Leadership

Continually charting a course toward the future.

President and CEO: Jonathan R. Cook

Jonathan R. Cook joined the team of LifeSpire of Virginia as President/CEO on December 3, 2014. Prior to joining LifeSpire of Virginia, Mr. Cook worked for Life Care Services LLC, where in his tenure he served as both executive director and in the regional position of director of operations management. He has more than 19 years of experience in the senior living/eldercare field, including experience in multi-site continuing care retirement communities. He is a graduate of The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and is a licensed Nursing Home Administrator in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Chief Operations Officer: Tracey Jennings

Tracey Jennings joined the LifeSpire team as chief operations officer in December 2021. In this role, will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the five LifeSpire communities. Additionally, Jennings will have oversight of community operating budgets, policies and procedures and provide oversight of major vendor relationships.

Jennings brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in the senior living and healthcare arena. Jennings held numerous positions at Centra Health including managing director of senior care where she oversaw long-term care communities; chief operating officer of Bedford Memorial Hospital and vice president of care coordination, where she led care coordination and case management processes and systems.

Jennings holds a bachelor’s degree from Ferrum College and is a licensed nursing home administrator and preceptor in Virginia.

Chief Strategy and Integration Officer: Lisa Legeer

Lisa Legeer joined the LifeSpire team as chief strategy and integration officer in June 2021. In this role, she will be responsible for growing top-line revenues, as well as adding other complementary business lines to the organization. She will assist in leading strategic planning efforts and will be responsible for the cultivation of acquisition, merger and affiliation opportunities for the organization.

Lisa has more than 20 years of experience serving senior living and healthcare organizations with strategic and development planning, performance improvement and marketing. Prior to joining the LifeSpire team, she served as senior vice president of strategic partnerships for GlynnDevins—a data, analytics and marketing technology company. She also worked for the accounting firm Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP for 14 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and communication studies from the University of Virginia.

Chief Financial Officer: Chris Markwith

As LifeSpire of Virginia’s Chief Financial Officer, Chris is responsible for directing overall financial operations for LifeSpire, its communities, foundation offices and its home-based membership program. Markwith has more than 25 years of experience in progressive leadership roles in auditing, finance and operations for a number of organizations including the Commonwealth of Virginia, Signet Banking Corporation (now Wells Fargo), MCV Physicians, ChildFund International, Patient Services, Inc. and Health Savings Administrators, LLC. Markwith, a certified public accountant, is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a major in accounting. He also earned a master’s degree in business administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. He and his wife, Ann, have two children, Kayla and Wyatt. The family resides in Powhatan.

Chief Marketing Officer: Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson was promoted to chief marketing officer in May 2021 after serving as LifeSpire’s vice president of marketing and public relations since 2011. In this role, he will continue to provide oversight, strategic direction and leadership for the sales and marketing operations. Peter has more than 20 years of experience in the senior living industry. He first worked as a food services assistant at a local retirement community while attending high school and college in Harrisonburg, Va. Upon graduation, Robinson worked as a member of the marketing team at Sunrise Senior Living in various locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. He first joined the LifeSpire team in 2009 as the corporate director of marketing and public relations. Peter is a graduate of James Madison University with a B.A. in History and a graduate of George Mason University with an M.S. in Health Systems Management.

Vice President of Clinical Services: Paula Bolton

Paula, a registered nurse and licensed assisted living administrator and assisted living administrator preceptor, holds the position of vice president of clinical services for LifeSpire of Virginia. Paula joined the team at The Culpeper, a LifeSpire of Virginia community, in January 1997. While employed at The Culpeper, she held various positions within the nursing department, including the assistant director of nursing for nine years. In 2008, Paula transitioned to the role of assisted living administrator and was responsible for the daily operations and oversight of the delivery of care and services to residents in all levels of care within the community. In May 2019, Paula transitioned to the role of corporate director of clinical services before her promotion to vice president in October 2020. Paula’s career has been dedicated to serving seniors and their families.  

Vice President, Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation: Jodi Leonard

Jodi is a native of Long Island, N.Y., who moved to Virginia in 2009. Jodi joined the VBH Foundation, LifeSpire’s benevolent arm, in 2015, where she leads the annual planning, relationship building, and fundraising administration for the organization. Jodi’s entire career has been committed to serving non-profits and their needs, with more than 25 years’ fundraising experience in Virginia and New York. She attended Nassau College in New York and has received certification in fundraising from the University of Richmond’s Institute on Philanthropy. She also completed a Leadership Intensive Training for New and Emerging Directors from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. Jodi keeps busy at home with three children, two dogs and one guinea pig, but she always makes time to join residents and team members in each of our communities for fellowship, conversation and celebration.

Vice President of Information Technology: Robert Wilbanks

Robert Wilbanks joined LifeSpire of Virginia in September 2019. Most recently, Robert served as information technology infrastructure manager with Langley Federal Credit Union. He also served in progressive leadership roles with Chesapeake Financial Shares in Virginia and Rancho Physical Therapy in California. Robert has more than 18 years of extensive working experience and is well versed in implementing innovative solutions to complex technical issues. His technical skills include business continuity, networking and infrastructure design, among others. He holds certifications in CCNA +Security, CISSP, and MCSE Microsoft.

Corporate Controller: Christine Moran

Christine Moran leads LifeSpire’s accounting team and is responsible for all aspects of accounting information, production, compliance and management pertaining to LifeSpire and its affiliates. In addition, she monitors and manages the company’s cash position and its nonprofit foundation’s business affairs and serves as a valued accounting and financial consultant to LifeSpire’s senior leadership and communities. Christine has more than 25 years’ experience in progressive leadership roles in accounting and finance with a concentration in nonprofit organizations. Christine holds a bachelor’s of science in accounting from the State University of New York, College at Brockport. She lives in the Richmond area.

Corporate Director of Construction Management: Derek Meyer

Derek Meyer joined LifeSpire as Corporate Director of Construction Management in September 2019. Derek is responsible for oversight and direction of construction, expansion and renovation of all LifeSpire communities.  Derek has more than 10 years of experience in progressive leadership roles with the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and Urban Core Construction. He holds a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and a master of business administration from the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. Derek and his wife, Kimberly, have two kids, Brooke and Jack, and a great dane named Memphis Belle. The family lives in Richmond’s West End.

Corporate Director of Communications: Hillary Smith

As LifeSpire of Virginia’s corporate storyteller, Hillary is responsible for oversight and direction of public and media relations, social media, crisis communication and reputation management. 

Hillary has more than 10 years of experience in communication roles with Airlines Reporting Corp., NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association and the Virginia Society of CPAs. She worked as a television news reporter and anchor for local CBS and FOX affiliates in Beckley, W.Va.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communication from Emory & Henry College in Emory, Va.

Executive Assistant: Jennifer Cristello

Jennifer Cristello joined LifeSpire of Virginia in October 2019. Prior to joining LifeSpire as Executive Assistant, Jennifer worked for Henrico County Public Schools for four years and spent 11 years at SunTrust in various professional roles. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business. She lives in the Richmond area with her husband, Dominic, and daughter, Kate.

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