Meet the possibilities team

Who's Who of Mather LifeWays

Mather LifeWays Possibilities Team comprises an energetic and pioneering group of professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. The team aligns their efforts with our organizational vision—to be a leader in transforming how society empowers older adults to Age Well by recognizing their achievements, engaging and inspiring them, and connecting them within their communities.

In addition, team members are dedicated to advancing our mission of creating Ways to Age WellSM, whether it’s at work or at home with their family and friends. For our Possibilities Team as well as every Mather LifeWays employee, finding ways to Age Well is a lifelong commitment full of inspiration
and possibilities.

Mary Leary

President and Chief Executive Officer

Mary brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in senior living, hospitality services, and health care to guide Mather LifeWays in expanding its leadership presence in senior living, community-based programs, and applied research.

Mary previously served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Classic Residence by Hyatt, the senior living affiliate of Hyatt Corporation, where she oversaw the start-up and day-to-day operations of 18 senior living communities including more than 6,000 residents. She also provided technical assistance services and sales and marketing oversight for communities under development, valued at nearly $1 billion.

Mary is a member of the Executive Board of the American Seniors Housing Association, the Operator Advisory Board of the National Investment Center, and the Board of Caring Communities Insurance Company. She chairs Novare, a national consortium of single-site and small-system Life Plan Community providers.

She earned a master’s degree in health policy and management from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in business/health services administration from Cornell University.

Mary Ages Well by spending time with family, traveling, and experiencing new things.

Meredith Boyle

Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives

Meredith acts as a catalyst for innovation in developing strategic partnerships, collaboration, and alliances that support Mather LifeWays mission, vision, goals, and values. She works to incorporate innovative practices and approaches to senior living and community-based initiatives, while expanding affiliations and relationships with senior living providers, organizations, and educational institutions to increase Mather LifeWays reach and grow the number of older adults the organization serves.

She brings more than 30 years of strategic and results-driven industry experience, with expertise in marketing, sales, branding, finance and enterprise growth.

Meredith earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Delaware.

She Ages Well by sailing and by traveling with her family.

Christopher Manella

CPA, Senior Vice President of Finance and Treasurer

With many years of experience in financial management, Chris is responsible for the integrity of Mather LifeWays financial statements and accounting operations, as well as budgeting, forecasting, and analysis. He leads the organization’s treasury function, including responsibilities for cash and working capital management, bank relationships, and financing. He also oversees tax reporting and external financial audits.

Before joining Mather LifeWays, Chris was Director of Accounting for CC Industries Inc. and served as a Division Corporate Controller for Flextronics International.

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Indiana University and his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago.

Chris Ages Well by eating healthy foods and exercising regularly.

Gale Morgan

Senior Vice President of Sales

Gale is responsible for the coordination and oversight of sales and occupancy efforts for Mather LifeWays senior living residences. She works with sales teams within each residence to guide them in meeting their goals, and has led them to master the art of relationship selling.

Gale has also been instrumental in training management and frontline teams within senior living and community-based initiatives in providing extraordinary customer experiences.

Before joining Mather LifeWays Gale served as AVP of Sales & Marketing for Classic Residence by Hyatt and Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Retirement Community Specialists.

Gale earned her bachelor of business administration degree in Marketing from the University of Phoenix.

Gale Ages Well by hiking in the lovely Arizona desert.

Brenda Schreiber

Senior Vice President of Marketing

Brenda is responsible for marketing, public relations, and digital efforts for Mather LifeWays.

She is involved in developing and implementing marketing strategies for our senior living communities, expansion of neighborhood programs, digital marketing initiatives, and employee engagement programs.

Brenda led the naming efforts to make the industry-wide change from Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) to Life Plan Community and guided the recent launch of #AgeWell tips on social media.

Brenda earned her bachelor of arts degree in Communications with an emphasis on public communications and human relations, with a minor in Journalism, from Western Illinois University.

Brenda Ages Well by doing hot yoga, laughing with family and friends, and hitting the beach.

Mary Sullivan

Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Compliance and Privacy Officer

Mary is responsible for formulating and implementing strategy related to Mather LifeWays most valuable resource—our employees. A key strategy for our organization is to distinguish itself based on how we identify, select, manage, develop, and recognize human resources such that customer, resident, and employee experiences are “uniquely Mather.”

Mary provides strategic direction for building Mather LifeWays talent and organizational capabilities, including employee development plans, talent management system, and Ways to Lead Well leadership development program. She also leads strategic employee engagement, total rewards, and wellness initiatives.

She also serves as our organization’s Compliance and Privacy Officer.

Mary earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, and her master’s degree in industrial relations from Loyola University of Chicago.

Mary Ages Well by spending time with her family (especially her grandchild), reading as much as she can, listening to music, engaging in yoga, and working out.

Carol Sussenbach

CPA, CFA, Chief Financial Officer

Carol is responsible for accounting, finance, information technology, and risk management efforts throughout the organization, and oversees more than $450 million in investments as part of Mather LifeWays Investment Committee.

Carol has more than 30 years of financial management experience and has worked with several Fortune 100 companies, including Swift Independent and Esmark, Inc. Carol began her career in public accounting with Ernst & Young.

Carol earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and her master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago.

Carol Ages Well by continually trying to learn new things.

Joe Zajdel

Senior Vice President of Business Development

Joe is responsible for overseeing senior living development efforts, including site acquisition, entitlements and regulatory approvals, and design and construction management—as well as providing ongoing support to existing communities.

He is also responsible for market research, investment modeling, project/business planning, and obtaining equity and construction financing.

Joe has played a major role in more than $300 million of development at Mather LifeWays, and currently oversees more than $650 million in new development projects. In 2010, he was appointed to the National Investment Center’s Future Leaders Council and serves as Liaison for its Leadership Development group.

In addition to earning his bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Joe earned his master of business administration degree from the University of Chicago with a specialization in finance and a concentration in economics.

Joe Ages Well by playing guitar, listening to music, and enjoying food and wine.

Our Board of Directors

Graham Atkinson Former Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer, Walgreen Co.

Timothy Burke Former Partner and Chief Financial Officer, William Blair & Company

Gloria Castillo President and CEO, Chicago United

Michelle Collins President, Cambium LLC

Paulette Dodson Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Alight Solutions

Mary Louise Gorno Managing Director, Ingenuity International

Victoria J. Herget Former Managing Director, Zurich Scudder Investments

Dian Langenhorst Former Adjunct Faculty, Health Systems Management, Loyola University

Mary Leary CEO and President, Mather LifeWays

Roger Lumpp II Mather LifeWays Board Chair and Former Director, KPMG

Michael McGee Former Partner, Chapman and Cutler LLP

John Phillips Former CEO and Chairman, Corporate Solutions Group, Jones Lang LaSalle

Scott Smith Former Publisher, Chicago Tribune and President, Tribune Publishing

Terence Toth Former President, Northern Trust Global Investments

Ways to #AgeWell

Get research-based tips from Mather LifeWays to help you make the most out of every day. From simple habits that boost brain health to easy steps toward building resilience and happiness, each small tidbit can make a big difference in your life.

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