McKnight's Women of Distinction 2021 logo

More than a dozen up-and-coming women who have shown an exceptional commitment to the senior living and care industry across the United States are being honored as Rising Stars in the 2021 McKnight’s Women of Distinction awards program.

McKnight’s unveiled the 2021 class of Rising Stars on Wednesday. It features 17 winners, representing a variety of leadership titles in organizations big and small around the country. The category honors women who are either 40 or younger, or have fewer than 15 years of experience in the senior living or skilled nursing fields. 

Rising Stars Class of 2021 

Kara Abdala, Corporate Director of Marketing, Harrison Senior Living, East Fallowfield, PA

Jiane Bassi, Associate Executive Director, Covenant Living of Turlock, Turlock, CA

Jaime Brady, Vice President of Clinical Operations, Villa Healthcare, Lincolnwood, IL

Hemwattie “Hemi” Clough, Administrator, Williston Care Center, Williston, FL

Josiane Dusabe, Director of Clinical Excellence, Vincentian Collaborative System, Pittsburgh

Amanda Elliott, Corporate Operations Director, Life Care Services, Savannah, GA

Jodi Eyigor, Director of Nursing Home Quality and Policy, LeadingAge, Washington, D.C.

Michelle Feng, Chief Clinical Officer, Executive Mental Health, Los Angeles

Kristin Harris, Vice President of Operations, Nye Health Services, Fremont, NE

Marissa Harth, Vice President of Clinical and Reimbursement Services, Summit LTC Management, Fort Worth, TX

Marissa Kalama, National Director of Admissions and Villa Referral Management, Villa Healthcare, Lincolnwood, IL

Kendra King-Smith, Executive Director, Duncanville Healthcare & Rehabilitation, Duncanville, TX

Marcy McNeal, Administrator, Sunrise Hill Care Center, Traer, IA

Jana Pauldin, Vice President, Membership and Chapter Relations, American College of Health Care Administrators, Washington, D.C.

Renee Porter, Administrator, Mount St. Scholastica Benedictine Order of Sisters-Dooley Center, Atchison, KS

Tina Sadarangani, ANP-C, GNP-BC, Ph.D., RN, Assistant Professor, New York University, New York, NY

Nadia Williams, Healthcare Administrator, Park Springs, Stone Mountain, GA

McKnight’s Long-Term Care News will announce the 2021 winners in the Veteran VIP and Hall of Honor categories in Thursday’s and Friday’s Daily Update, respectively. The 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award winner will be announced in early March. 

All of this year’s honorees will be feted in a special online ceremony recognizing each individual with a video presentation, as well as print and online news coverage. The ceremony will take place the evening of May 18. Once again, the next day will feature a special McKnight’s educational forum for all professionals in the skilled nursing and senior living industries. Top leaders will speak at three CE-earning educational webinars.

To see coverage of past McKnight’s Women of Distinction events and to keep up to date on the latest details about this year’s ceremony and forum, visit the McKnight’s WOD subtab under the “Events” pulldown menu at

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