As Founder, CEO and Executive Consultant for Sage Age Strategies, Faith has more than 30 years of experience in senior living growth strategy, campus master planning, market research and program/service development. A recognized thought leader and highly sought speaker in the senior living space, she has worked in every facet of the senior living lifestyle continuum, including life care communities and CCRCs, assisted living and memory care communities, adult day centers, subacute and rehabilitation facilities, long-term care centers, hospice care providers and home care services.
Faith has successfully guided an extensive list of client-partners in both the for-profit and not-forprofit senior living sectors. Her considerable industry knowledge, experience and “customer first” attitude is illustrated by Sage Age’s large number of long-term clients. Organizations that have benefited from Faith’s exceptional vision and expertise include: Horizon Bay/Brookdale Senior Living, Brandywine Senior Care, Sunrise Senior Living, EPOCH Senior Living, Abe’s Garden®, Clarity Pointe™, Validus Senior Living™, Elderlife Financial Services, Life Choice Hospice, Pacifica Senior Living, Presbyterian Senior Living, Diakon Senior Living, Brightview Senior Living, Partners Pharmacy and Marriott Senior Living.
Faith has also developed strategic business plans for new programs and services for clients providing Alzheimer’s care, hospice care, adult day services, short-term rehabilitation and long-term care, cardiac care, wound care, orthopedic care and acute care. Additionally, she has worked on many new developments and campus-enhancement projects, and has been a key architect in helping to identify strong market opportunities and guiding clients in the successful implementation of market demand and feasibility studies, focus groups and campus master planning efforts.
Clients also turn to Faith for her ability to help troubled communities with low occupancy rates develop a corrective plan of action and achieve positive census growth through analysis of current market conditions, assessment of client product offerings and recommendations for product enhancement or the addition of campus programs and/or services.
Under her leadership, Sage Age has received numerous industry honors, including many Generations Awards for senior living marketing excellence, the LTC LINK Elite Supplier Award, Web Health Awards, a Telly Award and the National Mature Media Award for producing the best marketing strategy, communications, educational materials and programs for adults age 50 and older.
An active member of both LeadingAge™ and Argentum (formerly ALFA), Faith has a unique understanding of the dynamics of working with organizations and their not-for-profit boards. She currently is an active committee member of LeadingAge™ South Carolina and serves as a board member for Abe’s Garden®, a not-for-profit, research-based Alzheimer’s foundation associated with Vanderbilt University.
As President at Sage Age, Melinda works in close partnership with both our new and long-term clients to provide them with the strategic expertise and experience required to achieve sustained profitable growth.
In creating strong, lasting relationships, she supports our client-partners with her substantial consulting expertise in key business disciplines such as: strategic marketing, advertising and branding campaigns; new development and campus master planning; census assessment and enhancement; and sales oversight and best practices.
Melinda is a highly experienced and successful professional who has plied her trade in the senior living industry for nearly 15 years. During that time, she has progressed upwardly through several key management-level positions. Melinda possesses exceptional strategic consulting, customer service and marketing abilities, and has a proven record of accomplishment in successfully guiding client communities to increased occupancy and market growth.
Prior to joining the Sage Age team, Melinda held the position of Director of Strategy and Planning at Zillner, a highly respected national senior living consulting and marketing organization.
Today, in her executive leadership position with Sage Age, Melinda is responsible for: organizational performance assessments; the creation and execution of integrated strategic marketing plans; client branding and identity development; service excellence strategies; and operational and sales consulting services.
Melinda received her Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Marketing and Finance from the University of Missouri after completing the majority of coursework toward her Bachelor of Business Marketing and Finance degree from Texas Tech University.
On a personal note, Melinda is passionate about seniors on both a professional and personal level. She says, “Championing their cause has made my career path so rewarding.”
Sean Ochester is an influential, decisive, and insightful business leader who fuses technology expertise with strong business acumen to build highly productive operations and technical solutions while driving continuous innovation and profitable growth.
