The Future is Now!

2023 Fall Conference

October 3-5, 2023
Benton Convention Center, Winston-Salem, NC

The Future is NOW!

We can’t wait to see YOU at the conference this year! The 2023 NCALA Fall Conference and Trade Show will be one to remember with interesting topics and dynamic speakers! As always, it will include networking opportunities and time to unwind with friends. Participate in our prize drawings and raffle, for a chance to take home some extra cash or to win an item.

  • 14 hours of eligible Continuing Education- applicable for all NC Assisted Living Administrators and NC Family Care Home Administrators. NCALA is in the process of applying for credit approval through other boards and associations.
  • Refund Policy: We would hate for you to miss this conference, but if you must, cancellations and request for refunds must be received by September 20, 2023. Substitutions can be made. Cancellations and substitutions should be submitted via email to
  • **Please note that there will not be a virtual or recorded option offered this year. This event is in-person only.
  • DSS and Ombudsmen may register for free; however, you will need to call (919-467-2486) or email to register, rather than using the online registration form.

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Our 2023 Speakers

Pete Smith

President, SmithImpact
Read Bio

Stroke survivor and international speaker Pete Smith has helped individuals,  teams, and organizations improve their leadership and personal growth for 25 years.

He is the author of Dare to Matter, the #1 Best Seller in the Human Resources and Personnel Management Category, and the #2 Best Seller in the Business Motivation and Self-Improvement category.

Additionally, Pete is a Brand Ambassador for Sevaro Health, focusing on Stroke Survivor Recovery and Motivation.

Lastly, Pete is the Co-Founder and Owner of Matter More Coffee, a coffee shop located in Hampstead, NC. The GRAND OPENING was held on March 11, 2020, just two days before the world shut down. However, MMC continues to thrive. By owning two businesses, SmithImpact and Matter More Coffee, Pete’s content is both practical and inspirational. (

From his early days of disappointing his parents by not pursuing law school, to excelling in various roles in education, sales, construction, and athletics, as well as his brief encounter with a near death experience (survived a stroke), Pete’s presentations are packed with humor, relevant and engaging stories, and practical application that the audience will love.

Dr. Arshia Khan

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Univ. of Minn., Duluth
Read Bio

Dr. Khan’s research is working towards robot automation in the areas of navigation, facial recognition, sentiment classification, verbal communication, and social interactions. Her research, which combines her computer science and engineering skills with medicine and patient care, offers promising solutions to chronic neurodegenerative problems. Dr. Khan is passionate about encouraging women in computing and chairs the Women in Computing committee.

Laura Ellen Christian

Vice President, Client Engagement, AGE-u-cate Training Institute
Read Bio

She has worked in the aging services industry for the past 18 years. Serving as Senior Vice President of Engagement and Dementia Training, she has implemented AGE-u-cate Training Institute programs at over 40 communities and used them routinely in staff training and skills coaching at senior living communities with staff, family members and the community at large. Now working for AGE-u-cate, I have extensive “real life” knowledge of leveraging experiential training combined with existing training resources. She also active as a board member for Dementia Action Alliance.

Aimee Kepler

Regional LTC Ombudsman
Read Bio

Aimee Kepler works at Triangle J Council of Governments/Area Agency on Aging a Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman with 33 years of experience in senior care and support.  She advocates on behalf of long-term care facility residents to uphold their rights and address quality of care and quality of life issues through information, education, and mediation.  She also monitors the implementation of federal, state and local laws governing long-term care facilities and works to educate others on long term care issues and elder abuse prevention, detection and reporting requirements.  Prior to this role, Aimee served as the executive director of an assisted living community, and an assisted living director at a continuing care retirement community.

