Leadership

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 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.

Vice President, VBH Foundation: Patricia Morris

Pat has more than 30 years in fundraising, marketing, and nonprofit governance.  Prior to joining Lifespire in 2011, she raised funds for the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, the Children’s Museum of Richmond, and FeedMore.  Prior to entering fundraising, she worked in retail marketing, communications, and merchandising for national and regional retail chains.

Throughout her fundraising career, she has also served as an adjunctive instructor with the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University.  She holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts and Master’s in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. Pat has served on many nonprofit boards in the Richmond area.  She was Co-Chair of the annual Virginia Fund Raising Institute for two state conferences, Chair of the Boards of the VA Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the VA Association of Fundraising Executives (VAFRE), and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Philanthropy Network of Leading Age Virginia.  She was honored in 2012 by VAFRE with the Nina Abady Award, a lifetime achievement award for ethical fundraising.

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.

Director of Development, 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.

Controller: Tiffany Flora

Tiffany 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. Tiffany has more than 20 years’ experience in progressive leadership roles in accounting and finance with a concentration in healthcare and nonprofit organizations, including Aetna Medicaid, Kissito Healthcare and Interim Healthcare. Tiffany also previously worked as controller for The Forest at Duke, a continuing care retirement community in Durham, North Carolina. Tiffany holds a bachelor’s of business administration from James Madison University. She lives in the Richmond area.

Corporate Director of Clinical Services: Paula Bolton

Paula, a Registered Nurse and licensed Assisted Living Administrator and Assisted Living Administrator Preceptor, holds the position of Director 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. Paula’s career has been dedicated to serving seniors and their families.  

Corporate Director of Human Resources: Megan Leftwich, M.Ed., SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Megan oversees all LifeSpire Human Resources functions, which aims to make LifeSpire an employer of choice in all of our market.  She and her team support functions such as recruiting, onboarding, training, payroll, benefits, employee relations, employment issues, workers comp, HR metrics, risk management, and legal compliance.  Megan grew up in Connecticut and came to Virginia to complete her undergraduate studies at the University of Richmond, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Science and Sociology.  She completed her graduate studies at Virginia Commonwealth University where she earned a Master of Education in Adult Learning with a concentration in Human Resource Development.   She is also certified as Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by HRCI as well as a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).  Megan joined LifeSpire in 2007 as the Staff Development Coordinator at the Lakewood community. She later moved into the HR Director role at Lakewood before being promoted to the Corporate Director of HR at the Home Office.   Megan lives with her husband Paul in Glen Allen, VA.  

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 he is pursuing 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.

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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