Envisioning the Future December 2021

Pioneer Network offered the final in its series of four Symposia for 2021, based on the theme, Envisioning the Future, and recognized that there is More to Do in 2022. As the previous symposia have shared, we have learned a lot, but now the key is to take the lessons we have learned and use them to help us shape the future, one that is grounded on the principles of person-centeredness. The work ahead of us will not be easy, but Pioneer Network is pleased to bring together a group of leaders who not only have the vision to lead the way, but who have begun the work needed to take us into the future.


All sessions are available to registered attendees On-Demand. (Use the password provided via email)

Session 1

Resident Voice: From Token Input to Powerful Driver

Cathy Lieblich, Director of Network Relations, Pioneer Network

Kandy Schreffler, Regional Ombudsman Specialist, Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Commonwealth of PA Office of Advocacy and Reform
Dee Tripp, Executive Director, Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils (OARC)
Eliza Weeden, Ombudsman Specialist, Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Commonwealth of PA Office of Advocacy and Reform
Howie Ulfelder, Resident Trustee, RiverWoods Exeter
Adele Lehosky, Resident, PEER
Devora Greenspon, Resident, Chair, OARC Board of Directors

Having a forum for residents in senior living communities has been a long-standing practice, and for many settings like nursing homes, it is a regulatory requirement. But for too many communities, that forum has not generated the type of resident voice that they deserve, and certainly isn’t usually heard outside the walls of the community in which residents live.

Is that what we want – or need – for the future? Is there a different vision for how providers can support and raise the voice of elders in community living settings and beyond? Are there best practices we can learn from? The speakers in this session believe the answer is yes and they want to share with you!

The Pennsylvania Empowered Expert Residents (PEER) Program is a partnership between Ombudsman, residents and communities and includes training  residents to be self-advocates and  how to empower fellow residents to improve their quality of life and quality of care. In Canada, the Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils provides a network to strengthen the voice of residents living in long-term care homes, empowering them to understand their rights, share their lived experience, and inspire a better tomorrow.

And have you ever considered having a resident on your board? Howie Uldelder, an Independent Living Resident at RiverWoods Exeter CCRC in New Hampshire, will share his experiences as one of 5 residents who serve on their Board of Trustees.

Kandy Schreffler

Kandy Schreffler is the Regional Ombudsman Specialist for Pennsylvania’s SE region. Formally she was the local ombudsman for five counties. Kandy has also held positions as Recreation Director and Dementia Program Manager for four years. She furthered her career as the OBRA coordinator where she created a program for staff to enter communities and work with adults that resided in facilities with intellectual disabilities. Kandy is the mother of three children and is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her first grandson in December.

Dee Tripp

Dee Tripp is the Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils (OARC). Dee holds a degree from McMaster University (ON) in Gerontology and Psychology and brings over 30 years of long-term care (LTC) experience to OARC including roles of Activity Director, Family and Resident Services Coordinator, Educator, Counselor and Consultant.

Dee is passionate about OARC’s position that LTC residents are not passive recipients of care; they remain vital and influential citizens established in communities and deserve lives full of purpose, self-determination, and dignity. Dee fosters collaborative and authentic relationships in her culture change work, with the goal of lifting and leveraging the voice of LTC residents to influence decision makers at the home and systemic levels.

Eliza Weeden

Eliza Weeden is the Regional Ombudsman Specialist for the NC region of Pennsylvania. Previously Eliza was the local ombudsman & coordinator for Centre County APPRISE, a Health Insurance Counseling Program. She also held positions as a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist for 13 years in three different facilities. Eliza is the proud mother of two daughters, as well as a part time soccer coach, and committee member, secretary, and treasurer of an all-girls scouting group.

Howie Ulfelder

Howie Ulfelder has 88 years of life experience and has lived at RiverWoods Exeter, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Exeter, New Hampshire since 2011. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees and its Finance and Investment Committees since 2015. Howie has a MBA and a Master’s in Business Economics and before retiring, he worked in large and small businesses, for profit and not for profit, for over fifty years. Howie brings experience and talents to the Board based on having served as a CFO several times and having owned and operated his own retail businesses for the last 25 of years of his professional career.

Adele Lehosky

Adele Lehosky has been a PEER for 17 years. She turned 83 last March. Adele learned about PEER by watching a video with another resident. She was a skeptic at first and it seemed too good to be true, but quickly learned that the advocacy skills learned in the classes work.

A little about Adele. In her younger years she was a Sunday school teacher, girl scout leader as well as a den mother in cub scouts. During her tenure with the Scouts, she spear headed fundraising to help the scouts go to summer camp and pay for their uniforms. Later in her scout career she became a district commissioner. She helped start FISH (Friends in service helping) on Long Island, NY.

In addition Adele was active in her church community, and was asked to sit on the board of religious education. She enjoyed teaching vacation Bible school which had between 300-400 children every year.

