional for Fortune 500, private enterprise, and nonprofit companies. In addition, he’s advocated for seniors for over 14 years including having served as both the founder and first chairman of the City of Miami Commission’s Senior Advisory Board. He influenced the city government to pass an ordinance establishing the board and ensuring that senior citizens, representing all five districts, were included as board members. While working with seniors and hosting numerous speaking forums in the senior living mecca, Florida, he was a two-time recipient of the City of Miami Philanthropy Award for community service. He currently resides in The Villages, Florida as an entrepreneur while simultaneously preparing for the 2024 launch of both the iCARE Seniors Initiative and his leadership book for assisted living professionals. Since 2007, in addition to conferences and workshops, some of his speaking engagements have also included volunteering as a speaker in prisons and homeless shelters empowering men and women to regain their faith, focus, and life’s purpose despite the difficult circumstances that they may be currently faced with.

Topic: Leadership Intensive: Leadership that Waltzes with Assisted Living

Zade West Watts, Sagora

Zade West Watts obtained his BAAS from The University of North Texas in Communication, Sociology, Criminal Justice with a minor in Spanish.  He has survived two near-death drownings, has been held hostage at gunpoint and negotiated his way out alive, survived a domestic shooting incident involving the attempted murder of a relative, disarmed an active shooter in one of his IL communities, waded through waist-deep floodwaters to arrive at his AL/MC community and  developed/executed a plan to get critical supplies and staff moving in during the extreme ice event of  2021 here in Texas.  Zade is a FEMA Certified Community Emergency Response Team member.  Zade has been invited to speak on Hurricane/Extreme Weather/Active Shooter Response. In his spare time Zade is an amateur radio operator.

Topic: “An Executive Director's Primer on the Paradigm Shift in Disaster Preparedness”