Continually charting a course toward the future.
President and CEO: Jonathan R. Cook
Jonathan R. Cook joined the staff 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/elder care 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.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer: Ray Fisher
Ray Fisher has been involved in senior living since 2001 and has held positions as CFO, CEO, and advisor. He has more than 25 years’ experience at the executive level within the context of large for-profit firms and senior living organizations. He has been part of many senior living expansion projects, the most recent involving the creation of a nationally recognized short-term recovery and rehab center. As CEO, he led the turnaround of a mid-size CCRC and the successful creation and operation of a nationally recognized 48-bed rehab and wellness center.
Fisher is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, and he earned an MS Finance degree from the University of Baltimore. He has instructed at VCU, UVA’s Darden School and the University of Baltimore. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as well as the Virginia Society of CPAs.
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’ 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 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.
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 of Talent Management: Deb Ledbetter
As Vice President of Talent Management, Deb is responsible for workforce development, human resources management and best practices, organizational effectiveness and performance measurement. With 20 years of experience in talent recruitment and planning, she comes to LifeSpire from McKesson where she served as senior human resources organizational change management business partner for three years. Prior to that role, she worked in leadership and consultant roles for the Hospital Corporation of America, Altria Corporate Services & Philip Morris U.S.A. and Marriott International.
Deb has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Fordham University in the Bronx, N.Y., and holds the Senior Human Resources Professional certification from HRCI. She enjoys spending time outdoors on the water with her son, daughter and golden retriever. She also practices and teaches yoga.
Vice President, Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation: Jodi Leonard
Jodi is a native of Long Island, New York, 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 staff in each of our communities for fellowship, conversation, and celebration.
Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations: Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson joined LifeSpire of Virginia in January 2009. Before coming to LifeSpire of Virginia, he worked with Sunrise Senior Living where he served in a variety of roles, including regional manager for an assisted living portfolio, managing a portfolio of six continuing care retirement communities and directing the marketing and sales for a new development. Prior to working for Sunrise Senior Living, Peter worked for Sunnyside Retirement Community in Harrisonburg, Virginia. 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 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’ 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 one daughter, Brooke, 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’ 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. Hillary and her husband live in Chesterfield with their daughter and cat.
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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