ALFA Names New CEO and President

The Assisted Living Federation of America, on the heels of a rebranding effort that will create the “New ALFA,” has named a new president and CEO. 

Effective mid-January, the association will be led by new President and CEO James Balda, who has held many association management positions, including his role most recently as senior vice president of innovation and business development for the National Restaurant Association—a national organization supporting nearly 500,000 restaurant businesses. 

His work on the state level will translate into several of ALFA’s ongoing initiatives under the “New ALFA,” including a push for credentialing of assisted living communities, the organization says, and self-regulation among operators.


“One of the things that excited me about the opportunity is working with ALFA’s leadership and board of directors around credentialing. It’s a significant opportunity to help the association’s members,” Balda tells SHN. “With the changing demographics ahead, the industry is going to continue to grow. With that growth, comes increased scrutiny, especially at the state level.”

In mid-2014, ALFA spelled major plans for a rebranding of the association including a name change. While the changes are still forthcoming, the board of directors, interim president Maribeth Bersani and ALFA leadership are underway with the changes. 

“The rebranding is well under way,” says Brenda Bacon, CEO of Brandywine Senior Living and Chairperson of ALFA’s Board of Directors. “We have hired [a firm] to work on the credentialing and we are hard at work to get these efforts done. Over the next 12 to 18 months we will start to see progressively more information and momentum.”


Balda brings nearly two decades of association experience to his position, spanning business development, marketing and membership. He has held positions with Americans Health Insurance Plans, the Health Insurance Association of America and the Newspaper Association of America.

Balda succeeds former ALFA President and CEO Rick Grimes, who retired in June after serving 10 years with the organization. 

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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