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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 25 participants.


Nominations for this program will be accepted until August 1, 2024. Class is limited to 25 participants. Kickoff for the first session will be September 2024 in conjunction with FSLA’s Fall Board Retreat.

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:

✅ Self-Leadership and Leveraging Strengths

✅ Leading Change Management

✅ Innovation and Creativity – Critical for Relevance and Success

✅ Self-Awareness and Emotional Quotient (EQ)

✅ Team Engagement – Essential 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 three 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.

✅ All supplies including the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, a leadership book, and much more.

Program Calendar

Leadership FSLA kicks off in September at FSLA's Fall Board Retreat. The other in-person session and community meeting will be held in different locations throughout the state. The leadership program will conclude with a graduation ceremony during the March 2025 FSLA Advocacy Days in Tallahassee, Florida. 

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

Velma Knowles, MBA, CME

When leaders want to break team silos and maximize leadership impact, they call Velma Knowles, MBA, CME, Leaders Pathway, LLC. 

Velma is an award-winning association leader, multi-best-selling author, and certified leadership coach. With contagious energy, and her own personal island style, Velma is truly a student of her work. 

With over two decades of hands-on experience, from her early days working in the Bahamas at a small non-profit to leading a major fortune 500 multi-million membership association, Velma brings a teachable strategy to inspire anyone to transform their leadership impact and accelerate their organization’s growth. She earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration, advanced executive training from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and the Disney Institute. Velma is a certified human behavioral consultant, marketing executive, virtual presenter, John Maxwell Certified Coach and Trainer, Dale Carnegie Graduate Coach, and Distinguished Toastmaster. Living in Florida, Velma is a cool birder who has been featured in various publications for both her writing and photography. 

MENTORS: (More to Come) 

Mary Sue Patchett, FSLA Chair Emeritus 

Gwen Thibault, VP, Legend Senior Living 

Heidi Kuchenbacker, CEO, Honu Kai Consulting 

Joe Jedlowski, CEO, Distinctive Living


Leadership Academy Nomination Form

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