our team

Peggy Connelly
Peggy Connelly
Vice President Resident Services

Peggy’s experiences as a family caregiver kindled her passion for serving others and a career in senior living. She is driven by a strong desire to make a difference in the lives of others who are faced with the challenges associated with memory loss.

Peggy brings over 20 years of senior living experience to her role as Vice President of Resident Services at Quadrum Senior Living. Previously Peggy served as National Director of Memory Care Harbor Retirement Associates, Vice President Memory Care at Franklin Companies and Vice President Dementia Services at Spectrum Retirement. While there she developed dementia training, person centered model programs, provided sales & marketing and operations support. She has been actively involved in new building startups and acquisitions for independent living, assisted living and memory care throughout the US.

Peggy is a Nationally Certified Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Instructor, Florida Administrator CORE Trained, Florida Certified (University South Florida) Alzheimer’s Trainer. In 2016 Peggy was reappointed to serve a third term on the Florida Governor’s Advisory Committee; Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative. Peggy is also a contributing editor for the Activities, Adaptations and Aging National Journal and a tireless national public policy advocate for Alzheimer’s disease awareness.

Peggy is married to her best friend Tom. Together they raised two wonderful children, Patrick and Kathleen. In addition to work, they enjoy attending a vibrant church, golf, cooking for friends, reading and travel.

Peggy’s goal is to help ignite excellence in service and joyful living experiences on behalf of residents, families and associates!

 

Peggy Connelly
Melinda Haney
Regional Director of Sales

I was raised in, Berea, Ohio a suburb of Cleveland. As a child, I loved what felt like an adventure going downtown Cleveland. The art museums, theatres, Higbee’s and the Westside Market are great memories. I attended The Ohio State University and graduated with a Vocal Performance, Bachelors of Music with a piano minor. My poor piano teacher, I am sure she wished that I had minored in meteorology. To perform for small groups or a large audience prepared me for so many moments in my life and I am grateful for my training. I also have a love of music, which grounds my soul and has a direct connection to an indescribable inner joy.

I moved to Florida in 1992, right out of college, by myself, without a plan or a job and never looked back. Prior to senior living, I tried steppingstones in non-profits such as The American Cancer Society and The Venice Area Chamber of Commerce as well as a try at insurance; loved the co-workers, but the same thing every day, over and over was not my thing.

I was recruited into the senior living industry 17 years ago as a director of community relations and transitioned to a director of sales. Always wanting to learn more about the industry, business development and census growth, I continued to take on additional roles, which lead to mentoring others.

The joy I found in senior living, is every day is different, everyone is different and has different reasons for what they need and why they are researching options. I find it a pleasure to contribute to community wellbeing and I genuinely love what I do.

I am blessed with a wonderful spouse and two young adult children, who appear to still like to hang out at home with the family. We are raising two pure breed miniature schnauzers. Who are show dogs and will have puppies. This was all of my creation because I feared having an empty nest. But now it’s seems the more the merrier! Of course, our noisy home life has some great background music playing most of the time!

“To love another person, is to see the face of God.” Jean Valjean, Les Misérables

 

Rebecca French
Rebecca French
Sales Counselor

Rebecca is a proud native to the area, born and raised in Fort Myers, Florida.

She graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications; It was there she developed a passion for helping and working with people. Rebecca strives in a fast-paced and positive work environment, spending her time outside of amavida in the Florida Keys. She previously worked in the senior living industry as a move-in coordinator at another community and currently serves as a Sales Counselor for the amavida team.

What amavida means to me..."I am so blessed to work with such an incredible and passionate team. Our amavida team prides ourselves on building a work environment that is not only successful, but celebrates everyone’s accomplishments."

 

 

 

 
Jamie Johnston
Jamie Johnston
Sales Counselor

A Wisconsin native, Jamie & her husband moved to SWFL in 2013. Her career kicked off in 2004 with Manpower International Staffing. It was there where she discovered her passion, helping secure career opportunities for new graduates to seasoned professionals. Jamie was heavily involved in Junior Achievement and Chamber of commerce. She also took Gold, Bronze, and Silver award for playing an instrumental role in driving record-high sales! That means she put a lot of people back to work!

Shortly after arriving in the Sunshine state, Jamie began a new career in Senior Wealth Management with a focus on asset protection and fiduciary portfolio management, where her dedication to her clients shined bright!

Jamie has transitioned into Luxury Senior Living where all of her combined experience and passion allow her to continue to provide platinum service and sincere dedication to helping seniors “right-size” into their new homes and providing an abundant amount of support and resources for the next chapter in life.

“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.” - Paul Brandt

 

Shannon Thomas
Shannon Thomas
Director of People Services

Shannon Thomas was born and raised in Dayton, OH. She moved to Florida in 2005 and began her career in Human Resources. She has worked in various capacities of HR to include payroll, benefits and employee relations. Shannon began working in the Senior Living environment in 2014, where she truly developed a passion for helping people. She is married and has one son and one step-daughter. She loves to travel and explore different areas of the world. At amavida, her goal is to recruit and retain an amazing team of individuals that best represent what amavida stands for. This involves individuals that love coming to work each day and truly enjoy what they do, while providing the best care to residents and families.

“Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don’t give up hope. Be open to criticism and keep learning. Surround yourself with happy, warm and genuine people.” - Tena Desae

 

 

 

 

Morgan Clayman
Morgan Clayman
Lifestyle Director

Prior to calling Southwest Florida home, Morgan Clayman spent time living in New York, the US Virgin Islands, South Carolina and Washington, DC. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina in 2012 and went on to work in the fields of marketing and events. Morgan was inspired to begin working in the senior living industry following her experience with finding the perfect senior community for her own grandmother and has been striving to create an exceptional and fulfilling lifestyle for seniors ever since. She has held lifestyle management positions for Independent and Assisted Living residents at two other senior living communities. Outside of work, Morgan spends her time reading, writing, baking, playing guitar and spending time with her family.

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." – C.S. Lewis

 
 
 
 
Joshua Cook
Joshua Cook
Food and Beverage Director

With over 20 years of Food and Beverage experience, Joshua brings experience to amavida in nearly every way imaginable. Combining a tenacious work ethic with an endless culinary and professional curiosity, Joshua has proven to be a tremendous asset to various companies from the very beginning. Beginning his career path in Rhode Island, Joshua was offered a Sous-Chef position in Naples, Florida in 2004. Since relocating, Joshua has held positions as Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director. He has successfully improved financials, staff development skills, along with client satisfaction.

Joshua is excited to have recently joined the amavida management team which is a team full of energy and excitement that brings only the best to the community. Joshua is thrilled to be heading up the Food and Beverage department where his goal to is make dining at amavida like no other place. With multiple dining venues, expansive menus, and the culinary freedom to explore and learn, he plans to make every dining experience a meal to remember.

"When you acknowledge, as you must that there is no such thing as perfect food, only the idea of it, then the real purpose of striving towards perfection comes clear; to make people happy." – Thomas Keller

 
Ken McNeal
Ken McNeal
Facilities Director

Ken grew up in Ohio and moved to Florida after serving in the Air Force. He worked for a major airline for a few years and then found his passion in senior living when we went to work for a CCRC in Naples. Ken spent 24 years at that community working his way up to Facilities Supervisor.

Ken loves to ride his motorcycle, which you will sometimes see him cruising into work on! He also enjoys fishing in his free time.

“Working for amavida I have the sense of a family-oriented team that works together and has fun doing it! I’m amazed by the team leadership and look forward to seeing the completed project!”

 

 

 

 

 
Adriana Almeida
Adriana Almeida
Director of Housekeeping

Adriana is the Housekeeping Supervisor and manages a team of 15 housekeeping professionals. She is from Bogota, Colombia in South America. Adriana is married and has a beautiful Cocker Spaniel named Jesse. Her favorite pastimes are traveling the world and reading.

“There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” - Nelson Mandela

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Cruikshank
Catherine Cruikshank
Director, The Meadows

Catherine Cruikshank has come to Amavida Living to expand the new memory care environment known as “The Meadows”, and to enhance services for residents throughout the community who may be experiencing memory issues. With more than two decades of experience in the field of dementia, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise.

Catherine Cruikshank has a MA in Geriatric Administration with a dissertation on Elder Abuse and Neglect. Her Doctoral studies in Gerontology focus on Alzheimer’s disease with an interest in behaviors and family dynamics. For more than a decade she has committed herself to a psycho-sociological approach when working with individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). In addition to her research and program developments, she has authored a training manual for understanding and reacting to challenging behaviors, which has been used by facilities across the nation. She has spoken at numerous national and international conferences and has been published in the Journal of Gerontechnology.

Catherine Cruikshank was the Director of Education for the Alzheimer’s Association-Florida Gulf Coast Chapter since June 2009. Prior to that, she was the Regional Program director since January 2006. Cruikshank joined the Alzheimer’s Association, FGCC in August 2004 as a Program Specialist for Lee and Collier Counties. Previously, she directed a Memory Unit in Naples, Florida and was the South Florida Dementia Educator for the same Corporation. Catherine Cruikshank has authored, renewed, and is certified to provide the Assisted Living Facility level 1 & 2; Skilled Nursing Facility; Hospice; Adult Day Care and Home Health Care Florida State mandated curriculums. Additionally, she is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and an educator with the National Task Group for developmentally disabled populations. Catherine also holds certification in: Helping Relationships and Therapeutic Alliances and Psychological Appraisal and Assessment.

 

Katherine Martinez
Katherine Martinez
Lifestyle Director of Assisted Living

Katherine has 11 years of experience working with the senior population. Katherine followed her passion to make a difference in people’s life. She loves being able to plan and schedule activities that bring joy, build connection between residents, and create fun. Katherine is perusing her Bachelor’s degree in psychology. Katherine has 2 children, loves to travel, enjoys playing musical instruments, and singing with her children. Katherine enjoys spending quality of time with friends and family.

“For me, it is an honor to bring happiness, joy, and create new memories for our residents every day.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.amavidaliving.com/sites/default/files/_MG_4385_option2.jpg