Jill J. Johnson, MBA

President & Founder, Johnson Consulting Services
Read Bio

Jill J. Johnson, MBA, is the President and Founder of Johnson Consulting Services, a management consulting firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jill helps clients make critical business decisions and develop strategies for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has influenced more than $4 billion worth of business decisions. She has a proven track record in dealing with complex business issues and getting results. Jill’s clients encompass the entire continuum of senior services including CCRCs, active adult, independent living, assisted living, memory care, and long-term care facilities.

Jill is the author of the award-winning book Market Forces: Strategic Trends Impacting Senior Living Providers. She speaks frequently for industry associations and private client leadership events. She has won numerous honors for her business acumen and entrepreneurial successes. She has also been inducted into two Business Halls of Fame.

John Dailey

VP of Employee Exp, Principal LTC
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John D. Dailey has 25 years of experience working in post-acute care. Licensed as a nursing home administrator in 1999, John spent several years serving as Vice President of Human Resources overseeing all HR functions for PMD Corporation, a senior-living company. John is a certified healthcare compliance officer with experience in healthcare operations. Currently, he serves as Vice President of Employee Experience at Principle LTC, a multi-state healthcare company with 4,500 employees. He holds certifications as an HR Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and healthcare compliance (CHC). He has presented at both state and national conferences. He also has served for the past decade as the Master of Ceremonies for the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities/Kentucky Center for Assisted Living annual Quality Awards gala highlighting the state’s facilities and dedicated staff members.

Sabrena Lea

Deputy Director, NC Medicaid, LTSS, NC Department of Health and Human Services
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Sabrena Lea is credentialed as Specialist in Gerontology and has a thirty-year career that includes professional responsibilities in human services, public administration, and long-term care. She is employed in NC Department of Health and Human Services/Division of Health Benefits in Raleigh, NC as Deputy Director for Long Term Services and Supports. This position serves as the Senior Medicaid Administrator for the state’s long-term services and supports programs and associated contracts totaling approximately $3.5 billion dollars. The LTSS portfolio includes Medicaid Direct and Managed Care services and supports. These programs include CAP/DA, CAP/C Waivers, State Plan Personal Care Services, Home Health, Hospice, and Home Infusion Therapy, Private Duty Nursing (Pediatric and Children); HIV Case Management, Nursing Home, Gero-psychiatric facilities, the Dual Special Needs Program (D-SNP), and the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).

Recognized for her expertise in Medicaid policy and applied Gerontology, Lea has been invited to serve as panelist and keynote presenter in conferences across the nation. Since joining DHHS in 2007, she has served as Principal Investigator and Project Director for several federal grant initiatives aimed at improving health care access, system transformation, and addressing social determinants to health. Ms. Lea has published articles, reports, and professional resources about issues related to aging and older adults. She received a 2010 “Change Agent” Leadership Award presented by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce for her work as an advocate for older adults throughout the Piedmont Triad Region and state. She was honored to be a 2020 John R. Larkin Award nominee, which annually recognizes a state employee who exemplifies commitment to equality and justice in the workplace and improving local communities through volunteerism and community service. Lea is a 2021 Governor’s Awards for Excellence nominee for her and her team work on the LTSS Covid mitigation strategy.

Lea has earned degrees in Biology from Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia and Gerontology from Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Virginia; pursued a Master of Arts in Christian Counseling at GordonConwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina and completed post graduate studies in Leading and Managing Change at UNC-Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School and is certified in Agile Project Management. Lea currently serves as Co-Chair of the Division’s Strategic Business Operations CrossFunctional Team and serves as Vice Chairperson of the Division’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council.

In her spare time, she is a community volunteer working with the homeless community, and older adults. She enjoys traveling, entertaining friends and family in her home; Sabrena Lea is an ordained minister and serves as an Associate Pastor at the historic Providence Baptist Church in Greensboro where she leads the Communication/Technology Ministry, teaches Sunday School, and Spiritual Formation for new members

Kyle Loeber

Manager, Public Policy, Argentum
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Kyle Loeber is the Manager of Public Policy at Argentum, the largest national association representing senior living communities. Loeber oversees direct outreach to the United States Congress and grassroots advocacy efforts securing policies that improve access to senior living communities across the country. This work has produced several federal milestones including the introduction of the SENIOR Act, the first bipartisan legislation that invests in senior living communities, and the expansion of the Congressional 21st Century Long-Term Care Caucus, which educates lawmakers on the issues facing America’s seniors and their caregivers each day.

