Probably one of the most extraordinary advantages The Ivey has to offer is the longevity and expertise of our staff. Low staff turnover results in better understanding of each member’s unique needs and desires, and brings security to our members with familiar and loving staff each and every day. Additionally, a strong bond is created between staff and family caregivers, resulting in more efficient communication and intimate understanding of the hopes and goals for their loved one.
Learn more about our extraordinary team of leaders and professionals below:
Lynn Ivey, Founder and CEO
Lynn is the CEO and Founder of The Ivey, a not-for-profit Memory Wellness Day Center providing a daytime solution for families and their loved ones living with memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment. Built 10 years ago as an enduring tribute to her mother, who lived with Alzheimer’s disease, and her father, who was her mother’s loving caregiver, The Ivey is Charlotte’s only Memory Wellness Day Center. Recognizing that Alzheimer’s is a “whole family disease,” Lynn envisioned a unique special place that would provide support and empowerment for the whole family.
With over 25 years of experience in the banking industry with Bank of America and Wells Fargo/Wachovia predecessor, First Union, Lynn relocated many times and led teams of successful mortgage sales associates and retail consumer branch professionals, achieving #1 market shares of deposits and loans in each of the cities she worked. Her last two roles (Bank of America’s SC Coastal Consumer Market Executive in Charleston, SC and National Sales Process Manager in Charlotte) gave Lynn the confidence and expertise necessary to launch a project such as The Ivey. While based in Charleston, she had responsibility for over 400 associates, 40 branches, and $75 million in assets. Her market was ranked among the highest among her peers in the Carolinas in many key areas of success and profitability. Upon return to Charlotte after Charleston, she created a role that ultimately deployed over 200 new associates nationwide. She led the project team which developed this new coach role from the ground up, including salary and incentive programs, strategic recruiting, and training and development. Lynn’s successful career was attributable to her business savvy and ability to surround herself with the right team players at the right time. Her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a major in Accounting also served her well in the development and implementation of her entrepreneurial venture.
Now, Lynn is recognized as a leading expert in the field of dementia care in the Charlotte community. As a tireless community patron, she has served on several boards, coalitions and committees for aging-related initiatives and remains involved in organizations that mentor and foster success for women executives and women-owned businesses.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? I was born in Raleigh, but moved to Wilmington when I was 3 years old.
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? As fate would have it, I find that I am a long distance caregiver once again, this time for my father who now also lives with dementia in Wilmington in a nursing facility. Between traveling to Wilmington for monthly visits and Skyping with Dad three times a week, I enjoy relaxing on weekends with Lacey, my 11 year old Bichon Frise dog, and steadfast companion, John, who lost his wife to Alzheimer’s.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “It only takes a minute to remember why The Ivey is so special when I see the joy on members’ faces as they sing familiar songs or when I receive a tearful hug from a family member in appreciation for taking care of their loved one. Each time, it’s like watching and hugging my parents. Indeed, the journey is the reward.
Janet LeClair, Chief Operating Officer
After graduating Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA with a degree in Accounting and Marketing, Janet moved to Atlanta and started a 25 years career in the financial services industry, 12 years of which were spent in NJ and now 20 years in Charlotte. She has enjoyed a very diverse work history, having spent many years in Human Resources, Client Service and Operations, Financial management and General management roles, primarily in the Banking, HR Technology/Service and now the Non-Profit sector. Janet is also very active in the community, currently serving on both the Mint Museum’s American Art Board and Ballantyne Country Club board. Previously, she served on the St. Matthew’s Church Finance and Leadership Committees, the Mecklenburg Area Catholic Foundation Board, the Mint Museum Board of Trustees and The Ivey Board.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? I was born in New York City and spent my entire childhood in a VERY small town in NJ called Glen Gardner – population 800! Went to college at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? Spend the evening with family and friends. Playing golf. Heading to the beach. Relaxing and reading a good book.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “Working at The Ivey is a dream role for me. Given my mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, I know first-hand the demands and challenges families face as they navigate this journey. As a member of The Ivey team, I have the opportunity to leverage my strengths and experiences to improve the quality of life for our families.”
Wendy Laxton, Chief Financial Officer
Wendy has spent more than 25 years providing financial and strategic leadership to growing, dynamic organizations. She has served as a controller, chief financial officer, and consultant to construction, real estate, not-for-profit, and other service-oriented companies. In addition, Wendy has served as treasurer for several not-for-profit institutions, including Women Executives and Leadership Charlotte, where she also served as its board president. Wendy was recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal in 2003 as a “40 Under 40” for her professional achievements and community leadership. She was honored again by the Charlotte Business Journal in 2004 with the Top 25 Women In Business Achievement Award for her professional accomplishments as CFO of Tyler 2 Construction. Wendy’s depth of financial and strategic expertise is a tremendous asset to The Ivey.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? Spent my teen years in Poquoson, VA (suburb of Hampton and close to Williamsburg).
