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We’re excited to announce an exclusive Senior Living Leadership Program specially designed for FSLA members to advance their careers and gain valuable leadership skills. Each class is limited to 20 participants.


Nominations for this program will be accepted until JUNE 8. Class is limited to 20 participants. Kickoff for the first session will be on June 24 in conjunction with FSLA’s Senior Living Conference, ENGAGE2023 – Celebrating a Legacy of Excellence in Senior Living at Boca Raton Resort.

Leadership FSLA has been developed specifically for staff currently employed in a FSLA-member assisted living, memory care or independent living community. This leadership program is based on the targeted growth of individual leaders with the conviction and belief that their community will also benefit from this comprehensive leadership training. This extensive leadership program recognizes that staff are the foundation for building effective teams that enable communities to focus on quality outcomes, care initiatives, character building and effective leadership. The leadership program’s sessions will utilize a variety of learning methods and tools, combining self-awareness, other awareness, and the application of principals of leadership and observable benefits to the organization in which the leader leads. Session topics are designed to focus on broad areas of development critical to organizational leaders and incorporate numerous specific leadership skills.


Examples of the session topics include:

  • Developing the 12 Steps of Critical Thinking and Problem Solving,

  • Leading Change Management,

  • Innovation and Creativity – Critical for Relevance and Success,

  • Self-Awareness and Emotional Quotient (EQ),

  • Building a Great Team by optimizing strengths and personalities for a productive and satisfactory team experience,

  • Effective Communications (e.g., email, face to face, social media),

  • Managing Effective Meetings and Useful Public Speaking skills.


During Leadership FSLA, students will have the opportunity to develop and master their leadership skills by

  • Attending four day-long in-person educational sessions. Each session will last at least 5 hours, and will occur in conjunction with key FSLA events,

  • Participating in two meetings in a community setting, including tour and operational highlights,

  • Joining several Zoom gatherings for networking and book discussions,

  • Monthly lunch and learn webinars featuring expert speakers

  • Meeting guest experts who will share their knowledge and expertise,

  • Learning from coaches/mentors who will assist participants during the leadership program, and

  • Receiving supplies including the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, a leadership book, and much more.

Program Calendar

Leadership FSLA kicks off on Tuesday, July 6 in conjunction with FSLA’s Senior Living Conference at the Boca Raton. Other sessions will be held in different locations throughout the state. The leadership program will conclude with a graduation ceremony be during the July 2024 FSLA Senior Living Conference in Orlando.

Key events include:

• Commencement: Monday June 26, 2023, during FSLA Conference in Boca Raton

• Session 1: October 2023

• Session 2: January 2024

• Session 3: May 2024

• Session 4 and Graduation: July 2024 at FSLA Conference in Orlando


During the course, students will be required to:

• Attend the in person and online zoom sessions,

• Read a leadership book chosen by the facilitator,

• Participate in a “personality”/leadership-style assessment,

• Review and resolve problems from AHCA community surveys, and

• Recognize a current problem in their community and develop solutions.


After attending this program, students will:

• Develop and increase their personal leadership skills,

• Master critical thinking skills,

• Increase self-awareness techniques,

• Develop effective communication skills.,

• Optimize their strengths and personality to create a successful team, and

• Explore innovative and creative best practices.


Program Facilitator

Jamie Merrill, COO, Sonata Senior Living

Jamie is a transformative leader with more than 16 years of senior living management experience and expertise in multi-state operations and regulatory environments.


Jamie excels at turning customer, employee, and market opportunities into measurable business results. She nurtures high-performing teams, developing not only talent but strong business plans that facilitate favorable change and add value to the resident and employee experience


She started her career in a programming and sales director role, quickly moving into operations at a community then regional level. Jamie’s passion for serving and mentoring others led her in her earlier years to multiple leadership certifications, such as

Dale Carnegie and John Maxwell.

Prior to joining Sonata Senior Living as Chief Operating Officer, Jamie directed operations for 72 senior living communities across Florida as Vice President of Operations with Brookdale Senior Living. Jamie serves on the Board of the Florida Senior Living Association as well as The University of Central Florida and was awarded the 2022 McKnight’s Woman of Distinction. Jamie spent most of her childhood and early adult years in Detroit, MI and has lived in Florida for over 12 years where she currently resides with her family (husband Blake, son Cole and daughter Cayman who just moved into UCF as a freshman).

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