Skilled at spearheading and managing initiatives from the ground up and optimizing existing systems environments to create strategic and valuable enterprise processes, Sean is known throughout the industry for expanding operational and product capabilities, boosting market position and supporting growth objectives through strategy development and tactical implementation.
Prior to joining the Sage Age Team, Sean led a team of developers at Clickfarm, an interactive development agency with leading UX-driven design, where he evaluated market research and adjusted new technologies and business strategies to meet changing markets and competitive conditions. He also managed internal and external technology choices to ensure effectiveness and scalability.
Sean spent several years at Zillner. While at Zillner, he assembled and led high-performing business technology teams to build, test and monitor technology solutions, including design and production, online applications, process flow, development methodologies and development architecture. Sean regularly provided thought leadership to developers, customers and teams for digital and IT challenges in operational and technology platforms.
Sean’s professional background also includes leadership roles in a wide variety of industries including software development, management and training, automotive, environmental health and safety, and senior living/healthcare.
Sean enjoys bringing Innovation and technology to seniors and enjoys seeing the adoption of technology by this demographic. The new senior is helping Sean and his team develop the vision and strategy for the solutions employed to engage current and new customers and to establish new business models.
Our Vice President of Market Research, Malissa, joined Sage Age in 2005 as a Research Analyst, bringing a high level of market research expertise to the organization. Since then, Malissa has helped to grow our Market Research Department, developing Sage Age into the highly respected leader in senior living market feasibility and demand analysis efforts that it has become today.
Malissa is primarily responsible for completing valuable pre-market research and market analysis studies. Her expertise in consumer and market research, which includes survey research, focus groups, personal interviews and referral source assessments, helps to guide and sharpen our development of marketing strategy and subsequent messaging to achieve maximum results.
Malissa has primary responsibility for leading all market demand analysis efforts and related initiatives such as completing competitor analyses of the marketplace – functions that are all essential to making appropriate recommendations for new business development and expansion.
Malissa also assists with the development, creation and implementation of strategic marketing proposals and plans.
During her time as a key member of the Sage Age team, Malissa has been the primary or secondary consultant on over 50 successful new development and campus expansion market feasibility studies, competitive market analyses and market assessment projects, as well as campus master planning and focus group efforts.
Her organizational abilities and communication skills also enable her to be highly effective as a Project Manager at Sage Age. Malissa prides herself in developing strong relationships with Sage Age client-partners and is in continuous contact with them from the beginning of a project to the end, ensuring that the client remains involved in all necessary aspects of the process.
Malissa graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Management from Juniata College. She then went on to receive her MBA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
As Vice President of Consulting and a member of the Sage Age Executive Team, Deborah focuses on the progression of our sales consulting services as well as the evolution of our product and program development.
With her strong background in senior living sales and sales product/program development as a foundation, she developed GROW, Sage Age’s growth-focused and change-inspiring sales training program and virtual classroom – a proprietary program that has been met with great reviews and has delivered tremendous results. Deborah leads our team in creating fresh and innovative products, services and programs that enable Sage Age to support our clients’ sales efforts.
Deborah has a rich history in the senior living industry where she has achieved an impressive record of success at every level. Her twenty-five-year career has included Alzheimer's care management and training, administration in assisted living, CCRC sales, CCRC sales management, and sales and marketing consultation. A graduate of Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and English, Deborah went on to attain her master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Denver.
Fun Fact: “I have the same number of animals as I have children: 5! My very favorite place on earth is the Rocky Mountains, and my favorite meal is spaghetti and meatballs, which I could eat every single day.”
Deanna brings over 25 years of Operations and Business Development experience to the Sage Age team. Her extensive senior living experience includes post-acute healthcare, strategic growth, financial performance and establishing key business partnerships. Her experience as a senior living executive is vast and diverse and includes working with both for-profit and not-for-profit sectors of senior housing.