Loeber was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina and graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Megan Lamphere, MSW

Section Chief, DHSR, Adult Care Licensure Section
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Megan Lamphere is the Section Chief of the N.C. Division of Health Service Regulation Adult Care Licensure Section.  She has served in the Division since 2008 in various capacities including Assistant Chief of the Health Care Personnel Registry Investigations Branch, Rulemaking Coordinator for the Division, N.C. Medical Care Commission, and the N.C. Radiation Protection Commission, and as a Facility Survey Consultant with ACLS. With ACLS she was also responsible for the implementation of the North Carolina Star Rated Certificate program for adult care homes. Prior to working in state government Megan worked in several facets of NC’s long term care industry including nursing homes, CCRC’s and home health.  Megan graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Social Work and East Carolina University with a Master of Social Work and Graduate Certificate in Gerontology.  She is also a N.C. Certified Assisted Living Administrator.

Victor Orija

State Long Term Care Ombudsman, Division of Aging and Adult Services, NCDHHS
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Victor Orija joined the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services in January 2015 as the Ombudsman Program Specialist. Effective June 2016, he became NC’s State Long-Term Care Ombudsman (SLTCO). The Ombudsman Program advocates for about 90,000 residents who live in NC’s long-term care facilities.

Between 2002 and 2015, Victor worked with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (State Unit on Aging) in various capacities which included contract management, nursing home transition/systems change grant, Senior Medicare Patrol, Legal Services Developer, and the last 9 years as the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. He started his career in the chemical industry and worked in in Delaware, North & South Carolina, and Virginia.

Victor is a past recipient of the Golden Apple Award from Quality Insights of Delaware (QIO), the Advocacy Award from Delaware’s Health Care Facilities Association, and the Sharon Wilder Advocacy Award from NC’s Friends of Residents. Victor is an active member of the National Association of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs (NASOP) and past Regional Director, Treasurer, and 1st Vice President of NASOP.

Victor has an MPA from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, and a BS degree from the University of Delaware. Also, he attended John Marshall Law School, Atlanta, GA.

Rebecca Adelman, Esq.

Founder, Adelman Law Firm and Claims Management
Read Bio

Rebecca Adelman is a lawyer, entrepreneur, influencer and thought leader in healthcare, senior living and risk management. In 2001, Ms. Adelman founded Adelman Law Firm and Claims Management. The all women firm is a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and Tennessee Certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE). For over 30 years, Rebecca has concentrated her practice in healthcare, insurance defense, employment and business litigation. She is also an arbitrator for the American Health Lawyers Association.

Ms. Adelman’s practice includes representation of insurance companies and long‐ term care providers and their insurers, both regionally and nationally. The firm provides claims management services to senior living insurance companies and created the PRISM proactive claims model focused on offensive strategies to claims and risk mitigation.

In 2022, the firm was awarded the coveted first place by the Aspect Marketing & Advertising Awards for its client newsletter, Exhibit (A)delman, in the category of multimedia campaign. The firm was built on the client-centric experience.

Also in 2021, Ms. Adelman founded Guide Path, LLC, an Expectations and Risk Management Certification Program created for resident, family and provider engagement to mitigate risk, improve quality of care and regulatory compliance. Guide Path, the new standard of excellence for senior living certification, delivers a paradigm shift in the way senior living care providers understand, establish, and manage resident and family expectations in assisted living and skilled nursing communities along the continuum of care.