In her later years Adele moved to her new community of St. Paul’s, which is in Western PA. While in her new community she started to crochet again. Adele put her talents to use to make layettes for preemie babies, as well as angel gowns for babies that did not make it home. Adele’s community of St Paul’s is an Eden community, and her staff are trained and certified in this concept. Adele was trained and certified in the Eden concept as well. Adele is also proud to say she was invited to joined Accord and sit on the executive board of VOICE.

Adele continues to be an advocate in community. She considers the amazing partnership that she has with her community, the Ombudsman and PEERS to be why their lines of communication are open and is truly a home and not a facility.

Devora Greenspon

Born in Montreal, Quebec, Devora Greenspon earned her university degree and Specialist Certificate in Special Education and taught special needs children into her retirement At the age of 68 Devora embarked on a three-year adventure teaching special needs children in Atlanta, Georgia. An avid traveler, Devora has visited many countries and hopes to travel to Vienna as a bucket list trip after the pandemic is over!

Devora is committed to strengthening the effectiveness of the Residents’ Council within her home to make it a better place now and for residents to come. Prior to co-chairing OARC’s REAL (Resident Expert Advisors and Leaders) group, Devora was a member of the OARC Board of Directors for eight years, serving in Executive roles of Treasurer and Secretary.

Devora has three wonderful children and she is a proud grandmother and great-grandmother

Cathy Lieblich

As the Director of Network Relations for Pioneer Network, Cathy Lieblich’s responsibilities include serving as the liaison between Pioneer Network and state culture change coalitions; managing special projects; and helping to plan and conduct educational programs. She has over 40 years of experience in the field of aging and long-term care including working on the national level for the National Council on the Aging, on the state level for a long-term care provider association, and on the local level for an area agency on aging, a university center on aging and a private foundation. Cathy was the founding director of the Florida culture change coalition, one of the first in the country, and currently serves on the coalition’s Steering Committee. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Social Service Administration from The University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from The Johns Hopkins University.

Session 2

Growing the Team of the Future to Drive Cultural Transformation Toward a Person-Directed & Citizenship Approach to Senior Living

Moriah Bernhardt, Senior Director of Programs, CLC-CLS (Moderator)
Jill Vitale-Aussem, CEO & President of CLC-CLS
Dan Parker, Senior Director of Building Operations, CLC-CLS
Don Backstrom, Executive Director of Clermont Park
Andrew Sharp, Community Life Director, Clermont Park
Robin Heppler, Director of Sales and Marketing, Someren Glen
Robin Visser, Director of Marketing and Digital Media

Christian Living Communities (CLC)- Cappella Living Solutions are led by the vision of creating communities where aging is celebrated and honored. To realize this vision, this organization believes in delivering transformational outcomes by igniting a philosophy that supports continued growth and collaboration with residents, team members, families, owners, and other key stakeholders in their communities. Their mission is to inspire a world of possibilities in older adult services, through experienced leadership, strategic insight and application, leading to a culture of success and well-being in each community and partnership.

How do they carry out this vision? Join CLCs leadership team panel as they share stories of their transformative journey and what they envision and plan for the future – learn how you, too, can grow the leadership team needed for the future.

Moriah Bernhardt

Moriah Bernhardt is the Senior Director of Programs, supporting 22 CLC-CLS communities with engagement and dementia trainings and program development. She began her career at CLC in 2010 as the Director of Community of Life at Clermont Park, where she helped integrate the Eden Alternative and Masterpiece Living into the inclusive cultural fabric of the community. Moriah is a professional licensed therapist, a registered art therapist, Independent PAC consultant and an Eden educator.

Jill Vitale-Aussem

Jill Vitale Aussem is the CEO and President of Christian Living Communities & Cappella Living Solutions. She is licensed nursing home administrator, a LeadingAge Leadership Academy Fellow and a Reframing Aging facilitator. Jill is the author of Disrupting the Status Quo of Senior Living: A Mindshift and speaks internationally on the topics of culture, leadership, and ageism.

Dan Parker

Dan Parker was introduced to Senior Living in 2010 and since then has had the pleasure of working on the buildings and environmental service for Christian Living Communities and Cappella Living Solutions. He notes that the learning curve from commercial to long term care was very eye opening. Changing his perspective from only looking at building operations to focusing on residents’ comfort, safety and creating a culture of home has made this experience far more than a job for Dan. During his time with CLC-CLS Dan has helped environmental services teams become part of the culture change of a community.

Don Backstrom

Don Backstrom is the Executive Director at Clermont Park. Don began his journey in senior services as a physical therapist and director of rehabilitation centers several nursing home in the Denver area. He pursued a masters degree in business and stepped into more operational and administrative roles working with Kaiser and Innovage. In 2017 Don joined Clermont Park Life Plan Community, as the nursing home administrator. In 2020 Don became the campus’ executive director. Guided by  the Servant leadership principles, Don is an active change agent in transformation the culture of aging and services.