Throughout her career, Deanna has a proven record of success in leading organizations and building high-performance teams. She is highly impactful in exceeding metrics through business development strategies, identifying key areas of growth and innovative revenue streams.
Ziemba has a long working relationship with the Sage Age team. Before joining Sage Age, Deanna was the Senior Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships with Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries, a long-time client-partner of Sage Age. Working with the Sage Age team during her six-and-a-half-year tenure at Diakon, she increased net margin by 40% and influenced over $50 million of revenue growth. She left the organization at 95% occupancy. Diakon and Sage Age continue to have a strong partnership. Ziemba will continue a successful working relationship with Diakon through our continued partnership.
“Consistently dynamic” is the ideal phrase to describe the work of Rachel Fox, our Creative Director, and her talented team of professionals. In supporting the creative needs of our client-partners, Rachel oversees the work of our multiple award-winning design group and our team of exceptional writers.
In this capacity, she manages all production activities including directing photo shoots, copy writing, working closely with printers, supervising prepress work and conducting final press-proof inspections. Working closely with our consultants, project managers and support departments, Rachel ensures that each creative project meets or exceeds its stated objective. She has also helped develop systems and procedures for workflow that assure more timely completion of projects for our client-partners.
Working as a cohesive unit, Rachel and her team have been honored with numerous Generations Awards for marketing excellence in senior living. However, more important than any industry recognitions are the superior results they achieve that reflect our clients’ goals and represent their brands in a highly compelling and professional manner.
In her 20 years of experience in developing creative branding concepts and advertising campaigns, Rachel has worked on numerous national brands including John Deere®, Bombardier®, Air Jamaica Vacations® and the Las Vegas Institute® for Advanced Dental Studies’ “Extreme Makeover” campaign.
Using her broad skill set and experience, Rachel is able to sense the needs of each of our client-partners – their likes, dislikes and preferences – and sets the tone and direction for each project she and her team take on. Her fresh and innovative designs are a result of her boundless talent, keen eye, healthcare marketing expertise and knowledge of the audience to which the piece will be targeted.
On a personal note, Rachel consistently seeks to take her creative projects “to the next level.” She also embraces her leadership role and enjoys being a mentor for her design team. As Rachel says, “I take a lot of pride in raising my design team. We have various levels of experience, and I enjoy working with them in a way that we both grow as creatives and make a team in the purest sense of the word.” While much of Rachel’s time is spent directing and overseeing the quality of creative projects, her first love is still the actual design, and she remains heavily involved in creating our award-winning efforts.
Rachel earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design from Penn State University, graduating in the top of her class. She is always ready for a new challenge or project to apply her exceptional creative skills.
As Senior Writer, Karole is responsible for developing results-oriented communications materials for our client-partners. However, her responsibilities extend far beyond writing exceptional, highly compelling copy. From initial brainstorming sessions with our Account Managers and Creative Design Team – which can include everything from branding, positioning and creative plans to proofreading final layouts – Karole is closely involved with the planning and creative strategy for each project from start to finish.
It is this close interaction among the creative team members that Karole credits with Sage Age’s successful results and numerous award-winning projects; for example, 16 Generations Awards for excellence in senior living marketing in 2016 alone. As Karole says, “Any project we create is the product of the talents of our many experts here at Sage Age. By working with the Account Manager and the Creative Director, I feel the resulting product that we present to the client is the very best it can be.”
As a key leader in our organization, Karole plays an integral role in the development of each client-partner’s marketing plans and individual marketing materials. With a keen sense for our client-partners’ business objectives, Karole creates written materials with a strategic purpose. She never begins a project until she is clear on its goals and objectives, whether it involves community – or corporate-level positioning, branding strategy or sales promotion. This approach assures that Karole is fully informed and has a clear solution in mind the moment she begins her artistry.
