Kelly Niles-Yokum, MPA, PhD – Director of the Gerontology Master’s Program University of La Verne; President, California Council on Gerontology and Geriatric

Kelly Niles-Yokum, MPA, PhD – Dr. Kelly Niles-Yokum received her doctorate in gerontology with a concentration in aging policy from the University of MD, Baltimore County and her master’s in public administration with a specialty in gerontology from Portland State University. She is currently the Director of the Gerontology Master’s Program and an associate professor at the University of La Verne. She is currently the President of the California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics, the state association for aging in CA.  Dr. Niles-Yokum has been immersed in the field of gerontology for over 20 years and has experience working in a variety of settings and sectors including nonprofit, public, and higher education. Her research interests include older adults and end of life issues, ageism, the lived experience of programs and services, policy and aging, and gerontological education.

Susan Ostrowski, MA, MS, CCC-SLP – Speech-Language Pathologist; Co-Founder Reading2Connect

Susan Ostrowski, MA, MS, CCC-SLP – Susan Ostrowski has received two master’s degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University: one in Speech-Language Pathology and one in Remedial Reading.  Susan has a keen interest in older adults living with dementia.  The minimal resources available to older adults, and the all too common social isolation of this population, concern her deeply. Unconvinced that people living with memory challenges lose their ability to read, Susan began several years ago exploring the relationship between dementia and reading. Her field studies have revealed that the automatic skill to read lies dormant and untapped in many seniors’ minds.  With the help of a multi-disciplinary team, Susan developed a collection of adapted books, a methodology, and an organization (Reading2Connect) to bring reading back to older adults who struggle with reading typical books, newspapers, and magazines.

Esther Cardenas Pipoly – Owner & Founder Loss of Life Advocates, LLC

Esther Cardenas Pipoly – LOLA’s Founder and Owner, Esther Cardenas Pipoly grew up in San Antonio, Texas and has first-hand knowledge about losing a loved one. Having lost her father and husband just 63 days apart in 2014, Esther knew that her life-long career in insurance and personal life experiences were leading her to help others in the most difficult of times – death. She realized that the end of life is just the beginning—the beginning of what for her turned out to be three long years of battles, betrayals, and bravery. She created Loss of Life Advocates to serve as a light during one of the darkest times of life. With services that range from grief recovery consulting, guidance on vital document gathering, assistance in closing down estates or businesses, and employer and employee training and counseling, LOLA is a one-stop shop for those people preparing for or dealing with the loss of a loved one.  From losing her own job to closing out her husband’s law practice, battling with insurance companies, financial institutions and more, Cardenas unfortunately discovered that being in a vulnerable position allows people to take advantage of you. Rather than play the victim, Cardenas used those personal experiences, along with her 20+ years in the insurance business, to bring a unique approach to preparing for and dealing with loss. Esther has a B.A. from the University of Texas at San Antonio; is a Texas Licensed Agent in Health & Life; and a Certified Grief Recovery Support Specialist. […]

Dr. Jennifer Ramsey – Project Coordinator and Part-time Instructor UNCC Department of Psychology

Dr. Jennifer Ramsey – Jennifer has a Ph.D. in Lifespan Developmental Psychology from North Carolina State University. She is currently the project coordinator for the director of the Gerontology Program and a part-time instructor for the Department of Psychology at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Her research interests and background focus on providing the community with information and tools that will enable them to better understand and mitigate the effects of individual difference factors such as age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, education, stress and coping, and access to resources on health and well-being outcomes across the lifespan.

Peter Rosenberger – Caregiver; Radio Host of Hope for the Caregiver, syndicated to 200+ Stations

Peter Rosenberger – An exceptional voice of experience—for an unprecedented need. A thirty-year caregiver for his wife, Gracie, who lives with severe disabilities, Peter Rosenberger understands the caregiver’s journey.  His weekly show, HOPE FOR THE CAREGIVER, is syndicated on more than 200 stations. The Self-Defense of Caregivers An accomplished martial artist, Peter recently earned a 2nd Dan (degree) black-belt in Hapkido.  The martial art provides many self-defense life lessons that Peter incorporates into his show and speaking. In addition, Peter is the author of several books including, HOPE FOR THE CAREGIVER and 7 Caregiver Landmines and How You Can Avoid Them. A pianist for fifty years, Peter recently released his new CD, Songs for the Caregiver.   Peter and Gracie live in Nashville, TN, where he also serves and the president and co-founder of Standing With Hope.

