2023 Convention Keynote Speakers and Speaker Bios

Keynote Speakers

Opening General Session | Featuring Mark Parkinson and Jody Urquhart

AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson will kick off convention with his vision on why long-term care will survive the workforce crisis and other challenges. Following Parkinson’s address, keynote speaker Jody Urquhart, will keep things going with a bang! Jody is an enthusiastic keynote presenter and one of America’s favorite motivational funny ladies. She has more than 25 years of experience inspiring and entertaining audiences across the globe. Jody’s humorous and uplifting talk titled, “Take this Job and Love It,” will help you see how to cultivate a much-needed blissful can-do attitude toward fun and meaningful work.

Tuesday General Session | Featuring Jerald Cosey

Jerald Cosey is a health care leader, patient advocate, consultant and professional speaker. Jerald’s perspective as a health care facility leader, combined with his own experience as a patient, captures the impact of quality care on a person’s life. Jerald’s meaningful keynote speech titled, “The Power of Purpose to Advance Senior Health Care,” will leave you with an unforgettable lesson, mingled with laughter and learning.

Closing General Session | Featuring Jamie Pollard

Jamie Pollard, Iowa State University director of athletics, will close out our 2023 Convention. Since his arrival in 2005, he has reimagined almost every facet of the Iowa State University (ISU) athletic department, leading the Cyclones to records in attendance, ticket sales and academic scores. Jamie’s closing keynote speech, Pearls of Wisdom, will share the leadership lessons he has learned in nearly 20 years of being the ISU director of athletics.

Speaker Bios

Carmen Bowman

Carmen Bowman is a consultant, trainer and owner of Edu-Catering: Catering Education for Compliance and Culture Change, turning her former role of regulator into educator. Carmen was a Colorado state surveyor for nine years, a policy analyst with the CMS Central Office, where she taught the national Basic Surveyor Course, and was the first certified activity professional to become a surveyor. As a contractor to CMS, Carmen co-developed the Artifacts of Culture Change measurement tool, as well as authored the background papers for and facilitated both Creating Home national symposiums.

Catie Campbell

Catie Campbell has been with the Department of Inspections and Appeals since 2009. Catie began her employment with the department as a surveyor for the Special Services Bureau. In 2014, Catie moved to the program coordinator position for intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/ID) and assumed the role of program coordinator for Adult Services Bureau in July 2016. Catie has served as the bureau chief of adult/special services since December 2021.

Jerald Cosey

Jerald Cosey is a health care leader, patient advocate, consultant and professional speaker. He is the operational leadership development director for American Senior Communities (ASC), the largest senior living and senior health care company in Indiana. He is dedicated to developing leaders for over 90 skilled nursing and assisted living communities in this role. He is also the founder of J. Cosey Speaks, a leadership development company that inspires leaders to lead with compassion and purpose.

Lori Dierolf

Lori Dierolf spent more than 20 years as a human resources and staff development professional in the long-term care industry. She is the author of two books, “Set the Course: Best HR Practices for Long-Term Care Leaders” and “Training Your Team for Dementia Care Excellence.” Since 2006, Lori has conducted seminars and on-site educational programs through her company, Open Door Training and Development, and she has been a favorite speaker at conferences throughout the country on the topics of leadership, team building and dementia care. Lori has a master’s degree in psychology from Millersville University in Millersville, PA.

Malory Dreasler

Malory Dreasler, LMSW, has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Iowa and has worked in the social services field for nine years. Her current role is a social worker/case manager in the University of Iowa Hospital’s Virology Clinic, which houses UIHC’s Ryan White Program for people living with HIV, a role she has served for the past five years.

Viri Estudillo

Viri Estudillo, BSW, has a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Iowa and is currently an MSW student at St. Ambrose University. Viri works as a social worker/case manager in the University of Iowa Hospital’s Virology Clinic, which houses UIHC’s Ryan White Program for people living with HIV. Viri has been working in this role for almost three years.

Elaine Farley-Zoucha

Elaine Farley-Zoucha, RD, LMNT, LD, is the founder and president of EZ Nutrition Consulting, PC. She recently partnered with DiningRD and serves as the vice president of education and resources. She has over 20 years of experience in foodservice management, culinary arts and medical nutrition therapy. Elaine specializes in foodservice systems, geriatric care and quality management for long-term care facilities. Elaine is a national speaker and author on long-term care regulations and foodservice systems.

