Fifteen women who have worked in senior living or skilled nursing for more than 15 years are being recognized today as Veteran VIPs in the McKnight’s Women of Distinction awards program for 2021. The category is new to the awards program, now in its third year.

“We congratulate these truly deserving industry veterans. Their hard work and unrelenting dedication has helped make life better for countless residents,” McKnight’s Editorial Director John O’Connor said. “They are an inspiration to us all.”

The Veteran VIPs join 17 Rising Stars who were announced Wednesday. Hall of Honor inductees will be announced Friday. The 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award winner will be announced in March.

All of this year’s honorees will be celebrated during a May 18 virtual event.

Veteran VIP class of 2021:

Christiana Bonsu, Director of Resident Care, Somerford Place Columbia, Five Star Senior Living, Columbia, MD

Charlene Boyd, Administrator, Providence Mount St. Vincent, Seattle

Johnnie Brooks, Administrator, Treutlen County Health and Rehabilitation, Soperton, GA

Amanda Brown, Nursing Home Administrator, Rochester Regional Health, Rochester, NY

Jean Bryan, Executive Director, Harrison Senior Living, East Fallowfield, PA

Traci Bullens, Infection Control Coordinator / Patient Safety Director, Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care Center, Mount Vernon, KY

Estela Divino, Director of Social Work, Regal Heights Rehabilitation Center, Jackson Heights, NY

Barbara Galindo, Administrator, Residential Plaza at Blue Lagoon, Miami

Juliet Holt Klinger, Senior Director, Dementia Care Program, Brookdale Senior Living, Chicago

Nemse Paguntalan, Assistant Director of Nursing, Fellowship Senior Living, Basking RIdge, NJ

Janice Pate, Director of Nursing, Bayview, Seattle

Sandy Skerda, Executive Director, Eliza Jennings – The Renaissance Retirement Campus, Olmsted Township, OH

Jaime Smiley, Clinical Education Coordinator, Medical Facilities of America, Roanoke, VA

Gail Spencer, Executive Director, Promenade at Chestnut Ridge, Chestnut Ridge, NY

Tracy Zamora, Social Service Director, Heritage of Bel-Air, Norfolk, NE

This is the third year for the McKnight’s Women of Distinction awards. This year’s 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.

The May 18 virtual awards presentation will be followed the next day, May 19, by the second annual McKnight’s Women of Distinction Forum, hours of continuing education sessions featuring thought industry leaders discussing important topics. Both events are open to everyone, and there is no charge to attend. Details about the forum will be announced at a later date, but registration for the awards ceremony and forum is available now here.

Those with questions about the event should contact Nicole O’Neill at [email protected].

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

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