Multiple sessions featuring panels of senior living leaders and a change to the Hero Awards presentation will be among the noticeable differences at this year’s Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference compared with previous years.

The event, May 1 to 3 in Nashville, TN, also will be shorter by half a day. The general educational sessions and exposition hall hours will occur May 2 and 3.

This year’s meeting will feature six sessions with panels of senior living industry chief executives discussing topics such as workforce development, the resident experience and innovation in senior living, Nathan Nickens, Argentum’s vice president of programming and innovation, told McKnight’s Senior Living. The panel discussions, under the “Insights from the C-Suite” banner, will be peppered throughout the conference schedule as opposed to previous meetings, which concluded with a lunch featuring one CEO panel discussion.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity to hear from people that we can’t accommodate with only one session slot,” Nickens said. With two dozen or more leaders, “we hope to have the largest collection of industry CEOs all in one place,” he added.


Argentum intentionally is reducing the number of sessions at this year’s conference, Nickens said, to focus on topics of broad appeal. Niche topics will be saved for other events, he said.

George Blankenship, a former executive at Tesla, Apple and GAP Inc., has been tapped as the conference’s keynote speaker, Nickens said. He will speak about innovation and creating customer experiences in senior living.

Some of the meeting’s other speakers:

  • Sylvia Mackey, an advocate for frontotemporal dementia research. She is the widow of widow of Football Hall of Famer John Mackey of the Baltimore Colts, in whom the disease had been diagnosed.
  • Sandra Simmons, Ph.D., of the Vanderbilt Center for Quality Aging, who will speak on staffing models and measuring quality in senior living.
  • Hospice chaplain and author Kerry Egan, who will speak about end-of-life issues.
  • Financial gerontologist Cyndi Hutchins of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who will speak about how consumer priorities change in retirement and how those priorities could inform state and national policies related to the private financing of senior living.
  • Gretchen Alkema, Ph.D., of the SCAN Foundation, who will talk about long-term care financing from a policymakers’ perspective.
  • Nihal Satyadev of the Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s.
  • John Zeisel, Ph.D., of Hearthstone Alzheimer’s Care.

Hero Awards

The meeting will end May 3 with a gala dinner at which the Hero Awards will be presented. Television personality Joan Lunden will host.

“It’s going to be an evening to remember in Nashville,” Nickens said. “We’ve got a lot of surprises up our sleeves.”

At last year’s meeting, the Hero Awards were presented at an evening event, and in previous years, they had been presented at a luncheon.

Early registration

Early registration numbers for this year’s conference are “ahead of where we’ve ever been before at this time,” said Nickens, who added that he believed that Nashville and warm weather are drawing registrants. The organization is planning for more than 2,600 attendees. Those who register for the meeting through March 17 can save more than $125.

View the conference schedule here.