August “Dutch” Geisinger

August “Dutch” Geisinger is the deputy director of the Polk County Emergency Management Agency. Dutch became a member of the emergency management team in August of 2020. He has an extensive background in critical infrastructure protection, business continuity planning, training and public outreach and education. Dutch served with the U.S. Army and Iowa Army National Guard for 12 years before accepting a position with the Cedar Falls Police Department in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Julie Halfpop

Julie Halfpop, RD, LDN, and director of nutrition services is the leader of Martin Bros. Distributing Co. Inc.’s team of nine dietitians. Passionate about the senior living industry, Julie has devoted over 30 years to inspiring excellence in dining. Having managed food and nutrition departments, she challenges her team daily to develop and administer tools and services that will promote successful management of the industry’s opportunities and challenges. Her favorite topics of conversation revolve around long-term care menus, developing marketable dining experiences, controlling costs and training staff.

Maggie Hanson

Maggie Hanson is an attorney with the Denton’s Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines. Maggie focuses on employment litigation, employment practices, liability insurance defense and providing day-to-day and strategic advice to employers. Maggie defends a wide variety of employers, including hospitals, senior care facilities, large and small businesses, insurance companies, not-for-profit organizations and manufacturers in disputes related to employment litigation.

Rachel Heilskov

Rachel Heilskov, MHA, LNHA, works for the American Health Care Association and National Centers of Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) as the Iowa Health Care Quality Partners (IHCQP) clinical care manager. Rachel started her journey on the Integrated Networks team working directly with Iowa providers and helping them pave the way to clinical integration. Prior to her role at AHCA/NCAL, she was a nursing home administrator in Iowa for eight years. Rachel is on AHCA/NCAL’s Integrated Networks team and works closely with AHCA/NCAL providers who are members of provider-owned networks in several states.

Stacy Hejda

Stacy Hejda is the director of business development with Healthcare of Iowa, formerly known as Assisted Living Partners. She has over 20 years of experience working with assisted living programs. Stacy serves on the ICAL Board of Directors as vice chair and has been active on the ICAL Payment for Services and Quality Committees. She represented Iowa as an NCAL 2013-2014 Future Leader of America and currently serves on the NCAL Board. She received her assisted living management certification in 2002.

Shelly Jensen

Shelly Jensen, BSN, has been working as an immunization nurse clinician and perinatal Hepatitis B prevention program coordinator at Iowa Department of Public Health for over five years. She earned her bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of Iowa College of Nursing.

Barbara Khozam

Barbara Khozam is an internationally recognized speaker and trainer having delivered over 1,900 presentations to 75,000 people in 12 countries on customer service, patient experience, leadership and communication. Barbara was recognized as a Certified Speaking Professional™ from the National Speaker’s Association in 2019. In 2021, Barbara achieved the Certified Patient Experience Professional designation from the Patient Experience Institute.

Louann Lawson

Louann Lawson, BA, BN, RAC-CT, CMT, has nearly 40 years of long-term and acute care experience and has been an active member in the health continuum. As a registered nurse, Louann has held multiple clinical and leadership positions that provide her with extensive experience to support and to grow clinical teams. As a Pathway Health consultant, Louann is an educator who has successfully trained hundreds of professionals regarding MDS/Medicare/Medicaid processes, clinical quality initiatives and reimbursement protocols. She conducts comprehensive surveys and reimbursement audits, as well as directed plans of correction.

Brian Lebanion

Brian Lebanion has more than 25 years of experience in the health care industry and provides consulting services for all aspects of home health care and hospice, including operations, reimbursement and education. He specializes in comprehensive consulting services, offering clients and providers survey/licensure coaching, clinical review and training, financial and revenue cycle management, third-party audit response and quality assurance/performance improvement training.

Annette Lee

Annette Lee, RN, MS COS-C, HCS-D, is a registered nurse practicing since 1990, with the majority of her nursing experience in public health care, and holds a master’s degree in health care administration. In 2000, she joined the home health intermediary Cahaba GBA where she became a sought-after instructor, providing education to home health and hospice providers on Medicare reimbursement issues and effective documentation strategies. After nearly a decade working for the intermediary, she began Provider Insights, Inc., a home health care consulting company.

