Sixteen women working in home care, senior living or skilled nursing are being announced today as the third class of Veteran VIPs in the annual McKnight’s Women of Distinction awards program, a joint effort of McKnight’s Home Care and sister media brands McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. They will be celebrated May 22 in Chicago at the McKnight’s Women of Distinction and Forum.

The Veteran VIP category honors women who have more than 15 years of experience and have made an impact on the home care, senior living or skilled nursing fields at a level lower than vice president or its equivalent.

“We are pleased to recognize the contributions of these seasoned professionals, whose knowledge and experience is valued greatly by their skilled nursing, senior living and home care employers,” McKnight’s Editorial Director, Vice President and Associate Publisher John O’Connor said.

The 2023 class of Veteran VIPs:

Ilene Arroyo, Senior Director of Human Resources, The New Jewish Home, New York City

Mary Grace (Grace) Crisostomo, Senior Asset Manager, HumanGood (Beacon Development Group), Duarte, CA

Juliet Fountain, Executive Director, Harrison Senior Living (Harrison House of Snow Hill), Snow Hill MD

Sophia Guel-Valenzuela, Director, Strategy and Special Projects, WelbeHealth PACE, Walnut, CA

Sarah Laloyan, Senior Vice President of Coterie and Signature, Atria, Louisville, KY

Monica McAfee, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, John Knox Village of Florida, Pompano Beach FL

Gina Mizzoni, Traditional Care Director, Benchmark Senior Living, Waltham, MA

Rebecca Murray, Administrator, Bridges Health (The Ambassador Skilled Nursing and Therapy), Tulsa, OK

Robin Nelson, Director of Nursing, Maplewood of Cheshire County, Westmoreland NH

Vicki Nordby, Nurse Consultant, Marquis Companies, Milwaukie OR

Jackie Pappalardi, Executive Director Foundation for Quality Care, New York State Health Facilities Association / New York State  Center for Assisted Living, Albany, NY

Brenda Perkins, Divisional Resident Engagement Manager – East, Brookdale Senior Living, Brentwood TN

Judy Plantinga, Executive Director, Trilogy Health Services (Cedar Creek Health Campus), Louisville, KY

Sheree Lee Spencer, Director of Nursing, Champion Care (The Bay at Eastview), Antigo, WI

Carol Williams, CEO/Administrator, Hallmark Healthcare of Pekin, Pekin, IL

Stacy Yosko, Director of Resident Services, Harrison Senior Living (Harrison House Chester County), Coatesville PA

More award announcements coming

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction awards program was judged by a national, independent panel of judges. Overall, 26 states are represented by the honorees across all categories.

In addition to the Veteran VIPs, the awards include a Rising Star category recognizing women who are aged fewer than 40 years or have fewer than 15 years in skilled nursing, senior living or home care, as well as a Hall of Honor category that recognizes women who are at a level equivalent to vice president or higher and who have had a significant effect on their organization or industry. Rising Stars were announced yesterday, and Hall of Honor award recipients will be announced tomorrow.

The 2023 program, as in years past, also will bestow a Lifetime Achievement Award; the recipient of that award, as well as the recipients of the Spirit Award, introduced last year and recognizing inspiring women who provide care and services, will be announced later.

Awards dinner, educational event set for May 22

All of this year’s honorees will be celebrated Monday, May 22, during an in-person cocktail reception, dinner and awards presentation at the JW Marriott in Chicago. The presentation of awards will be preceded by the fourth annual McKnight’s Women of Distinction Forum, offering educational sessions featuring industry thought leaders discussing important topics. All events are open to the entire long-term care industry, family members and friends of winners, and anyone else interested in attending.

For more information and to register for either or both events, visit Those with questions about the events should contact Anna Naumoski, senior event manager at the parent company of the McKnight’s brands, Haymarket Media, at [email protected].

Keep up to date with McKnight’s Women of Distinction news on the McKnight’s Senior Living website. See a list of previously honored women by year and category on the McKnight’s Senior Living website or an alphabetical list at (scroll down).

PointClickCare is the Diamond sponsor of this year’s event. PharMerica is the Silver sponsor. Additional sponsors include Healthcare Services Group, Omnicare, Sentrics and ShiftKey.