Movers & Shakers — Kendal CEO Announces Plan to Retire

Kendal President & CEO John Diffey Announces Plans to Retire in 2016

John Diffey, president and CEO of The Kendal Corporation for more than two decades, has notified Kendal’s Board of Directors that he plans to retire in mid-2016. 

Kendal is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Kennett Square, Penn., where ground was broken for the first Kendal community in 1971. The Kendal Corporation’s role largely is to provide advice, leadership and support to the communities and services that make up the Kendal System. 


“A new paradigm of health care in the United States is developing,” Diffey wrote in his letter of resignation to Board Chair Joan Countryman. “A next generation of Kendal leaders is ready to assume greater responsibility.”

Diffey has served as president and CEO of Kendal since 1992. During his tenure, the Kendal System has grown substantially. Kendal-affiliated retirement communities are now located in Hanover, N.H.; Ithaca and Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.; Northhampton and Easthampton, Mass.; Lexington, Va.; metro Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Kennett Square, West Chester and Newtown, Penn.; and Oberlin and Granville, Ohio.

Kendal at Home, based in suburban Cleveland, combines the security of a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) with the freedom and independence of living at home.


The Kendal Corporation’s Board of Directors has established a special search committee to assist the Board in identifying Diffey’s successor. The search committee is comprised of representatives of all Kendal constituencies, including residents.

“The search committee has begun to design and schedule the various milestones of the search process,” Countryman said. “We are going to be busy; still, I am confident that in the coming weeks and months, working together, we will meet our challenges and find the path that ensures Kendal’s continued vitality.”

Before joining Kendal, Diffey served as executive director of Carol Woods Retirement Community in Chapel Hill, N.C., and as an administrator with Wesley Homes, Inc. in Atlanta. He has served on the Board of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (now known as LeadingAge), as chair of its committee on CCRCs, as vice chair of the Continuing Care Accreditation Committee (CCAC), as a founding co-chair of its leadership development program, and as president of its North Carolina affiliate.

Diffey received LeadingAge’s highest recognition in 2006, its Award of Honor. He also has served on numerous other boards in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, including an historical society and museum, a school, financial institutions, health and civic organizations, and religious organizations and agencies.

In addition to retirement communities, the Kendal System also includes a fundraising and grant-making organization that supports all Kendal entities (Kendal Charitable Funds); an outreach function (Kendal Outreach LLC); and a research function (Kendal Research).

U.S. Memory Care Names New Chief Operating Officer

Dallas, Texas-based U.S. Memory Care has announced that Tami Cumings has joined its team as chief operations officer.

Cumings brings to the position more than 20 years of experience working within independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care communities in various leadership roles.

As COO for U.S. Memory Care, she will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the communities, with direct management of the executive directors and their teams. She will also serve as a key member of the corporate leadership team, helping to set the vision and course for the organization.

Previously, Cumings has been the vice president of operations for a Midwest-based company where she oversaw the daily operations of the company which consists of 38 communities with 13 under construction in 10 states. She was involved in the acquisition of eight properties and the opening of four new developments over a period of two years.

She has served on the TALA board and is a member of the ALFA Executive COO forum.

Baltimore CCRC Appoints New Board Member

Roland Park Place, Baltimore City’s only not-for-profit CCRC, has announced the appointment of former state delegate Keiffer Jackson Mitchell Jr. to its Board of Directors.

Mitchell brings to the position a robust background in finance, government, education and community relations. Mitchell was recently appointed as a special adviser by newly elected Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. He represented Baltimore City’s 44th Legislative District from 2011 to January 2015.

The Baltimore native also served three former terms as a Baltimore City Council member with a stint at Wachovia Bank as an officer of small business banking specializing in nonprofit clients. In addition, he is an experienced educator, having taught political science at Towson University, history at The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland, and lecturing at Johns Hopkins University.

Mitchell began his first three-year board term in February. Among his community activities, Mitchell also serves on the boards of the Echo Hill Outdoor School, the Family Tree, Habitat for Humanity, and his alma mater, Boys’ Latin School.

