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Argentum Honors 2019 Awards Recipients


(Alexandria, Va.)—This week, Argentum recognized extraordinary senior living employees and innovative programs at the 2019 Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

The Argentum Hero Awards and Argentum Senior Living Community Leadership Award honor employees who represent the highest levels of excellence, caring, and dedication across the industry. Kim Campbell, an advocate for eradicating Alzheimer’s disease and widow of Grammy Hall of Fame & award-winning music artist Glen Campbell, helped to present the awards to each of the deserving individuals.

Penny Smith, executive director at Vi Bentley Village, a Vi senior living community in Naples, Fla., was honored with the 2019 Argentum Senior Living Community Leadership Award. Her compassion and commitment to the residents and staff at Vi Bentley Village is evident through her enthusiasm, support, and focus on relationship building. Smith exemplifies the qualities necessary to effectively and efficiently lead a senior living community.

“[Penny’s] years of experience, confidence, poise, decisiveness, and inclusive management style keeps everyone focused on excellence,” said Randy Richardson, president, Vi. “She cares deeply about the residents, her team, and the success of the organization. What more could we ask for?”

This year, three individuals received Argentum Hero Awards:

  • Clifford “Skip” Collins, community outreach and resident advocate at Hearth Management, was honored for serving with heart in his more than 20 years of work with Hearth. Noted for his positive attitude, Collins “will never walk past you without a cheery greeting or smile,” according to his nominator, Kara Khanzadian, regional vice president of operations for Hearth Management.
  • Lindsay Vayda, business office manager at Brookdale Bonita Springs, a Brookdale community in Bonita Springs, Fla., was recognized for her tenacity in overcoming challenges and the compassion and grace she has exhibited during her more than seven years of service with Brookdale. Her nominator, Rebecca Rickenbach, district director of operations for Brookdale, said, “Lindsay is truly an inspiration and honestly, it’s a pleasure to see her joy each day when she comes to work…and it’s infectious.”
  • Zachary “D.J.” Buff, supplier relations coordinator for Affinity Living Group (ALG), received the Leadership in the Face of a Natural Disaster Hero Award—recognizing an employee who went above and beyond during a time of crisis. Buff was one of the first staff members at ALG to volunteer to help the company’s North Carolina communities most threatened by Hurricane Florence in September 2018. According to Buff’s nominator, Jaylee Wilson, regional vice president of operations for ALG, “for nearly three weeks, he logged 1,000 rain-drenched miles, crisscrossing eastern North Carolina to lend a helping hand to both residents and staff.”

Argentum’s Best of the Best Awards recognize innovative new programs and services that are working to improve the future of senior living. This year, four companies were recognized for their enrichment programs:

  • Heritage Communities, “In a Good Place”
    The book, “In a Good Place,” developed by Heritage Communities president Nate Underwood and corporate director of sales and marketing Lacy Jungman, was designed to guide adult children through the senior living decision-making process. The novel showcases a fictional story based on the experience of real-life families served by Heritage. Heritage sales teams have reported that prospects were often moved by the story and could relate to the character’s emotions in their own lives.
  • Brookdale Senior Living, “This Week at Canyon Lakes”
    “This Week at Canyon Lakes,” is a news broadcast produced by residents and associates at Brookdale Canyon Lakes in Kennewick, Wash. Producing the news program encourages residents to be active participants in creating and leading their community’s programming; fosters a strong sense of purpose; and gives residents a forum for sharing goals with others.
  • Senior Living Communities, J.O.Y.
    Senior Living Communities’ J.O.Y. (Joining Older and Younger) program promotes partnerships with outside youth organizations in planning intergenerational activities both within and outside the communities. Key to the program’s success is its focus on long-term partnerships rather than one-time events.
  • Benchmark, The Village at Buckland Court Adult Educational Program
    Leaders and residents at Benchmark’s The Village at Buckland Court established an Adult Education Council that plans adult education courses for residents in person, online, and in experiential settings. It has led to higher engagement among residents as well as their family members; residents have formed new friendships through the planning process; and it fulfills Benchmark’s goal of keeping residents’ minds active and engaged in lifelong learning.

“We are so pleased to present these awards and would like to share our appreciation to the individuals, companies, and communities for continually working to improve quality of life for those we serve across the industry,” said James Balda, Argentum president & CEO.

The Best of the Best winners are profiled in the March/April issue of Senior Living Executive magazine. The Hero Awards and Senior Living Community Leadership Award recipients will be profiled in the May/June issue.

About Argentum
Argentum is the leading national association exclusively dedicated to supporting companies operating professionally managed, resident-centered senior living communities and the older adults and families they serve. Argentum member companies operate senior living communities offering assisted living, independent living, continuing care, and memory care services to older adults and their families. Argentum’s work is driven by its membership. For more information about joining Argentum in its mission to raise the bar of excellence in senior living, please visit . Since 1990, Argentum has advocated for choice, independence, dignity, and quality of life for all older adults. Learn more at