Mandy Salomon, Ph.D. – Co-founder and CEO at MENTIA

Mandy Salomon, Ph.D. – Dr. Salomon is co-founder and CEO at MENTIA where they have developed Deva™, the world’s first dementia-friendly digital world. She builds creative digital therapies that support the well-being of people impacted by dementia and those that support them across the care continuum. She is a Ph.D. specialist in media and gerontology and has a rich history in creative production (producer, director, performer, documentary-maker, radio, television and print journalist). Other degrees include a B.A.(Drama & Visual Arts) and an M.A. (Media & Communication). She was an Industry Fellow at Swinburne University of Technology. She serves as an Alliance member, Aging 2.0. and is a member of Creative Aging San Francisco. She is passionate that aging populations have the tools to create, manage and share stories and believes it’s fundamental to the human condition.

Kate Schutt – Award-winning Songwriter, Singer, Guitarist; Tedx Speaker

Kate Schutt – Kate is an award-winning songwriter, singer, guitarist, and producer whose voice NPR calls “glassily clear and glossily sweet.” Kate studied the influence of jazz on poetry at Harvard, and studied jazz guitar at Berklee College of Music. Working with legendary producer/arranger Rob Mounsey, Kate just finished recording her new album, Bright Nowhere. It maps the landscape of loss around her mother’s diagnosis and death from ovarian cancer. Kate spent four years as her mom’s primary caregiver, along the way writing songs about life, loss, and (to use Christopher Hitchens’s potent phrase) “living dyingly.” Known for her authenticity and deep connection to her fans, Kate’s been blogging about this life/death experience from the start. Kate’s songs have won top honors from the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and ASCAP. After nearly a decade living and making music in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, she now calls New York City home. The talk, “A Grief Casserole – How to help your friends & family through loss,” was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. CONTACT:

Eileen Schwartz – Artist, Writer, Educator, Founder of Healing Art for Caregivers

Eileen Schwartz – Artist, Writer, Educator, Founder of Healing Art for Caregivers – Eileen Schwartz holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Art Institute of Chicago in painting and a Masters of Education from San Diego State University specializing in developmental disabilities. She’s a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) through NCCDP. Eileen’s career began in Chicago, Illinois where she taught art to seniors  in nursing homes and community centers. She moved to San Diego, CA in the 70’s where she developed creative art programs for adults with special needs.  She also taught creative literacy programs to adult immigrants. After the events of 9/11/2001, while in San Diego, Eileen founded and developed a non-profit, Flags Across The Nation to promote patriotism through the arts. She curated over 60 art exhibits and events in San Diego and Charlotte. NC. Most recently in Charlotte she spearheaded the creation of a local documentary, “Jewish American Soldiers, Stories from WWII.” Eileen relocated to Charlotte in 2004. From 2004 until 2016 Eileen was her mom’s full- time caregiver.  She had no idea what she was getting into. She knew she needed support and helped start a caregiver support group that lasted for nine years.  She became quite educated and a warrior for caregiver support.  She became quite familiar with healthcare services, providers and hospice. In Charlotte during the past six years, Eileen created art programs for adults with special needs, memory issues and developed free art classes for veterans of the USA. After her mom’s passing in 2016, Eileen focused her […]

Michelle Seitzer – Storyteller & Editor, Caregiving Content Expert, Elder Care Consultant

Michelle Seitzer – Michelle Seitzer launched Caregiving Advice in January 2019 after two decades of working with caregiving families from senior living communities, advocating for family caregivers through a policy position with the Alzheimer’s Association, helping her own family navigate stroke & dementia caregiving for her grandparents, writing thousands of articles about caregiving, and becoming the parent of a special needs child with complex medical issues. Through these life and work experiences, she’s found that what families and individuals need most — regardless of their age or stage of caregiving — is quite universal: They need advice. They need resources. They need help. They need hope. And they need it from someone who understands caregiving from all angles. Seitzer seeks to help professionals and families better understand the impact of caregiving and find a starting point through compassionate support and practical advice. Through a variety of consulting services, she also offers practical advice to small businesses and startups on effectively reaching their target caregiver audience.

Heywood Sloane, Principle DSG, co-founder of HealthStyles

Heywood Sloane – Heywood is co-founder of HealthStyles whose mission is to “help individuals and families meet the challenges of funding lifetime health care.” He is a national authority in the bank, securities and investment management businesses. He combines executive and line management experience in these industries with experience in the publishing and information industries to provide a unique global perspective. Mr. Sloane is a principal of DSG and GISHC.  He works with senior executives to develop strategic business initiatives, design products and services, and execute marketing and distribution plans at banking, investment, and insurance firms. Heywood has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Haverford College, and while studying under a John Boyer Scholarship, earned a Masters in Management from The London School of Economics. He has served on marketing and research committees of associations in the banking, mutual fund and financial planning industries. In addition he serves on the boards of both profit and non-profit corporations.