Meet AC's Board of Directors

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Malana Maher

ACOM

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President / Founder

 

With an extensive background in the senior-focused healthcare industry, Malana has developed a true passion for the area’s aging population.  Through her endeavors, she has developed a vast network of professional resources and has become very adept at matching an individual's needs with the best resources in the Michiana area.  
Over the years Malana has been very involved in her local community and has volunteered for numerous organizations.  As the founder and president of ACOM, she truly believes in the group’s vision: To be a community resource offering educational programming to meet the needs of the community and the professionals who serve the aging population. This can be accomplished by developing meaningful relationships with quality business professionals; inform and educate members about service availability, access and needs; discuss industry updates and trends; and explore “co-opetition” opportunities so that members will be able to better meet the needs of the people they serve.

Michael McConnell

Vertis Therapy

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Vice President / Education
Committee Chair

 

Michael is a Physical Therapy Assistant with an Associate's of Applied Science, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Healthcare Management. Michael has been practicing in his chosen area of profession for almost ten years. His clinical interests include wound care/debridement, ortho rehab, and cranio-sacral therapy. Some of his past experiences include performing market analysis to implement therapy-based programs, development and maintenance of strategic partnerships, and promotion of the continuum of health services throughout the aging process.

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Marcia Namenye, MSN(c), RN

Michiana Home Care

Emeritus

 

Marcia has professionally committed 45 years as a working registered nurse using an advanced practice clinical focus with emphasis on medical case management, business management, clinical education, insurance and reimbursement, rehabilitation, medical case management. Throughout her career she has been fortunate to work with an amazing network of seasoned professionals in both the healthcare and business arena. Today, she maintains close professional and personal relationships with whom she believes have succeeded with truly putting the patient first with personalized/person centered care working to achieve measurable high quality care as their professional focus. She serves primarily the adult and aging population, their families, and caregivers and has provided care/collaboration/education for healthcare professionals and patients in critical care/ acute care medical centers, rehabilitation centers, insurance companies including utilization review /case management, long term/subacute care, assisted/independent living and currently medical home health care - the full continuum.

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Patti Vandergrift
Always Best Care Michiana

Secretary / Treasurer

Membership Chair

Patti has a diverse professional background that truly exhibits her heart for our most vulnerable populations.  She has a BS from Bethel College and an MPA from Indiana University.  Her experience includes working with at-risk young children and homeless teens.  For the past decade she has found her passion in the healthcare community, working in the skilled nursing and hospital setting.  Patti is currently The Community Liaison for Always Best Care-Michiana and she considers it a personal goal to assist our aging community in finding the services that will provide them with the best quality of life. 

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Marlies West
Goshen Home Medical

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Kosciusko Committee Chair

 

Marlies has worked for Goshen Home Medical (Goshen Health) in Sales & Marketing since 2008 where she focuses on sales, marketing, public relations, events, educational programs and in-service trainings.  She also has extensive experience in designing, developing and implementing arts, education and recreational programs and events for Elderhostel programs (now called Road Scholar) at Oakwood Resort, Amish Acres and Chautauqua-Wawasee.

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Possessing more than 20 years of experience in laboratory medicine, healthcare management, and marketing, Connie’s passion for education and service comes through in everything she does. Connie is responsible for managing the admissions department and coordinating marketing and public relations activities to educate the community.

A certified medical laboratory technologist, Connie earned her A.S. from Indiana University, her B.S. in Business Administration from Indiana Tech, and an Executive Management Certificate from the University of Notre Dame.  A native of Indiana, Connie enjoys yoga, anything outdoors, and traveling to places near and far with her family.

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Lindsey Downey
Edward Jones

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Lindsey joined the Edward Jones family to educate individuals in her community so they do not face the same financial, physical, and emotional hardships that her mom faced while caring for her grandmother who passed away in April 2020.  Being an active member of Aging Connections of Michiana enables her to connect her clients (and her client's parents and/or grandparents) to life changing resources that are available in her community.  When Lindsey isn't on the go with everyday activities, she loves going on old fashioned, Clark Griswold road trips, attending concerts and sporting events, and relaxing on the beach with her husband and their three children.

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Sondra Gardetto is a licensed insurance agent and advisor for HealthMarkets, serving Indiana and Michigan, assisting individuals and small groups with Medicare, health, life, accident and supplemental insurance that meets their specific needs. Sondra has been in the health coverage industry for more than 20 years, and has influenced outreach, coordination and simplification of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance programs in more than 20 states while with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She also consults with organizations to optimize their business models to build organizational capacity and develop sustainable programs. Her services include strategic implementation planning, coalition building, program development, grant writing, board development, event planning and meeting facilitation, strategic partnership and board development, business management, training, budgeting, problem solving, and team building.

Sondra earned her Master of Science degree in Administration from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, and is a Fellow of the International Center for Health Leadership Development from the University of Illinois-Chicago. She received her bachelor’s degree in music therapy from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. 

 

Connie Bratton
Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana

Sondra Gardetto, MS​HealthMarkets Insurance Agency

Jennifer Ludwig

Mishawaka Library

Jennifer joined the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library system in 2000 as a teenager and quickly realized she had found her ideal career. Now with more than 20 years of library experience, she is the Programming Coordinator for the system. In this role, Jennifer and her team provide programs for patrons of all ages and are especially focused on offering more informational, recreational, and educational programming to the area’s aging population. She earned her MLS from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and in her free time enjoys reading, crafting, and spending time with her husband and two children.

Megan Rogers

State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

Megan has worked 16 years in the social services field in Michiana and graduated from Bethel College with a double major in Sociology and Criminal Justice. She has 4 years’ experience working at the local Community Mental Health Center and 10 working with the Area 2 Agency on Aging Real Services with the Aged and Disabled population. Currently, she is the Northwest Indiana Region Volunteer Supervisor and has vast knowledge of the Aged and Disabled, TBI, and BDDS Waivers; Nursing Home assessments and approvals; and Person-Centered Planning Techniques where each position required her to have an extensive knowledge of Medicare and Medicaid. Megan is a Certified Memory Care Professional and

certified in two Suicidal prevention techniques: QPR (Question, Persuade, and Referral) and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), as well as a certificate in Non-Profit Business Management from IUSB. She is also the primary caregiver to her mother and father and resides in Plymouth with her husband.

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Kristine Ullery​

Tuesley Hall Konopa, LLP

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Kris has been with THK for 11 years and always says she has a "fun job." She enjoys connecting the firm, and the good work that the attorneys do, with the community. Having an Elder Law section at the firm (2 attorneys and a paralegal) makes ACOM a great fit for her, and she has a personal affinity for our senior community. She was a caregiver for her husband's great aunt and saw how many seniors need guidance and often someone to be their "voice."  Kris enjoys traveling with her husband, working out, and just hanging out with her two grown children.