The 2018 nominees, finalists and award recipients come from different communities and departments and represent a wide variety of job positions and career lengths. While all Sun Health employees contribute to our overall success, these individuals were recognized by their peers and supervisors for excelling in areas vital to our mission. These areas include creativity and innovation, customer service, emerging leader, education and growth, teamwork and collaboration and two new awards: spirit of giving and Sun Health character.

Here are this year’s nominees, finalists and recipients in each of the categories.

Creativity & Innovation:

The nominees in this category were: April Styles, John Douglas, Josh Freegard, Natalie Dominguez, Sandy Sweezey, and the Grandview Terrace Life Enrichment team of and Nicole Sloggett, Hilda Abarca and Debbie Sables

The finalists in this category were: the Grandview Terrace Life Enrichment Team, April Styles and Josh Freegard.

The award was presented to Josh Freegard, Membership Counselor, Sun Health at Home

Josh thinks outside of the box and towards ideas that not only improve things for Sun Health at Home but also our Life Plan communities and the general community. Josh invests his time and is focused on thinking of ways to improve Sun Health.  For example, Josh has suggested a unique and valuable way to combine Sun Health at Home membership along with a charitable annuity through the Sun Health Foundation. Josh has very creative ideas on how to word our promotions and how to include numbers, quotes or facts that backup the Sun Health message. Overall, Josh is always our go-to expert on the tough long-term care financing/planning questions and is truly dedicated to SHAH.






Customer Service (two awardees)

The nominees in this category were: Amber Swenson, Chandra Black, Cheryl Ortega, Claudia Duque, Diane Herr, Edith Jenkins, Elizabeth Savocchia, John Douglas, Josh Freegard, Karen Usmiller, Kojo Fordjorn, Liz Miller, Marietta Thorpe, Marty Finley, Merideth Chen, Michael Ly, Nicole Holtsclaw, Terri Scott, and Willie Del Rosario.

The finalists in this category were: Chandra Black, Claudia Duque, Liz Miller and Nicole Holtsclaw.

The two awardees are Liz Miller and Nicole Holtzclaw.

Liz Miller, Catering Coordinator, Colonnade

In her job, Liz deals with many individuals daily – residents, Colonnade co-workers, other Sun Health employees and individuals from the community in her role as Catering Coordinator which she has had since May 2018.  There are over 300 residents and you couldn’t find a resident that would not have the most positive comments to say about Liz.  Liz is an asset to The Colonnade and the talents she brings to the dining team are exceptional.  Liz has the most positive attitude and will do anything to ensure everything she is involved with goes on as planned. She is very flexible, she is a team player and refers to her work as ‘this isn’t work, this is fun’! The dining staff she works with knows that Liz can be trusted for any reason and her response to any challenge that may come up is ‘we’ll make it work’! The word ‘can’t’ or ‘no’ just isn’t in Liz’s vocabulary.  Community members constantly validate what we have known all along—that Liz is absolutely an outstanding member of our team!  Liz is the definition of customer service!





Nicole Holtsclaw, Program Manager, Sun Health at Home

Nicole is the entry point for all that is Sun Health at Home.  Nicole embodies the true nature of our program which is to instill peace of mind, confidence and compassion in each member.  Nicole’s interaction with members and potential members is always professional, warm and nurturing.

An example of Nicole’s dedication to customer service happened this Spring when Sun Health at Home experienced the first loss of a member to death. The member’s significant other immediately called our office (not 911) to report that her partner had passed away. Nicole heard the news and immediately headed to their home and assisted with the notification to emergency services, coroner and family.  She remained with the member’s partner until all necessary arrangements had been made.  Nicole then arranged to visit the member’s partner the next day.  Nicole’s true compassion, willingness to help and heartfelt care for our members is extraordinary! Sun Health at Home is proud and honored to have Nicole a part of our team.


Emerging Leader

The nominee’s in this category are: Cherri Lee, John Douglas, Michael Ly, Nicole Holtsclaw, Rachel Collyer, Sandy Sweezey and Scott Felciano.

The finalists in this category are: Rachel Collyer, Scott Felciano and Nicole Holtsclaw.

The award went to Rachel Collyer, Membership Counselor, Sun Health at Home

Rachel has been with Sun Health over eight years taking on all facets of the many jobs she has had with Sun Health.  She has shown initiative by becoming Human Resources Certified, obtaining her Notary license and taking on many additional duties.   Since Rachel transferred to Sun Health at Home 9 months ago, she has made an enormous impact to the team and program.  Rachel is creative and always looks for opportunities to create better communication with the team and more importantly our program prospects. She makes every effort to provide clear concise information along with a unique ability to show care, concern and empathy.  Rachel is not afraid to challenge herself and others to strive for improvement.  She is a motivator, change maker and is highly organized which assists her team mates.  Rachel has the skills needed to become an effective leader for Sun Health; in fact, she is our future.





Education and Growth

The nominees in this category were:  Bhakti Gosalia, Desiree Fuentes, John Douglas, Keri McCormick, Luz Sutton, Meredith Chen, and Scott Felciano.

The finalists in this category were: Bhakti Gosalia, Desiree Fuentes and Scott Felciano.

The award went to Scott Felciano, Business Office Manager, Colonnade.

There are not many employees who have grown more within our Sun Health organization than Scott has over the past 11 years.  Scott began his career as a server at La Loma Village in 2007.  Scott always takes his job very seriously and treats both residents and fellow employees with courtesy and respect.  Scott then became the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director, a position he held for over 4 years.  It was during that time with La Loma that Scott enrolled in college in order to obtain his Associate’s, then his Bachelor’s degree in business and accounting. Scott didn’t just do the job he was hired to do; he is always willing to do more.  Scott was a member of the SHINE Committee that focuses on numerous volunteer events as well as raising money for community related events.  Scott was always there to help with events and would go out of his way to assist any resident, employee or department in need.  Fast-forward a couple of years and having to make a difficult decision to leave La Loma; where he had developed close relationships with all residents and staff during his eight years of employment; he became the AP and Payroll Coordinator for Sun Health Senior Living which led him to become responsible for all SHSL employees. It was while he was working in payroll that Scott completed his 4-year degree in accounting which later enabled him to apply for the Business Office Manager position at The Colonnade. He has been a part of The Colonnade team for over six months and although the degree is important, the way he cares for residents, co-workers and everyone around him is something that is not taught in any school.  Scott has dedicated 11 years to Sun Health and has truly grown from his first job as a server in the dining room to his new role as Business Office Manager at The Colonnade. Scott has grown in each role while at Sun Health but more importantly, he has grown as a person within our organization.


Teamwork and Collaboration

The nominees in this category are either nominated as an individual or a member of a team.

The individual nominees are: Aina Nuuyoma, Autum Cambell, Carlos Pino, Chandra Black, Debra Richards, Elizabeth Savocchia, John Douglas, Kojo Fordjorn, Marty Finley, Michael Ly, Sandy Sweezey, and Trisha Botma.

The Team nominees in category of outstanding teamwork and collaboration:

Spiritual Living: (David Klumpenhower, Jesse Charyn, Alrick Headley)

Sun Health Supportive Services: (Jermicka Juniel and SHSS Team: Jenny Bradley, Mary Acosta, Esmerelda Chavez, Denise Christian, Rose Del Rosario, Avegail Ebid, Mark Evertsen, Hector Garcia, Rosanna Guevara, Evangeline Hazlett, Kelly Hobart, Vicky Miftari, Cora Musni, Tess Williams, Shanna Hayes, Carolina Marin, Miranda Payne and Hanna Diaz. )

Care Transitions: (Shirley Burnette, Diane McKivitz, Marianne Del Debbio and Angela Marshall)

GVT Housekeeping: (Mary Sobarzo, Adriana Beteran, Ana Bejar, Andre Oakley, Aurora Contreras, Elizabeth Messer, Experanza Gutierrez, Guadalupe Perez, Josephine McGrier, Lisa Moore Whitte, Manuel Flores-Nava, Maria Romero, Maria Hernandez Pena, Maria Rivas, Maria Gonzalez, Maria Perez, Mariella Periera, Melissa Icezaga, Ofelia Lopez, Patricia Corona, Rosendo Excobedo, Saul Alvarez and Yolanda Duran)

Sun Health at Home: (Linda Esparza, Nicole Holtsclaw, Rachel Collyer, Barbara Mason, and Josh Freegard)

GVT Resident Services:  (Jeanice Hamilton, Katherine McDonnell, Janet Perry, Meredith Chen and Jamie Bates)

GVT Life Enrichment: (Hilda Abarca, Debbie Sables and Nicole Sloggett)

LLV Life Enrichment: (Sandy Sweezey and Jaynette Espinola)

The finalists in this category were: GVT Housekeeping; GVT Life Enrichment and GVT Resident Services.

The Grandview Terrace Housekeeping Team received the award.

Mary Sobarzo, Andy Lessard, Bhakti Gosalia and the Housekeeping Team, GVT Housekeeping

Mary received honest feedback from her team in the 2017 Engagement Survey and proactively took steps throughout 2017/2018 to improve engagement by fostering team building spirit.

Step 1:  Mary partnered with a coach, Deb Richards, Director of Community Programs, who helped her solidify a plan.

Step 2: Mary used department meetings to solicit input from her team and together work towards a common goal.

Step 3: The entire team had buy in—this year, they have demonstrated their willingness to share ideas and support one another.

Step 4: The results speak for themselves!  In addition to having the most improved engagement scores, Housekeeping was also the most improved in the 2018 Resident Satisfaction Survey! (Improved by 2.18% with ZERO unfavorable comments from Residents). Another result that Mary is very proud of is employee longevity!  Esperanza: 16 years; Aurora: 15 years; Maria P: 14 years, Maria G: 14 years, Josie: 14 years, Guadalupe P: 13 years, Adriana, 12 years and Liz and several others have been at GVT for over 6 years.  This is truly impressive track record for longevity in this department.

Step 5: Together, they serve as an excellent example of what can be accomplished when a team is in sync and well-aligned with our Sun Health Culture.

2017-2018 Engagement Survey Results:

Disengaged—10.5% (0% decrease)

Ambivalent—15.8% to 4.8% (11% decrease)

Content –47.4% to 52.4% (5% increase)

Engaged – 26.3% to 42.9% (16.6% increase)


Spirit of Giving Award

The finalists in this category were: Dominic Agustin and Mary Davidson

The awardee is Dominic Agustin, House person, The Colonnade.

There are several categories that Dominic could be nominated for, but the Spirit of Giving overall best fits his passion for giving and helping others.  Dominic is a house person for the Colonnade and is known to be extremely dependable, credible and caring.  I have learned that Dominic spends his free time throughout the year collecting cans and plastic bottles and sells them to recycling plants.  He takes the money earned from this and donates it to the SHINE committee drive every summer who in turn purchases backpacks and school supplies for children in need.  In addition, Dominic who hasn’t visited his homeland, the Philippines, in over 20 years and was able to do so earlier in 2018.  Instead of over packing his suitcase with ALL of the normal items we may or may not use during a vacation, instead, he went shopping for backpacks and school supplies and packed as many as he could in his suitcase.  During his time in the Philippines, he purchased additional school supplies and visited orphanages and provided school supplies to the students.  He consistently emphasizes the importance of education to his high school daughter who is on the fast track to a full ride scholarship at graduation!  Not only does Dominic spend his free time recycling, he also finds peace in the creation of something new from recycled materials.  He has made furniture, bracelets, necklaces and dream catchers just to name a few.  These are just a few of the stories Dominic has shared, but I can promise he has many more stories like this to share.

Sun Health Character

The nominees in this category were: Barbara Mason, Caleb Harrell, Cartreal Mixon, Elizabeth Savocchia, Jennifer Drago, Michael Ly, Rachel Collyer, Rose Vandervort, Zhamade Scott and Terry Wallace.

The finalists in this category were: Michael Ly, Rose Vandervort and Terry Wallace.

The award was presented to Rose Vandervort, Business Office Manager, La Loma Village.

Rose is the Business Office Manager at La Loma Village and demonstrates the 6 C’s consistently!

Customer Focus: Rose has a heart for the residents and quickly responds to any questions or concerns.  She takes an interest in the residents beyond their business needs by developing relationships and caring for them as individuals.  Rose also views the staff as her customer, ensuring that managers have the tools they need to be competent with business office matters.

Communication: Rose’s written and verbal communication is clear, concise and professional.  Rose listens well and takes notes to ensure that she has a record of tasks she must complete when she returns to her office and understands how her actions impact others and handles tough conversations with grace.

Collaboration & Teamwork:  This is the area that Rose really shines.  As the business office manager, she collaborates with all the managers and many other staff and has a positive attitude.  Rose made a significant contribution to assist the business office at The Colonnade for 12 weeks while their business office manager was on leave.  During that time, Rose spent many hours at The Colonnade on top of her duties at La Loma Village.

Creativity and Innovation: Rose finds ways to be creative with designing various reports that provide valuable information from annual capital expenses to the average daily census. Many of these reports are not the standard reports; they are customized reports that allow the team to have a better understanding of their department performance. Rose listens to the needs of the team and develops creative ways to help find a solution.

Credibility: Rose displays credibility by making ethical choices consistently and being trustworthy.  When Rose says she will do something, it will get done in a timely manner and is of the highest quality.

Commitment to Compliance: Rose consistently adheres to company policies and expects the same from her co-workers. She sets a high standard for compliance expectations and is a model employee.


35-year service awardee Warren Tyler


35 Years – Warren Tyler

30 Years – Bhakti Gosalia

25 Years – Bill Sellner, Mary Sabarzo

20 Years – Susan Mallery, Vickie Brown

15 Years – Aurora Contreras, Barbara Fabian, Dulce Garcia, Esperanza Gutierrez, Jane Swanson, Laura Bautista, Marianne Del Debbio, Merrilee Demartini, Rosalva Rivas, Thomas Villa, Yessenia Morales

10 Years – Adriana Caldwell, Aminat Alade, Christine Spiwak, Dan Liguori, Dawn Hoberg, Jessica Espiritu, Jim Baxter, Jose Arriaga, Lale Drost, Laura Garcia, Leonel Orduno, Lourdes Serrano, Lynda Persson, Maria Pedroza, Pat Pierce, Scott Felciano, Susan Gamble, Teri Scott

5 Years – Alicia Jamieson, April Styles, Cathy Buyno, Daniel Cisneros Cruz, David Ihrig, Diane McKivitz, Elizabeth Messer, George Beard, Jimmy Anifowose, John Douglas, John Tucker, Josephine McGrier, Kevin Luke, Linda Lessard, Mark Joyce, Mathew Cerny, Michael Nabea, Michael Quinones, Moayed Hanna, Paul Lopez, Ronnie Randle, Sandra Pulido, Saul Alvarez, Sondra Smull, Teresita Williams, Willie Del Rosario

2 Years – Adaobi Umeh, Amanda Jelks, Anthony Matlock, Antonio Soriano-Trujillo, Brenda Richardson, Cameron Price, Carlos Pino, Carly Myers, Carmel Sherrod, Cartreal Mixon, Cheyann Paulk, Christopher Elias, David Klumpenhower, Deanna Dubray, Denise Christian, Dezire Martinez, Diane Herr, Dora Argueta, Freddie Kirker, Genet Ephraim, Hien Phan, Isidro Magallanes, Janet Landskroner, Jeanice Hamilton, Jennifer Ludlow, Jerrod Norton, Jim Murray, Josh Freegard, Justine Sealie, Keegan McConnell, Kettly Vesseau, Leslie Brubaker, Liesel Damota, Liz Miller, Lizbeth Ortega Perez, Lorie Norton, Luz Sutton, Manuella Khoshaba, Marietta Thorpe, Marilee Ruby, Mark Evertsen, Marlina Bernales, Martha Rada, Mary Anne Poggenburg, Michael Ly, Mick Dawson, Nancy Madden, Natali Yakoub, Nicholas Rivas, Nicole Holtsclaw, Patricia Leyva, Pearl Quast, Rachael Crawford, Rey Aranas, Rick Bailey, Rosa Castro Garcia, Rose Mapendo, Rose Vandervort, Rosendo Escobedo, Shari John, Silvia Sarabia, Susan Lauretti, Susan Welter, Tahlya Visintainer, Taylor Finister, Teddy Scott, Thomas Collyer, Thomas McGrath, T’rassa Brown, Wendy Bennett, Will Kretchmer

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