Jean Menning

Jean Menning, RN, is a graduate of Iowa Lakes Community College Nursing program. She began her career as a registered nurse at the Palo Alto County Hospital and soon discovered her calling of serving people with intellectual disabilities, a career that has spanned 43 years. Jean held several leadership positions at Exceptional Opportunities and spent her last 21 years as the executive director. Jean has significant experience in leadership, teaching and workforce management.

Dani Merlino

Dani Merlino is the VP of strategic development for Grow Your Occupancy, a company that helps lead senior living communities to the ultimate success of high occupancy, financial sustainability and customer satisfaction. With over 20 years of experience in the senior living industry, Dani excels in sales training, occupancy building, culture renovation and financial profitability. Sharing her knowledge through presentations at conferences, Dani enjoys pushing the boundaries of the industry in hopes of expanding the minds of those in the industry to help and serve as many seniors as possible.

Ingrid Provident

Ingrid Provident Ed.D, OTR/L, FAOTA, is a national education specialist for Select Rehabilitation. Dr. Provident has held positions of program coordinator, academic fieldwork coordinator and associate professor at major universities in Pittsburgh, PA. She has worked in multiple practice settings with the adult and geriatric populations. Ingrid has been an educator in formal academic settings and presented in more than 70 state, national and international venues.

Catherine “Cat” Selman

Catherine “Cat” Selman, BS, serves as president and co-owner of The Healthcare Communicators, Inc., a company specializing in continuing education for health care professionals. Cat received her degree from Trevecca Nazarene University, with continued graduate work at the University of Southern Mississippi. Cat has over 30 years of experience in management, education and consultation and has trained long-term care providers and surveyors in all 50 states.

Brenda Sprinkle

Brenda Sprinkle, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and the regional director for Deer Oaks – The Behavioral Health Organization. Dr. Sprinkle obtained her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 1992. Since 2007, Dr. Sprinkle has provided psychotherapy services to clients in nursing home facilities in the Austin/Hill Country region. She also manages/supervises Deer Oaks’ psychologists, LPCs and licensed clinical social workers in the Hill Country, west Texas and El Paso regions. Dr. Sprinkle also serves on the DE&I committee for psychologists in long-term care.

Deborah Theis

Deborah Theis, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist with over 24 years of experience working in the long-term care industry. Dr. Theis obtained her Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Texas A&M University in 1995. Dr. Theis currently serves as the national director of training and development for Deer Oaks. Dr. Theis is the president for Psychologists in Long Term Care, serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry, is chair of the Aging Division, co-chair of the Emerging Leaders Program and a committee member for Academic and Higher Education for the Texas Psychological Association.

Melanie Tribe-Scott

Melanie Tribe-Scott, BSN, RN, DNS-CT, QCP, RAC-MT, RAC-MTA, is the director of quality initiatives at Zimmet Healthcare Services. Melanie has 30+ years of long-term care experience. She has held various positions, from CNA to corporate clinical reimbursement, and now uses that knowledge to consult for long-term care facilities. She is a Certified QAPI Professional and DNS Certified. Melanie has consulted for long-term care facilities and has had excellent results in improving RAI systems, quality measures and survey outcomes. She has provided educational programs and presentations on a variety of topics that impact skilled nursing facilities.

Kari Vrban

Kari Vrban, MSW, has a master’s degree in social work from St. Ambrose University and has worked in the social services field for nine years. Her current role is a social worker/case manager in the University of Iowa Hospital’s Virology Clinic, which houses UIHC’s Ryan White Program for people living with HIV. Kari has been working in this role for the past five years.

Ken Watkins

Ken Watkins is a lawyer and principal owner of Ken Watkins Law Firm, located in Des Moines, IA. Ken practices in health care law, which includes representation of health care providers in regulatory matters, responding to government investigations and malpractice litigation. Ken received his B.A. degree from Knox College and his J.D. degree from Drake University Law School, where he served on the Drake Law Review.

Jo Ellen Whitney

Jo Ellen Whitney is a senior shareholder of Denton’s Davis Brown Law Firm, having obtained her degrees (B.A., magna cum laude, and J.D.) from Duke University in Durham, NC. Jo practices primarily in the areas of labor and employment law, health care law, privacy and fair housing. In the area of labor and employment, Jo assists businesses with policy and contract development, human resources planning, disciplinary and termination issues, as well as regulatory compliance and litigation matters.