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? If it’s a nice day, hanging out at US National White Water Center is a great way to spend my time. Or, I’m home watching English Premier League Soccer (Chelsea is favorite team), getting in a workout, and just chilling out with family (humans and dogs).
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “The staff at The Ivey genuinely transforms the lives of families living with the impact of dementia and Alzheimer’s. The Ivey doesn’t just enrich the experience of the individual with dementia through unconditional care, active listening, and fun, energizing activities. We also transform the lives of the family caregivers by providing resources, daily respite, freedom from constant worry, and a safety net when help is needed. In short, I am moved by the gift of enriching and meaningful time that The Ivey provides the whole family.”
Eileen Behan, Family Resources Manager
Eileen has over 30 years experience in Human Resources at Duke Energy Corporation with expertise in employee relations, performance management, and training. She joined The Ivey in April 2008 and serves as Family Resources Director. At The Ivey, Eileen is responsible for inside sales, tours and enrollments of new members. In this role, she manages new and ongoing relationships with families and members and serves as resource and support to family caregivers.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? Born in Buffalo, NY. Raised there until age 13, then moved to suburb of Cleveland, Ohio until 23 yrs of age. Then to Charlotte!
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? Actually, I like to have a quiet weekend. I like sleeping in, watching old movies on TMC, getting caught up on personal emails and taking naps!
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “Helping families, helping members. Loving the families and members –and being loved by them.”
Vikki Hunley, Marketing Director
After earning a BA Degree in Psychology from Queens University, Vikki took her skills and interest in helping people identify opportunities to overcome obstacles and achieve personal goals, and applied them to create a marketing communications consultancy career – positioning products and services, identifying opportunities to overcome obstacles and achieve company goals. Vikki brings more than 30 years of sales, marketing and advertising experience with a broad background in Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing/Brand Management across the spectrum of industries. Through her professional work with non-profit clients, she developed a passion for serving, finding time and opportunity to become personally involved as an advocate for the underserved, serving groups ranging from teens to seniors.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? Born in Tucson, AZ. Grew up in Monroe, NC. Attended Queens University, Charlotte. Stayed in Charlotte!
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? Weekends are catch up days – to catch up on friends, family, rest and exercise. In the wintertime, Sunday afternoons are a bowl of soup and a good book – or football! In the summer, Sunday afternoons are porch parties with neighbors and friends.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “For me, the notion that we can help each other live life to the fullest has been redefined by the work I do at The Ivey to help families living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. In my efforts to encourage and support families to find the courage and stamina to live with this disease, I’ve received the most marvelous gift of realizing unwavering love and determination.”
Carey Barnett– Bookeeper
Having previously attended Appalachian State University, Carey is now pursuing a Human Services degree at Wingate University. Prior to The Ivey, she had a 14-year career in banking.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? I was born in Winter Park, FL, and grow up in Central Florida.
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? Right now, I spend my weekend studying!
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “I love what I do. I love giving and receiving hugs and watching our members’ faces light up. The Ivey is a unique place to work – everyone is here because they want to be here. No one sees it as a job!”
Eileen Moneta– Guest Relations
With a Bachelor of Science degree from Plattsburgh State University College, Eileen wields extensive experience in accounting, property management, sales, customer service, and administration and management. In the Charlotte area, she has worked with The Poteet Group, Family Dollar, Carolina Business Interiors, and Wray Ward. At The Ivey, her unrivaled skills in Guest Relations are evident as she greets members, signs them in and gets their day with us off to a perfect start. Eileen also tracks our daily attendance and commitments, helps run lunch setup and service, and oversees a variety of other vital functions that keep The Ivey running smoothly and keep our members smiling throughout the day.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? I was born in Brooklyn,NY, and grew up in the Catskill Mountains and Santa Rosa, CA.
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? Swimming, walking or reading.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “I love helping others. Kindness matters! I love maintaining our members’ dignity. They deserve that love, and their families are very grateful for what I do.”
Matt Olin– Copywriter
Matt has a B.A. in English and Film from UNC-Chapel Hill and a MFA in Theater Producing from Columbia University. He specializes in copywriting and brand creation. For The Ivey, he writes many of our external and internal communication pieces, as well as oversees the creative development and written content of our website, printed collateral, social media, and more. He also maintains a secret life as a theatre producer, and has produced projects everywhere from Broadway (high profile) to hotel rooms (covert). Matt has a deep passion for connecting, supporting and inspiring fellow creative people throughout the Charlotte region.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? I was born in Oneida, NY – yup, the same place where they make the silverware that is then given away on The Price Is Right. My childhood involved a lot of moving around, but by the time I was in the 5th grade, Charlotte became home!
