McKnight’s today unveiled the 2020 class of Rising Stars, an impressive group of up-and-coming women who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to senior housing and care across the United States. The Rising Stars are part of McKnight’s Women of Distinction awards program. 

“To say the least, this is a well-deserved honor,” said John O’Connor, vice president, associate publisher and editorial director of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Senior Living. “Those who are recognized faced stiff competition from some extremely talented peers across the United States.” 

The Rising Stars category honors women who are either 40 or younger, or have fewer than 15 years of experience in the senior living or post-acute care fields. 

Hall of Honor award recipients will be announced Thursday, followed by the announcement of the Lifetime Achievement Award honoree. The Hall of Honor category recognizes 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. 

The awards program received several hundred nominations for Rising Stars and Hall of Honor inductees, making the selection process by a national, independent panel of judges extremely competitive.

All of this year’s honorees will be feted at a May 7 dinner in Chicago, which will be followed by the McKnight’s Women of Distinction Forum the next morning with a keynote presentation and continuing education sessions. Both the awards ceremony and forum are open to senior living and care professionals and friends, either as a package or as individuals events to attend.

PointClickCare is the Diamond sponsor of this year’s event, and OnShift and PharMerica are Silver sponsors.

To learn more, visit for ticket and other information. Those with questions about the event should contact Adele Durham at [email protected].

Rising Stars Class of 2020:

Dina Besirevic, Regional Clinical Reimbursement Consultant, Villa Healthcare, Skokie, IL

Hayley Boutte, Administrator, Maison Teche Nursing Center, Jeanerette, LA

Kate Catizone, Director of Clinical Applications, Villa Healthcare, Skokie, IL

Robyn Childs, Regional Sales Director, Koelsch Communities, Salt Lake City

Shilpi Chona, Regional Administrator, Legacy Healthcare, Skokie, IL

Erika Gennari, Director of Marketing and Communications, Commonwealth Senior Living, Charlottesville, VA

Audra Gutierrez-Ritari, Administrator, View Ridge Care Center, Everett, WA

Alicia Hartnett, Director of Healthcare and Assisted Living, Lutheran Village at Miller’s Grant, Ellicott City, MD

Jodi Hill, Vice President of Business Strategy, Senior Lifestyle, Chicago

Heather Hudson, Administrator, Prescott Nursing and Rehab, Prescott, AZ

Raven Jackson, Administrator, Suwanee Health & Rehabilitation Center, Live Oak, FL

Mandy Lynch, President and CEO, Providence Health Care, Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

Jennifer Mack, Regional Director of Operations, Nightingale Healthcare, Bellingham, WA

Pamela Maloney, Director of Marketing and Technology, Senior Living Residences, Braintree, MA

Ahkira McPherson, Staff Development Manager, Vi at Lakeside Village, Lantana, FL

Kelly Ornberg, Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Sales, Summit Vista, Taylorsville, UT

Stephanie Popp, Administrator, Alden Estates of Shorewood, Shorewood, IL

Jaclyn Pritchett, Vice President, Human Resources – Field Operations, Brookdale Senior Living, Brentwood, TN

Sarah Randolph, Executive Director, Bridge Haven Memory Care, Lawrence, KS

Amy Silva-Magalhaes, Senior Vice President of Community Operations, Maplewood Senior Living, Westport, CT

Melanie Washington, Executive Director, Whittier Place, Whittier, CA

Shannon Watson, Administrator, Forbes Road Personal Care, Pittsburgh