Her transformational and empathic leadership style is founded on “Work-Life Being” and “Unique Abilities” in the framework of empathic responses creating a fundamental cultural shift where everyone feels empowered and accountable.  Ms. Adelman is a national speaker on a multitude of subjects including women in business and in the law, culture change in senior living, expectations management in healthcare, risk mitigation and “Work-Life Being.”

Fun Facts: She is an NBA Certified Player Agent. She is fluent in French.

James A. Harrell

Lobbyist, Bode & Harrell, LLP
Read Bio

James Andrew “Jim” Harrell, III is a lobbyist with Bode & Harrell, LLP in Raleigh. He served three terms as a Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly representing the state’s ninetieth House district, including constituents in Alleghany and Surry counties. In 2014 he was named the 8th most powerful active lobbyist in the state legislature. He has represented RELANC since its inception in 2011.

Harrell, an Eagle Scout and native of Elkin, NC, is a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College and the Emory University School of Law. While a law student, Harrell worked for the DistrictAttorney’s office in Fulton County, Georgia. He also served as a law clerk for North Carolina Supreme Court justice Franklin Freeman.

Harrell was elected to the NC House in 2002 and re-elected in 2004. He was elected to a third term with over 60 percent of the vote. During his final term, the 2007-2008 session, Harrell was chairman of both the House committees on Ways and Means and on Pensions and Retirement. He served as chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources committee in his second term and of Judiciary Committee II in the second half of his first term. Harrell also chaired or co-chaired select committees on Economic Development and on the rural economy in 2006.

He currently serves as a board member for the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus Foundation and serves on the board of visitors for Appalachian State University. He is a past board member of the Old Hickory Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and a member and Sunday school teacher for White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh.

Conference Sessions

14 total NC DHSR Continuing Education Credits available

This nursing continuing professional development activity was approved by the North Carolina Nurses Association, an  accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.
IAA #9500 10.5 Contact Hours

The National Continuing Education Review Service (NCERS) of the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB) has approved this program (A94683) for 10.5 participant hours.

Select the day below to see the schedule for that day.
Tuesday, Oct 3
Wednesday, Oct 4
Thursday, Oct 5
12:00 pm
1:30 pm

General Session: Welcome and Opening Keynote

Location Assignment: Salem 2

Session Title: Daring to Matter

Presenter: Pete Smith

Session Description & Outcomes:

In a post-pandemic world, perhaps what should be embodied the most is the flexibility of the Willow, not just the strength of the Oak. Resolve over rigidity.

Labor shortages; Escalating medical care costs; Difficult residents and their families; Shifting mandates; Leadership voids. How do we stay grounded in what we value (meeting the needs of our seniors) while adapting to this new frontier?

It’s easy to become discouraged when facing the never-ending stream of obstacles in senior care. Common feelings of being overworked, overwhelmed, and burned out reside in us, taking their toll mentally, emotionally, and physically. Yet it’s precisely in these moments when those we have chosen to serve need us more than ever, and it’s this refocused purpose that has us continue to strive to make a positive impact in the lives of others. So how do we do it?

To strategically move ahead, we first need to reevaluate the foundation on which we stand. Decisions that affect our current and future situation can’t be based on feeling but, rather, on our identity. It requires that we spend our time not focused on what should or should not be but, instead, on what is and what can be. It begs us to let go of the past in order to create a better tomorrow. Ultimately, it yearns for us to remember that what exists at the core of every individual and organization is a deep desire to know with certainty that who we are and what we do matters. How we matter may have changed. That we matter has not. It’s time for us to Matter More.

1:45 pm
3:15 pm

General Session

Location Assignment: Salem 2

Session Title: State and Legislative Industry Update

Special guests include representatives from NCDHHS, Jim Harrell, NCALA Lobbyist and Kyle Loeber, Manager, Public Policy, Argentum

3:30 pm
5:00 pm

General Session

Location Assignment: Salem 2

Session Title: Robotics in Senior Care

Presenter: Dr. Arshia Khan and Pepper (Robot)

Session Description & Outcomes:

Dr. Khan’s research efforts are directed at growing the new emerging field of human-robot interactions and autonomous behavior, specifically, in the areas of AI, neuroscience, and robotic assistive technology in combination with sensors. She is currently conducting groundbreaking research in the area of humanoid robot deployment in nursing homes to improve the quality of life for residents.