In addition to being an exceptional writer, Karole is highly knowledgeable in the area of technological applications and social media. This “value added” expertise enables Karole to “write to the specific medium” and create compelling communications pieces that are perfectly sized and crafted to optimize the client’s message and brand.
Karole graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Telecommunications. A native of suburban Philadelphia, Karole originally joined our team in late 1989 soon after moving to Williamsport, PA. After broadening her healthcare marketing and branding expertise for a few years in the dentistry and plastic surgery industry, she rejoined the Sage Age Strategies team. As Karole says, “After a brief time specializing in other areas of healthcare marketing, I felt it was time to ‘come home.’ I couldn’t be happier.”
Kim is a versatile writer who transforms vision into verse. Focused on achieving project objectives and goals, she gathers intelligence and elicits valuable input from key thought leaders to craft inspirational, effective messaging for clients. Driven by a passion for, and lifelong respect of seniors, her empathetic messaging, combined with the creative efforts of the design team, has produced numerous award-winning campaigns.
Kim’s mother is living with Alzheimer’s disease, so her experience as an adult daughter/caregiver brings a unique and personal perspective to clients, as she truly understands messaging that resonates with those seeking senior living and care.
With nearly 30 years of experience in marketing and advertising that included fashion and hospital marketing, Kim found a permanent professional home in senior living. She has worked in the industry since 1997 when she started with The Lessig Group. After a short “walk on the client side,” she returned to agency life, getting in the ground floor of what is now Sage Age.
Kim received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Journalism with a minor in Speech Communications from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. A writer at heart, Kim first began her career working for various newspapers in the Philadelphia market, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Bucks County Courier Times.
In the critical role of Director of Client Services, Sally’s focus is two-fold: she works directly with our client-partners’ leadership teams to create lead-generation strategies and comprehensive marketing plans, and provides exceptional leadership to our entire Client Services team.
With exceptional marketing and planning skills and a record of achieving measurable results in the senior living space, Sally provides an ideal growth resource for senior living leaders and their communities. Her acumen and expertise perfectly positions her to direct and develop our Client Services team and influence agency infrastructure.
Prior to joining Sage Age, Sally served as Senior Account Manager and later Account Supervisor at GlynnDevins where she had primary responsibility for developing and managing successful marketing solutions for her various client communities. Her background also includes working as a National Account Manager for an in-store sales and marketing consulting organization where she functioned as the primary contact for Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, L’Oréal, Ghirardelli Chocolate, 3M Corporation and other Fortune 500 clients.
Before embarking on her successful marketing career almost 15 years ago, Sally received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Public Relations and Education from Missouri Western State University.
FUN FACT: “I love being outside enjoying nature...being on the water is my happy place whether that is walking on the beach, boating on the lake with family or just watching the sunset I find peace in the beauty God created. The favorite part of my day is sitting around the dinner table with my amazing husband of 15 years and our two beautiful kids Cole and Kaitlyn.”
As Account Director, Kala works with our client-partners to assess needs, set goals, develop marketing plans and implement strategies for lead generation. With experience in both digital and traditional marketing strategy, she is able to think both analytically and creatively – a unique combination.
Kala has over 15 years of experience in almost every facet of marketing, including account management, public relations, copy and content generation, social media and email strategy, graphic design and SEO.
Prior to joining Sage Age, Kala was self-employed, serving as a digital and traditional marketing strategist, food stylist, freelance writer and podcast host. This wealth of talent and skill is the result of years spent as a Director of Marketing for PB&J Restaurants in Kansas City, MO; a Content Marketing Manager for Walz Tetrick Advertising in Kansas City, MO; and a Marketing Manager at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite in Fish Camp, CA. She also held the positions of Marketing and Brand Manager, Community and Content Manager, and Account Executive, Digital Media and Public Relations in a variety of Kansas City, MO marketing and communications firms.