Florida CCRC Names Sales, Marketing Director

Gerry Harris, former interim sales director, has been promoted to director of sales and marketing for Cypress Cove at HealthPark Florida in South Fort Myers.

Harris began her career at the 48-acre CCRC in March 2010 as a retirement counselor. She has more than 25 years of sales experience, having spent the previous 20 years prior to Cypress Cove as a major account executive for the North Carolina-based R.H. Donnelley Directory company.

While at R.H. Donnelley, she received the company’s Presidents Club Award for recognition of achievement and leadership.

Her responsibilities at Cypress Cove include guiding day-to-day sales and marketing operations at a community, which is home to more than 550 residents.

Ryan Companies Adds Associate Developer to Senior Living Division

Ryan Companies US, Inc. — a national builder, developer, designer and real estate manager based in Minneapolis, Minn. — has announced the hiring of Brandon Raymond as associate developer, according to local reports.

Raymond joins the firm’s senior living division, which has been one of the most active and fastest growing areas for the region. In his new role, Raymond will be part of the team that is in varying stages of the development process for expanding Ryan’s Clarendale-branded projects.

His primary responsibilities will be to assist the team with site selection, zoning and approvals, quantitative analysis and project design efforts, collaborating with Ryan’s construction division.

Raymond will also draw from recent work experiences as well as his training and education as an attorney. To read the local report, click here

Florida Community Names New Executive Director

Florida-based East Ridge at Cutler Bay has named Jeffrey P. Merritt as its new executive director, according to local reports

Merritt, who has 25 years of experience in senior housing, is responsible for the management and operations of the community including independent living, assisted living residences and nursing care services.

All related operations, including home health, engineering, maintenance, community relations, marketing, programs and events, food and beverage services and procurement areas have his oversight.

He will direct the upcoming opening of the new $70 million health center now under construction as well as the additional improvements which are underway throughout East Ridge.

Most recently, he was administrator and executive director of a 361-unit upscale community in Lawrence, Kan., following 15 years of experience in multi-facility operational management for Brookdale Senior Living.

Merritt was formerly associated with Wellington Group Assisted Living Inc. as a regional director of operations after providing similar services for two assisted living management companies in Missouri and Tennessee.

East Ridge at Cutler Bay, now 53 years old, began expansion and renovations in April 2014 with the demolition of eight residential buildings to make room for its new health center, the first to be built in Miami-Dade County in the past 15 years.

To read the full report, click here.  

Ken Gould Promoted at East Ridge at Cutler Bay

In addition to naming Jeffrey P. Merritt as its new executive director, Florida-based East Ridge at Cutler Bay has promoted Ken Gould as the new director of community operations.

Ken will be responsible for the operational departments within the retirement community including environmental services, engineering, social activities, maintenance, security, grounds and transportation, according to Merritt.

“As we look toward our future and the opening of the new East Ridge Health Center to serve residents within East Ridge and in the Cutler Bay area, he will be instrumental in helping the community reach its goals,” Merritt said in a written statement.

Gould has been with East Ridge for more than six years. Previously, he was director of environmental services and spearheaded the community’s efforts in green practices starting with single stream recycling.

Under his management, the program was expanded to include recycling in all departments within East Ridge and continued resident and employee education.

He is a licensed Florida Assisted Living Administrator.

EPOCH Community Names Jake Quigley Executive Director 

Jake Quigley has been named executive director of Boylston Place at Chestnut Hill in Massachusetts, an EPOCH independent and assisted living community, according to local reports

Prior to joining EPOCH, Quigley served as executive director for several Boston-area senior living communities. He started his career as a nursing home administrator for the Meadowlark Hills CCRC in Kansas.

He also spent five years in the Navy working in hospitals as a health care administrator. The Navy relocated Quigley from his native Kansas to New England, where he chose to remain and continue his career in long-term care.

In addition to serving as executive director at Boylston Place, Quigley is an adjunct faculty member at Regis College in Weston, where he teaches graduate courses in gerontology for nurse practitioner students.   

Written by Emily Study

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