2021 McKnight's Women of Distinction logo

Seventeen women working in senior living or skilled nursing are being announced today as Rising Stars and will be feted May 18 as part of the third annual McKnight’s Women of Distinction awards, a joint effort of McKnight’s Senior Living and sister media brand McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.

The Rising Stars awards category honors women who are either aged fewer than 40 years or have fewer than 15 years of experience in the senior living or skilled nursing fields. All have demonstrated an exceptional commitment at the community or corporate level.

Rising Stars Class of 2021:

Kara Abdala, Corporate Director of Marketing, Harrison Senior Living, East Fallowfield, PA

Jiane Bassi, Associate Executive Director, Covenant Living of Turlock, Turlock, CA

Jaime Brady, Vice President of Clinical Operations, Villa Healthcare, Lincolnwood, IL

Hemwattie “Hemi” Clough, Administrator, Williston Care Center, Williston, FL

Josiane Dusabe, Director of Clinical Excellence, Vincentian Collaborative System, Pittsburgh

Amanda Elliott, Corporate Operations Director, Life Care Services, Savannah, GA

Jodi Eyigor, Director of Nursing Home Quality and Policy, LeadingAge, Washington, D.C.

Michelle Feng, Chief Clinical Officer, Executive Mental Health, Los Angeles

Kristin Harris, Vice President of Operations, Nye Health Services, Fremont, NE

Marissa Harth, Vice President of Clinical and Reimbursement Services, Summit LTC Management, Fort Worth, TX

Marissa Kalama, National Director of Admissions and Villa Referral Management, Villa Healthcare, Lincolnwood, IL

Kendra King-Smith, Executive Director, Duncanville Healthcare and Rehabilitation, Duncanville, TX

Marcy McNeal, Administrator, Sunrise Hill Care Center, Traer, IA

Jana Pauldin, Vice President, Membership and Chapter Relations, American College of Health Care Administrators, Washington, D.C.

Renee Porter, Administrator, Mount St. Scholastica Benedictine Order of Sisters-Dooley Center, Atchison, KS

Tina Sadarangani, ANP-C, GNP-BC, Ph.D., RN, Assistant Professor, New York University, New York, NY

Nadia Williams, Healthcare Administrator, Park Springs, Stone Mountain, GA

New this year to the McKnight’s Women of Distinction awards is the category of Veteran VIP. Honorees will be announced Thursday.

Once again, a Hall of Honor category will recognize women who are at a level equivalent to vice president or higher and who have had a significant effect on their organization or the industry. Hall of Honor award recipients will be announced Friday.

The 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award winner will be announced in March. 

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction awards program received several hundred nominations, making the selection process by a national, independent panel of judges extremely competitive. Overall, 20 states and Washington, DC, are represented by the honorees across all categories.

All of this year’s honorees will be celebrated during a May 18 virtual event, which will be followed the next day, May 19, by the second annual Women of Distinction Forum, hours of continuing education sessions featuring thought industry leaders discussing important topics. Both events are open to everyone.

PointClickCare is the Diamond sponsor of this year’s event.

For more information about the program, visit www.mcknightsseniorliving.com/tag/women-of-distinction. Those with questions about the event should contact Nicole O’Neill at [email protected].