Additionally, she is working towards robot automation to render and enhance the delivery of care in persons affected with Alzheimer’s and related dementia. In recent months, research interests have evolved into robotic assistive technology in medication management and in exploring the use of robots in identifying and predicting wandering behavior among individuals with dementia.

  • Explore opportunities to improve resident outcomes and address resident quality of life through proactive technology.
  • Discuss how technology can be used to perform repetitive mundane tasks to allow staff to focus on more important work.
  • Examine case studies of successful technology deployment in the aging services sector.

5:00 pm
6:30 pm

Opening Reception (Exhibitors and Attendees)

Location assignment: Salem Foyer (Upstairs)

Networking, Platinum Sponsor Education Fair, and Silent Auction benefiting the NCALA PAC!

Beer, wine, soft drinks, and water available (for purchase or use drink tickets) and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Have a snack or a meal! Then, hit the town with clients, peers, and friends for other events or dinner.

8:30 am
10:00 am

Breakout Session #1 (REPEATING- 10:30 am – 12:00 pm)

Location Assignment: Piedmont 1

Session Title: Compassion Culture: Building Blocks to Unleashing Innovation and Productivity

Presenter: Laura Ellen Christian, Vice President, Client Engagement, AGE-u-cate Training Institute and Jessica Smith

Session Description and Objectives: All leaders are not created equal. Learn how building MORALE can increase productivity within teams and unleash innovation for organizations.  Attendees will explore what MORALE stands for through the lens of Compassionate Leadership.  This interactive session will include a taste of experiential learning and examples of skill-building that empower people, change attitudes, and drive action.  Attendees will leave with tools and resources to support a culture of compassion within their organizations.

  • Define Compassionate Leadership and identify 6 steps to growing as a compassionate leader
Inside the Trade Show: Dementia Live® is a high impact, dementia simulation experience that immerses participants into life with dementia, resulting in a deeper understanding of what it’s like to live with cognitive impairment and sensory change.
8:30 am
10:00 am

Breakout Session #2 (REPEATING- 10:30 am- 12:00 pm)

Location Assignment: Piedmont 2

Session Title: Market Forces: Strategic Trends Impacting Senior Living Providers

Presenter: Jill J. Johnson, MBA, President, Johnson Consulting Services

Session Description & Outcomes: Despite the anticipated “Senior Tsunami” in population emerging across the nation, success in the senior living industry is not guaranteed. We are now in a period where significant external market forces are shifting your organizational future and long-term potential for success. In this thought-provoking breakout session, management consultant Jill Johnson discusses the nine market forces that will impact on-going success in an industry over-saturated with competition and complexity. She will share insights on how these key trends influence the industry and the implications they may have on your occupancy, operations, programming, and desirability of your site. She will also highlight the indispensable value of accurate market intelligence in considering your strategic choices. In this breakout, attendees will:

  • Understand the different types of market forces.
  • Learn how these market forces impact your potential for success.
  • Use demographic information to better evaluate strategic choices.
  • Hear a timely update on emerging trends in senior living.
12:00 pm
1:30 pm

Hero Awards Luncheon (Exhibitors and Attendees)

Location Assignment: Salem Ballroom (Upstairs)

Program: Board and Preceptor Recognition, Sponsor Recognition, and special guests. Hero Awards Presentation.