Her marketing acumen includes:
- Identifying challenges and forming solutions
- Developing budgets and marketing plans
- Creating marketing strategy, brand voice and content
- Providing digital, content and website strategy
- Crafting integrated marketing campaigns
Kala is excited to be working with Sage Age in this dynamic market, saying, “I'm looking forward to working in an ever-growing, evolving and necessary industry that directly affects the lives of people around me.”
An avid traveler, she has been to 16 countries outside of the United States, and about 34 of the 50 states in the US. Her travels with Sage Age may increase the number of US states visited!
Kala graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Marketing.
In her key role as Account Director, Lori works directly with our client-partners to develop lead generation programs designed to meet and exceed their sales and marketing goals. Drawing on her extensive experience and skill set in senior living communities, Lori works closely with senior living leaders in three critical areas: creating compelling client messaging and ad campaigns that resonate with their target audiences; assisting in sales consulting opportunities; and developing strong competitive offerings for clients that deliver strong points of differentiation and advantage in the competitive environment.
Lori has over 20 years of sales and marketing experience, with 13 of those years devoted to the senior living industry, where she developed exceptional credentials and an outstanding record of accomplishment. Prior to joining Sage Age, Lori rose through the management ranks at Zillner Marketing Communications, Inc. Earlier in her career, she held various positions in marketing management.
Some of her notable achievements include:
- Developing and managing integrated marketing programs across all communications channels to achieve client sales targets
- Creating messaging, positioning, branding and tactics for regional communities to ensure consistency with the corporate message and build brand equity
- Recommending annual budgets based on real-time data trends and forecasting
- Designing and monitoring joint marketing campaigns within competitive markets to strengthen the corporate brand and optimize the return on advertising expenditures
Lori has a clear passion for senior living and says, “I didn’t realize how much I loved helping seniors until I worked for a more traditional marketing agency for a period of time. It was at that time that I realized I needed to be doing something that I felt very passionate about, and I realized how much I missed senior living.
“I love being able to show the positive side of senior living and the many benefits it offers to older Americans. It's so rewarding to be on site with clients and also hearing from seniors directly about how dramatically their life changed once they moved to a senior living community and how they wish they would have done it sooner.”
A highly intelligent and creative problem solver, Lori graduated cum laude from Emporia State University in Kansas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business.
As Director of Strategic Communications & New Media, Bill is involved in a variety of projects for both Sage Age and our client-partners designed to create awareness, sharpen customer-centered messaging and strengthen brand reputation and preference. He excels in creating cohesive and compelling messages that clearly highlight clients’ areas of differentiation and advantage to customers.
Bill brings to Sage Age Strategies an advanced marketing education and over 30 years experience as a senior marketing professional with the majority of it in the highly competitive healthcare industry. He possesses extensive expertise in the areas of evidence-based marketing, brand development, strategic messaging, blogging best practices and advertising.
Prior to joining Sage Age, Bill had been a senior leader for a Pennsylvania-based multi-hospital system that included assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing facilities as well as home care and inpatient hospice services. He held the position of Senior Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Planning prior to leaving the hospital sector on his 25th anniversary of service. Recently published in Senior Housing Forum, Bill finds the dynamic senior living industry to be very rewarding and loves working with the “exceptionally talented, dedicated and collegial” Sage Age team.
During his tenure as the health system’s chief marketing and planning officer, Bill was credited with “significantly improving the health system’s marketing and strategic planning processes.” Major accomplishments included increasing market share, creating a successful new post-merger brand identity; presenting the health system’s strategic marketing plan to the nation’s top credit rating agencies in a successful capital project financing initiative; and conceiving, planning and implementing the LifeCenter at Lycoming Mall – winner of the American Hospital Association’s national award for Outreach Services in the mid-nineties.
A graduate of Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, Bill went on to receive his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He credits his graduate focus in marketing management for fueling his passion for helping clients to better understand and engage their customers based on the evidence of their needs, preferences and expectations. Bill is a strong advocate of “word of mouth” and the vital importance of helping clients understand which service considerations and messaging strategies resonate most effectively with customers.