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? Playing around town with my amazing wife and beautiful daughter.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “As a writer, anytime I realize there’s an amazing story waiting to be told, I get excited. The Ivey, its staff, its members and their families all have amazing stories. It’s an honor to play my part in sharing those stories with the Charlotte community, and to help communicate the remarkable work that this organization is doing.”
Mark Zink– Executive Chef
Trained at the Culinary Institute of America, Mark Zink has enjoyed a long career as a Chef in New York, Louisiana and North Carolina. He has served as Pastry Chef at such legendary restaurants as Commander’s Palace in New Orleans and The Water Club in New York City. Mark also teaches as a Culinary Instructor at the Art Institute of Charlotte and at The Culinary School at Horry Georgetown Technical College. He has served as an Advisory Board member for the New York Restaurant School and is currently a member of the American Culinary Federation.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up?Born in Knoxville Tennessee, raised here in Charlotte.
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon?Hiking, mountain biking, gardening, or watching the Formula One race.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? I wound up working as a Chef in large part because it seemed to me to be an honorable way to make a living. Feeding people good food enriches their lives physically, awakens their sense of sensual pleasure, and promotes civility and good conversation. Working at The Ivey allows me to provide these tangible yet rare benefits to a population that particularly needs them.
Don Olin, Chair
Founder and former owner of Partners in Care
Connection to The Ivey mission: deep experience and passion for caregiving services
Glenn Grossman, Past Chair
Connection to The Ivey mission: develops technology solutions for senior care settings
The Board of Directors is currently recruiting new members for at least 3 additional slots.
Founding Roster 2009-2012
Retired CEO, Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region
National Vice President Community Health, Susan B. Komen For The Cure
The Ivey is proud to have a full time nursing team to serve our members’ healthcare needs and really get to know them personally. You can always count on someone from our care staff to greet you each day when you arrive, and to thoroughly report to you on their day when you pick up your loved one.
Lisa Grodi, RN, Healthcare Coordinator
Lisa joined us in July 2014. Having achieved her RN degree from Mercy College of Northwest Ohio, she has an abundance of experience in nursing roles at St. Charles Hospital (Oregon, OH), Carepoint in Charlotte, and Carolinas Medical Center in Pineville – where she acted as charge nurse for a 32-bed unit, worked as a Diabetes Liaison, and served on the Nursing Quality Improvement Committee and the Unit Based Council.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? I was born in Grand Rapids, OH, 45 minutes west of Toledo. I lived there all my life, until five years ago!
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? Hanging out with my family – either in the woods or on my bike (woods or road!). I love to be outdoors.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “I love being able to come to work and spend time with our members that I have developed such a close relationship with. One of my favorite times of the day is when I greet our members in the morning – I get lots of hugs and kisses every morning, which I love! I also enjoy the close relationships I am able to build with the members’ families. We have our own “family” here at The Ivey
Sarah McGimsey, RN, Healthcare Coordinator
Sarah started with The Ivey in 2008 as an Intern in Nutrition from Appalachian State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Foods and Nutrition. Because of her love of seniors and helping people, she decided to work full time with The Ivey after graduation. Later in 2010, she returned to school to study nursing. Officially licensed as an RN in 2012, she works at Carolinas Medical Center in cardiology and also spends an average of 30 or more hours per week at The Ivey, helping to manage our medical protocols, personal care services, and nursing team.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “It’s such an amazing experience to spend the day with our members. They always have something interesting to say. I love to hear their stories. I especially get a kick out of it when they ask about my love life and want to give me advice!”
Jessica Martin, SLP, Onsite Program Manager, Genesis Rehabilitation Services GRS Program
Jessica earned an undergraduate and Master’s degree in Communication Disorders from Appalachian State University. She has worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist with Genesis Rehabilitation Services since 2008 and as a Program Manager of rehab since 2010. In 2012, she received Master Clinician status, focusing in dementia. Part of her role at The Ivey involves monitoring the current stage of dementia of each member and educating the family on recommendations for successful interactions through cueing, retraining and/or compensating for the member’s specific stage. She also provides valuable ongoing recommendations for physical, occupational and/or speech therapies to help the individual member regain and/or compensate for their specific needs.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? I grew up in Greenville, SC.
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? I love spending weekend time at the pool with my family.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “I enjoy seeing the difference The Ivey makes in the lives of our members and their families. It’s so amazing to hear how our program has made such a positive impact on their lives.”
Leah started at The Ivey as a volunteer in December 2014. She has a BA in Sociology from UNC-Charlotte, as well as a Masters in Human Development and Learning. She is currently earning her Gerontology Graduate Certificate. Previous experience includes work as a Substance Abuse Counselor at The Chemical Dependence Center, as a teacher at Countryside Montessori School, and as a Team Development Facilitator at the US Whitewater Center.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? I was born in Galveston, Texas and lived there until age 12. From ages 12-18, I lives in El Dorado, Arkansas.
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? I love gatherings with family and friends.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “I value the relationships I have with our members and their families. I appreciate being a part of a culture that has love and respect as its top priorities.”
Nicole Wood, CNA, Care Partner
Nicole graduated from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, earning a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology, and someday hopes to pursue a Masters in Physician Assistant studies. After three years of working in an adult day care facility in Raleigh, NC she confirmed her “place to be” is with seniors! She absolutely loves her job of helping our members with activities, meals, and personal care. She is especially appreciative of all the warm smiles and kind words she receives daily from the members for whom she lovingly provides care.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? I was born in Texas and grew up in the US Virgin Islands and Georgia.
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? Having fun with friends or hanging out with friends and my husband. And food being involved is always a plus.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “I felt welcomed from the minute I walked in the door. I was a new face to the members but it didn’t bother them one bit. They loved me on the first day and continue to love me each day.”
Life Enrichment Team
Each day, with the support, dedication and hard work of the Life Enhancement Team, members are involved in daily socialization and stimulation, programs for well being and fitness, creative arts and dance, intellectual challenges, discussions and a lot of fun and laughter.
Paige Swientisky, CTRS – Recreational Therapist
Paige graduated from Radford University with a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Parks & Tourism, and double-concentrated in Therapeutic Recreation and Outdoor Studies. She has worked with many different populations, including teens with special needs, adults in the psychiatric unit and also the elderly in long term care. She is excited to continue her career in Charlotte, NC here at The Ivey.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? I was born in Arlington, VA and lived in Fairfax, VA until moving to Charlotte in February 2016.
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? Doing anything outdoors with my husband and two pups here in beautiful North Carolina!
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “I have never worked at a place where both the staff and members all genuinely care about each other so much. It makes coming to work a great experience!”
Tracey Esser, AP-BC, MT-BC, Music Therapy Program Director
With a Bachelor of Music Therapy degree from Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA, Tracey then completed an internship at Charter Westbrook Hospital in Richmond. She has worked in long term care as an Activity Director for eight years, and is a Board Certified Music Therapist and Activity Professional.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? I was born in Lynchburg, VA, and grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and Amherst County, VA.
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? Relaxing with family and friends.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “My passion is bringing joy to others.”
Jen Sexton – Program Development Coordinator
Jen has a BA in Communications and Business from NC State University, and she’s also a certified life coach. She has a wealth of experience in the elder care sector, including over a decade years in home care and two years in various contract work throughout the senior care industry. She brings to The Ivey valuable experience as an Office Manager, Staffing Professional, Director of Operations, Project Coordinator and Program Development.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? Born in Oneida, NY, and grew up right here in Charlotte!
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? Traveling to Asheville and spending time with my two kids.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “When you walk into The Ivey, there is no doubt that every member is well taken care of and loved. What you don’t see is the support and feeling of family we give the caregivers of our members. I am most proud of being a part of the team that supports, guides and coaches those who care for their loved ones when they go home at 5:30pm each day. It is of equal importance.”
Lela Kometiani, Art Therapy Program Coordinator
With an MA in graphic design from the Academy of Fine Arts of Tbilisi (Georgia) and a BA in Teaching and Painting from Nikoladze College of Arts (Georgia), Lela is an art educator and a professional artist with more than 16 years of teaching expertise. Her experience working with older adults includes leading “Art From the Heart” program sessions for clients’ with dementia at SAGE Eldercare – Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, and serving as art coordinator for independent, assisting, and memory care groups at Hermitage, United Methodist Homes.
Where were you born and/or where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Tbilisi, which is the capital of Georgia, a small country located in the Eastern Europe. It is about the size of South Carolina. In 1993, my husband was invited to work as a scientist at the University of California. This opportunity led my family to move over to the United States. Throughout the years, the United States became another home for my family.
Favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? I enjoy spending weekends with my kids, husband, and mother, in addition to spending quality time outside in the nature. I always carry my sketchbook with me and create sketches for future projects and artworks. I enjoy attending concerts and new exhibitions in the area, as well.
What excites you about your work at The Ivey and the contribution you make here? “I relish the opportunity to work with members, demonstrate art techniques, share laughter or an interesting story while working on projects. It feels great to see the members get excited by the results of their hard work at the end of each session. I believe that the process of making art is a life enhancing experience in many ways. As an art educator, nothing is more rewarding for me than contributing to The Ivey and enhancing members’ memory, imagination and lives through the magic of arts.”