1:30 pm
4:00 pm

Trade Show and Education Quad

Location assignment(s): Piedmont 4 (Downstairs)

Program: Bars will open 3:15 pm (beer, wine, soft drinks, water available for purchase or use drink tickets), light hors d’oeuvres in center aisle, 3:30 pm- Exhibitors may begin contacting booth prize winners, 3:45 pm–(2) 500.00 cash giveaways, TS booth contest winner announced, PAC $100.00 ticket winner chosen, Education Raffle item winners announced. GOAT Trophy Presentation.

(3 total repeating breakouts -2 repeating - attendees will choose two)
9:00 am
10:30 am

Breakout Session #3 (REPEATING- 10:45 am -12:15 pm)

Location Assignment: Salem 3

Session Title: Resident and Family Expectations Management: Risk Mitigation and Process Improvement for Assisted Living 

Presenter: Rebecca Adelman, Esq. and Gina Barker

Session Description & Outcomes:

This program will explore and provide resources and best practices for setting and managing resident and family expectations in your assisted living community. Unrealistic expectations, unmet needs and diverse pre-admission experiences are risk and claim drivers.  Improving the quality of care through family partnerships in caregiving also supports person-centered care.  Best practices and tools shared in this program include the Resident and Family Insight Survey used to obtain information about key areas such as communication, family systems and goals of care. The program will also present education, training and implementation topics for the facility staff that can change the culture, improve quality of care, family engagement and reduce losses. We will discuss how to open the gates to difficult conversations, such as the resident’s wishes regarding care, their prognosis, and future care or end-of-life conversations. Properly educating staff and families about expectations through best practices will result in improved quality of care, family satisfaction, staff retention, increased resources, and reduced risk and liability. Objectives include:

Create customized risk management solutions through a formal program beginning at admission to reduce risk factors based on unmet expectations

Develop training for effective family/patient communication

Prepare protocols for managing the ongoing process of discussion and complete documentation

9:00 am
10:30 am

Breakout Session #2 (REPEATING- 10:45 am -12:15 pm)

Location Assignment: Salem 2

Session Title: Supervision 101: Don’t Be A Jerk

Presenter: John Dailey, Vice President Employee Experience, Principle LTC

Session Description and Outcomes:

What is one of the top reasons people often give for leaving their job? They don’t like their supervisor. This session will focus on one of the most needed skills in senior living today: how to supervise others. Employees in the post-acute care world are often promoted to a supervisory level position without any supervisory training. The assumption is that if they are a good employee, they will make a good supervisor. For many, effective supervisory skills are not innate; they must be taught. This session will give practical tips for all supervisors – from the CEO to department managers – about understanding themselves, understanding their employees, and what supervision really means. In this highly competitive labor market, good supervisory skills are vital in retaining good employees. Employers who embrace, teach, and expect good supervisory skills from all managers will have increased staff satisfaction, retention, and quality of care. This session will give new perspective to the increasingly important issue of how to supervise in today’s workplace. You will walk away with fresh insights about yourself and your employees, and a basic plan you can implement.

9:00 am
10:30 am

Breakout Session #1 (REPEATING- 10:45 am-12:15 pm)

Location Assignment: Salem 1

Session Title: Long Term Care Resident Case Scenarios

Presenter: Aimee Kepler, Regional LTC Ombudsman

Session Description & Outcomes: Residents in long term care may ask for ombudsman assistance when they feel their rights are not being upheld. This presentation will highlight common case scenarios and offer information and insight for better residents’ rights practices and outcomes when experiencing a challenging situation within your community.

Attendees will gain better insights regarding residents’ rights practices for residents in your communities.


Location, Lodging & Reservations

Below you will find a map of downtown Winston-Salem and information on hotels and group rates, including reservation links.

Location in Winston-Salem

Benton Convention Center
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Phone: (336) 727-2976

Lodging & Reservations

PLEASE NOTE: Book by September 5, 2023 to receive group rate. If you call hotels directly, be sure to ask for the NCALA group rate! Do not wait! Rooms sell out quickly!
$169 per night
Group rate
Directions >
$193 per night
Group rate
Directions >

2023 Sponsors

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