In her position as Social and Digital Content Strategist, Debra has several important responsibilities that reflect the increasingly important role of social media and digital marketing strategy in the growth plans of senior living and senior care providers nationwide. These include: evaluating our client-partners social platform presence; developing breakthrough social and digital marketing strategies; creating social media content calendars; and implementing these strategies while also monitoring their analytics and providing regular reporting to our client-partners.
This is a new position that was created in conjunction with Sage Age Strategies’ priority commitment to being the senior living industry’s premier provider for digital marketing expertise and results. Debra provides expertise in the ever-evolving technological advancements that affect social media and digital marketing strategy and leverages that knowledge in strategizing, planning, and implementing effective initiatives for our client-partners
Debra also brings specific expertise in the emerging science of digital writing, which is designed to maximize the visibility of our client-partners’ content. This message presentation technique uses a precise SEO algorithm-driven approach to identify the most relevant keywords, optimize keyword to total text ratios, apply prescriptive formats for headlines and body copy, and create meta tags and meta descriptions that ensure maximum search engine performance for your content. In today’s digitized world, having a good message is no longer enough.
Debra joins Sage Age with over 12 years of related business experience, which includes social, digital and content marketing. In addition to her expertise in evaluating, developing, and monitoring social media and digital content strategies to achieve growth, she will also provide a wide array of content development services, including copywriting, blog writing, print and web articles, email newsletters, brochures, service descriptions, website content and social media posts.
A graduate of Saint Leo University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Debra says, “I enjoy working with senior living providers to harness the power of psychology, social media and storytelling to connect their brands with the people that matter most. Assisting organizations that offer comfort and better lifestyles to older Americans gives me a great deal of personal satisfaction.”
Jango (official name: Timber Oaks Jingo Jango) is more than our team mascot; he’s our very own international superstar. A fierce competitor with a heart of gold, Jango is a champion show dog who loves to be the center of attention. With his ability to jump high (his signature move before stacking for judges), he’s earned the nickname “Wonder Dog,” and he has surely lived up to the moniker.
His is truly a Cinderella story. Faith Ott, president of Sage Age, rescued Jango from a home in Chicago when he was only 5 months old. When her friend, Janet Rahn of Dog Gone Sensational Kennel, noticed Jango’s effortless gait and animated personality, she immediately recognized his natural potential to do well in the show ring. The two agreed to be co-owners, and Janet started campaigning Jango in 2014. But when his career started taking off in December 2015, she and Faith turned to Nina Fetter, one of the top professional handlers in the country.
Nina has taken Jango to two Bests in Show (a major accomplishment for a new breed) and 26 Herding Group Firsts.
A Place in History
On January 1, 2015, the Spanish Water Dog officially became recognized as part of the Herding Group with the American Kennel Club. And on February 21, 2015, the breed named its first American champion – Timber Oaks Jingo Jango.
Jango has been the No. 1 Spanish Water Dog in the country since that win and has won consecutive Bests of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2016 and 2017. He is the top Spanish Water Dog in the history of the AKC.
He is the No. 7 Herding dog in the United States, the National Specialty Best of Breed Winner and Multiple Group Winner. He is the Eukanuba National Breed Champion, placed 4th in 2015 at the Crufts International Dog Show – becoming the highest ranking American-bred Spanish Water Dog ever.
He is the highest ranking new breed dog in the history of the AKC. Never has a new breed risen to Top Ten in any group in only two years.
Now that’s he’s blazed the trail for all Spanish Water Dogs in the country and claimed his place in history, Jango is retiring from the show circuit. He is taking his “all eyes on me” personality, gentle demeanor and keen intelligence in a new direction, working as a therapy dog.
Once training is complete, Jango will be visiting senior living communities, skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities and memory care neighborhoods, bringing joy and comfort to residents. With his charming personality and innate drive to be the best at everything he does, we know Jango will bring immeasurable happiness to many.