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In the News: Argentum Announces Inaugural LEAD Cohort

(Alexandria, Va.) – Argentum announced today the inaugural cohort for LEAD, the organization’s leadership development program for the senior living industry. The 27professionals selected, representing14 senior living owners and operators, will participate in a series of networking and training opportunities, culminating at the 2021 Senior Living Executive Conference. 

Connecting the program to real-time industry imperatives, LEAD participants will complete capstone projects on critical topics related to COVID-19 and the future, such as emergency preparedness for the next pandemic, ramping up telehealth, and creative staffing solutions.  

The cohort’s proposals and discoveries will become part of the 2021 Senior Living Executive Conference in Nashville, Tenn., May 10-12. At the event, the group will also have access to a one-day “Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence” program delivered by the Disney Institute. Events and gatherings will be virtual throughout 2020 and as needed in consideration of COVID-19 precautions. 

The Leadership Advancement & Development Program targets a need identified by Argentum’s members for authentic development of future executive senior living leaders.  

“Improving the depth and succession for executive leaders is critical for the long-term health and continuity of senior living owners and operators,” said James Balda, president and CEO of Argentum. We are proud of the quality and diversity of this first outstanding class of leaders, and we appreciate the industry’s commitment to the program during this especially challenging time.”  

A committee of senior leaders reviewed and scored candidates based on their background, experience, personal statement, and letter of recommendation. All participants are members of Argentum companies.  

Learn more about the LEAD Program at 

The 2020-2021 Cohort 

  • Jonathan Barbieri, RN, Senior Vice President, Hearth Management 
  • Manuela (Ella) Barney, Regional Director of Health, Five Star Senior Living 
  • Cassondra Blair, Director of Organizational Services, Integral Senior Living 
  • Jennifer Deal, Corporate Director of Human Resources, Brandywine Living 
  • Natasha Drake, Vice President of Marketing, Solvere Living 
  • Ronda Duckworth, Regional Vice President, Commonwealth Senior Living 
  • Serina Durrah, Regional Director of Operations, Phoenix Senior Living 
  • Elizabeth Ann Fetner, Regional Operations Manager, Life Care Services 
  • Laura Fischer, Regional Vice President of Operations, Brookdale Senior Living 
  • Heather Haley, Regional Director of Sales & Marketing, Integral Senior Living 
  • Diahn Harrison, District Director of Operations, Brookdale Senior Living 
  • Kari Hummel, Senior Director, Finance and Accounting, Life Care Services 
  • Sundeep Jeste, Regional Vice President, Solvere Living (Solutions Advisors Group) 
  • Kari Khanzadian, Regional Vice President of Operations, Hearth Management 
  • Heidi Miller, Vice President of Marketing, Discovery Senior Living 
  • Shane Ness, Regional Director of Sales, MBK Senior Living 
  • Michelle Park Shinn, Corporate Director of Marketing, MBK Senior Living 
  • Lennon Pukowsky, Senior Software Developer, Brandywine Living 
  • Max Rheinhardt, CDAL, Executive Director, MBK Senior Living 
  • Erin Rohrbacher, Senior Regional Director of Human Resources, Integral Senior Living 
  • Keith L. Spencer, Regional Vice President, Solvere Living (Solutions Advisors Group) 
  • Brittney Thoreson, Vice President of Housing, Knute Nelson 
  • Brandy Valencia, Regional Director of Operations for Southern California, MBK Senior Living 
  • Christy Van Der Westhuizen, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, MBK Senior Living 
  • Victoria Vetter, Executive Project Coordinator, The Arbor Company 
  • Rick Westermann, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Life Care Services 
  • Kristopher Yetman, Senior Development Director, Benchmark 

About Argentum
Argentum is the leading national association exclusively dedicated to supporting companies operating professionally managed, resident-centered senior living communities and the older adults and families they serve. Since 1990, Argentum has advocated for choice, independence, dignity, and quality of life for all older adults. 

Argentum member companies operate senior living communities offering assisted living, independent living, continuing care, and memory care services. Along with its state partners, Argentum’s membership represents approximately 75 percent of the senior living industryan industry with a national economic impact of nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars and responsible for providing over 1.6 million jobs. These numbers will continue to grow as the U.S. population ages. 

Argentum’s programs and initiatives are driven by its membership. For more information about joining Argentum, please visit Learn more at