Andrew Sharp

Andrew Sharp is Director of Community Life at Clermont Park, a Christian Living Community. He began his career in senior living in 2013 as Resident Services Director at a community in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 2017, he moved to Denver and was a Life Enrichment Coordinator at Someren Glen until the transition to his current role. Andrew has always had a passion for fostering resident-driven community and finished Certified Eden Associate Training in 2017 feeling encouraged and equipped in this endeavor. He became a certified Eden Educator in January 2020 and is excited to continue helping to create communities where aging is honored and celebrated.

Robin Heppler

Robin Heppler is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Someren Glen, a CLC Life Plan Community. She has worked in the world of marketing & sales and business development in community-based and corporate roles for the past 10 years. Robin believes that creating a culture where aging is honored and celebrated starts at the first point of contact. She integrates culture change principles such as the power of inclusivity and relationship building in her tours, community outreach and trainings.

Robin Visser

Robin Visser has a passion for all things digital. In her role of Director of Marketing and Digital Strategies. She is responsible for innovative lead generation for multiple senior living communities as well as two corporate brands. Her range of professional experiences include producing videos for NASA, National Parks as well as digital lead generation for an international mobility company. This all comes to together creating a pool of ideas and inspiration to benefit Christian Living Communities and Cappella.

Session 3

Technology of the Future: It’s in a Senior Living Community Near You!

Sheri Rose, Executive Director, Thrive Center

The vision of the Thrive Center is to transform the quality of life and quality of care through connecting healthcare innovators with the aging care population. Sheri Rose, will be joined by technology partners as they share some of the innovative technology that is available today and which will take us into the future. Technology that will help ease the load of caregivers as they support activities of daily living, create safer environments in which to age, support seniors in maintaining greater independence, and enriches life for seniors and their families.

Sheri Rose

Sheri Rose is the CEO / Executive Director of the Thrive Center, a nonprofit innovation center focused on wellness and aging. She is also a partner at Commonwealth Leverage LLC, a healthcare professional consulting firm. Sheri previously held positions with AT&T, as Director of Sales & Regulatory. She serves on the Executive Board of the Women’s Political Council of Louisville and on the board of New Directions Housing Authority. She was named by Louisville Business First as “Top 20 People to Know in Aging” and was recognized by HealthTech Magazine as one of three women to know in health IT. Sheri holds a B.A and M.Ed. in Psychology from the University of Louisville.

Session 4

Beyond the Box – The Future in 3 Acts

Dr. Bill Thomas, Physician, Professor, Entrepreneur, Playwright, and Performer

Join visionary leader Bill Thomas in an interactive session where he will share a vision for the future in 3 acts.

  • Act One: Architecture – From One to Many
  • Act Two: Culture: More Voices – More Passion
  • Act Three: Cultivating Neighborliness

Dr. Bill Thomas

Dr. Bill Thomas is a physician, professor, entrepreneur, playwright, and performer whose wide-ranging work explores the terrain of human aging. His dedication to culture change and innovations for well-being led the Wall Street Journal to highlight Dr. Thomas as one of the nation’s “top 10 innovators” changing the future of retirement in America and US News and World Report named him to its list of “America’s best leaders.”

Session 5

Bringing the Vision Together

Penny Cook, President & CEO, Pioneer Network

Join today’s speakers in this interactive and engaging session where both attendees and speakers will have the opportunity share their vision for the future, defining what is on the list of “more to do in 2022,” and brainstorm about the next steps that together we can take together to realize the future of aging that we envision.

Penny Cook

Penny Cook is the President and CEO of Pioneer Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to changing the culture of aging and empowering a network of senior living and care communities by fostering person-directed practices and environments. For 30 years Penny has provided education, training, and advocacy related to the care and support of older people. With Pioneer Network, she is working to fulfill her life-long goal of changing the culture of care and support for people as we all grow older. She is passionate about helping us value and respect our own aging as well as those that we serve.

Continuing Education

  • Nursing Home Administrators (NAB/NCERS)
    • Live viewing of this program has been approved for Continuing Education for 5.0 total participant hours by NAB/NCERS
      • Approval 20221207-5-A80106-DL
    • On-Demand viewing of this program has been approved for Continuing Education for 5.0 total participant hours by NAB/NCERS
      • Approval 20221209-5-A80237-DL
  • Certified Dementia Practitioners (National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners)
    • This program has been approved for 5.0 CEUs
  • Activity Professionals: (National Certification Council for Activity Professionals)
    • This program has been approved for 5.0 CEUs through NCCAP  – Approval #5028134-22.
  • Registered Nurses / Advanced Practice Nurses (CEU Network)


Special Thanks to all our 2021 Envisioning The Future sponsors: