Board and Advisory Council

Suzanne Anderson, Executive Director, AGE of Central Texas

Suzanne Anderson joined the AGE of Central Texas Team as Executive Director in November of 2018, bringing a knowledge of non-profit management to the movement.

In her previous career with Special Olympics Texas spanning 26 years, Anderson supervises all aspects of competition and games, training, outreach and families, volunteers and statewide field operations. Under her leadership, Special Olympics Texas served more athletes than ever before with a strategic growth plan for continued outreach and support of people with intellectual disabilities and closely related developmental disabilities. In addition, Anderson led the way for a Global Partnership with Mexico, including support of trainings and lending her expertise.

Most recently, Anderson served as the Interim CEO of Special Olympics Texas, handling all aspects of organizational strategy and growth, working hand in hand with the Board of Directors to strengthen organizational performance.

Anderson holds both a B.A. and M.A. from Trinity University in the field of psychology.

Hobbies include playing soccer, cycling, hiking and anything that has to do with the outdoors.

Lisa Barden, Executive Director, Keep Austin Fed

After graduating with a Math degree, Lisa moved to Austin and jumped into an IT career at The University of Texas. After 22 years as a “cube jockey”, she decided she wanted more, so she left to pursue her desire to start a business encouraging fitness for everyone.

Life made another right turn when Lisa started volunteering with Keep Austin Fed after watching the documentary Just Eat It, in May 2015. Astounded by facts on the prevalence of food insecurity and the vast amount of perfectly good food that gets thrown away she immediately signed up to be a part of the solution.

Lisa says she is “humbly energized” by the appreciation in the faces and voices of the recipients. Her passion and dedication to the cause, which started with just a few hours a week, have led to her current role as the organization’s Executive Director.

Richard Bondi, Texas Health & Human Services Commission (Board Treasurer) 

Born in Denver, Richard lived in Colorado until 1997. Afterwards living in San Francisco, California followed by Arlington, Virginia and moving to Austin, Texas in 2003.

Richard received a BA in Comparative English Literature from the University of Denver and has attended various institutions for courses in post-graduate study.

Richard worked in the private sector for twelve years with MCI Telecommunications, Inc., in numerous positions, including those in senior management. Since 2005 Richard has worked for the State of Texas at both the Texas Department of Transportation and the Health & Human Services Commission in telecommunications-related positions.

Richard has over 25 years of experience volunteering in social service and advocacy groups, including 12 years with Coming of Age Austin. Richard is currently actively involved on the Board of Coming of Age Austin, a SAGE Volunteer Education Ambassador, Austin LGBT Coalition on Aging and founding member of the Austin LGBT Elder Task Force.

Socar Chatmon-Thomas, Realtor & TREC Certified Instructor

Socar Chatmon-Thomas is a Broker/Owner of Elegant Estates by Auction, in Austin. As a top producer with more than 19 years of experience, she has received several honors for her work in real estate, including the coveted Omega Tau Rho award, and is an active member of the Realtor organization.

In 2008, Socar served as Chairman to the Austin Board of Realtors and has served on their board of directors since 2001. In addition, she has served as a Director for the National Association of Realtors since 2007 and was the President of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers from 2000-2002.

Currently, Socar is a Certifed Texas Realtors University Instructor. She comes from a long line of educators, her mother taught elementary school in Houston for over 33 years. Socar brings energy, enthusiasm and positive attitude to the classroom. She enjoys real estate and is passionate about excellence as well as education.

Penny Cedel,  Concordia University (Board Vice-President)Penny 7

Besides being a wife, mother, and community volunteer, Penny is a registered nurse with 35+ years of experience and has worked in many different areas of nursing throughout her career.  She developed a hospice program when hospice care was in its infancy.  As an Air Force wife she volunteered and worked while they were stationed around the world (places including Japan, Pakistan, Europe and Korea.)   She also managed several family practice offices while living in Virginia and Michigan.

After moving to Austin, TX, she worked with Girling Healthcare to begin their hospice program and later their satellite program in Burnet.  Until 2013, she was a part of the team at Virginia College where she taught in the medical care program.  When her elderly mother needed additional care Penny devoted her time to caring for her and completed an additional degree in Healthcare Administration.

In Sunset Valley she spearheaded a program for retired seniors and is a member of the Economic Growth & Development committee. She is certified through the Agency on Aging and has taught their course on Fall Awareness and Prevention to seniors in the local area.  She is on the board of Coming of Age is chairman of the Advisory Board of the Assistance League of Austin, and is active in her local church.

Something she enjoys greatly is spending time as an outreach ambassador and volunteer for Concordia University Texas where her husband Tom served as president for 12 years.

She and Tom currently split their time between south Austin and Valparaiso IN. where he serves as a distinguished visiting professor.  Penny sits on the board of the Valparaiso Women’s Association (helping women coming from difficult situations get a second chance in life), is a member of the local Chamber, is active at the local YMCA and volunteers at the Bethesda Thrift Shop.

They have two married children, David (of Fairfax, VA) and Becky (of Billings, MT) and two grandchildren whom they enjoy spending time visiting.

Nola Marie Dilworth, Volunteer

Compassion in Action has been a term used to describe some of our volunteers and the service they do. Nola Marie Dilworth is truly representative of that term. She joined Coming of Age in 2012 and she’s already volunteered over 2,300 hours.

She volunteers Monday – Thursday with the Sickle Cell Association at the Austin Marc Thomas Foundation. Her volunteer service requires someone to have a very compassionate demeanor when she sends out notification letters from the health department informing parents that their child was born with the Sickle Cell trait.

After the letters are sent out she must do follow up care calls to the parents to check on the well being of their child. She goes out and represents the Sickle Cell Association at different health fairs across the city. She makes arrangement calls and mails out flyers to the Sickle Cell clients about the Sickle Cell walk, Sickle Cell Camp, Sickle Cell Picnic that they have for the clients and their families along with contacting them about the annual Christmas Pajama Breakfast Party that they have every year. She also keeps records of all donations that are mailed into the office.

Her second volunteer placement is on Monday evenings with Hospice Austin’s Christopher House. While there she visits with all the patients and their families. She checks to see if they have a particular need such as someone to talk to or someone to read to them. She gets   additional  blankets, takes their food trays for them, someone may need her to get the nurse for them quickly and just maybe get a wheelchair.

She also takes family members on a tour of the building and she’s  there to hold their hands in a time of need. She has also represented  Hospice Austin’s Christopher House at health fairs. Our community is a better place because of people like Nola Marie and we are lucky to have her represent Coming of Age and we are proud of the work she does.

Jody Gray, The Gray Law Firm, P.C. (Board Secretary)

Coming of Age is pleased to welcome Jody Lynn Gray who joined our Advisory Council last summer. Jody is an attorney and she currently is working as an Outside Counsel/Contract Attorney for Jones & Spross.

Jody began her legal career in Los Angeles, California, where she spent seven years at New Line Cinema working on film and TV production contracts. She was lucky enough to accept a “contract” position with the company after the birth of her son, Colin. When Jody and her husband were expecting their second child, Megan, her husband’s company made the decision to move their base of operations to Austin. They jumped at the chance to bring  their family to Texas.

Over the past few years Jody has volunteered at Heavenly Care HomeHealth, where she would run various errands with individuals who where not able to do so on their own (renew state IDs, grocery shopping, lunch out, dry cleaning, etc.). This experience turned into a great friendship with one particular woman where they continued to get pedicures on a monthly basis over the past 2½ years. In addition, her neighborhood community has been raising money and supplies for a Community First Village micro-home.

She is  also active in the PTA at her daughter’s elementary school. She has been the chairman of the fall festival fundraiser for the past two years (carnival style festival where they raise money through sponsorships from local businesses, silent auction, ticket sales and food sales). In just the past two years, they have raised over $50,000 for the school’s PTA which uses the money to fund teacher grants and help subsidize after school activities.

Jody says, “I believe that no one is too old nor too young, too rich nor too poor to give back to the community. Getting my children involved in community service and/or volunteering is very important to me and I hope to lead by example”.

Cindy Gunderson, HR Consultant/Independent Contractor

Cindy started volunteering in high-school with an adopt a grandparent program.  She went to home-bound elderly individuals to not only make sure they were safe but to engage in conversations which eventually developed in to meaningful friendships. Visiting the elderly in their homes is something Cindy continued to do for years and made  many good friends.

Homelessness and Hunger are other causes Cindy works with and feels strongly about learning from and giving to.

A lesson learned throughout volunteering is that everyone, regardless of circumstances, wants to give and has something to share.  It is amazing to see those being “served” also serving.  It is a beautiful example to Cindy on how the world was intended to be.

Cindy is a certified Senior Human Resource Professional with over 25 years of experience as an HR Professional.  In this role, Cindy continues to serve those she works with so that they can be connected to their work, and their community.

Music is another universal tool Cindy enjoys.  She thinks it’s fun to see the wide range of people, music brings together.

Cindy volunteers with Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Operation Turkey, the Free Store and served on the Capital Area Food Bank board for over 10 years.

Dr. Karen Hayward, Ph.D., Community Volunteer

Karen Hayward is currently retired and has been a long-time community volunteer for Coming of Age, for BookSpring, and is a Docent at the Wildflower Center.

Prior to retirement she worked in areas relating to public health for the State of Texas and for Travis County, primarily focusing on substance abuse and on issues of women and children.  While working for Travis County Health and Human Services, she started the first local Reach Out and Read early literacy programs in local health clinics.  To sustain and grow those services, she led efforts to start the Capital Area Reach Out and Read non-profit.  Several years ago, this organization merged with another non-profit to form BookSpring.

She has a BS Degree in Nursing from UNC-Chapel Hill, a MS in Psychology from TX A&M Corpus Christi and a PhD in Educational Psychology from UT Austin.

She enjoys time with her grand children and also loves traveling.  Her hobbies include hiking, reading, and gardening.

Alice Latino, Heavenly Care Home Health (Board President)Alice Latino-4396-Edit-Edit

Even as a very small child, Alice has always had an incredible love for the elderly. Her relationship with her grandparents is something she has always treasured, and it truly shaped her life into one of gratitude and a desire to help.  She brought this passion with her throughout her life, and launched into her career to make a difference in the lives of seniors.

With an MBA from the University of Alabama and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Montevallo, her love and dedication to the lives of seniors brought her to work with Emeritus Senior Living. Serving in various capacities for over 17 years, including Vice President of Operations, she positively impacted both the quality of care delivered and the profit metrics within her division’s 60 properties and over 5,000 units.

In 2004, she co-launched Heavenly Care Home Health and Heavenly Care Moving in 2005. These Austin based companies lead with the mission of creating home care and moving SOLUTIONS by offering private duty medical and non-medical home care and both local and nationwide moving.  With 20 years of experience in Health Care Management, she now oversees Heavenly Care Home Health full time as their co-founder.

Alice also serves on the Texas Silver Haired Legislators Advisory Council, and is the Co-President of the Coming of Age Board and Advisory Council. She also teaches Sunday school at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, and is engaged in the “Community First” program offered by Mobile Loaves and Fishes, helping with fundraising efforts to support Austin homeless.  She considers it an honor and a privilege to be in a position to help seniors in Texas maintain independence as well as contribute to the community in various capacities of their choice.

When not working, she enjoys spending  time with her 3 children, husband of 21 years, and their great dane Cinnamon, enjoying all that Austin has to offer.

George Linial, CEO/President Leading Age Texas

George is the CEO and President of Leading Age Texas. Leading Age provides leadership, advocacy, and education for not-for-profit retirement housing and nursing home communities. With 18 years of experience working with senior issues, George brings a wealth of knowledge to the Coming of Age Board/Advisory Council.

He has served on numerous boards and says that volunteering is important to him. He has been a member of Rotary since 1999 which focuses on volunteer projects and he has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer for the past 14 years.

Jim Spencer, KXANscaled_Jim_Spencer_0408

Jim joined KXAN in 1990, becoming the first weathercaster on Austin’s first hour-long morning newscast, News 36 Firstcast. In 1993, he became chief weathercaster, taking over the evening broadcasts, and is now in his 25th year of forecasting weather on KXAN.

Jim grew up in Lindsay, Oklahoma, in the heart of tornado alley, to which he credits his life-long fascination with weather.

Jim has received national recognition for his work. He is a past recipient of the National Weather Association’s Weathercaster of the Year award. Jim is also a five-time winner of the Texas Associated Press Best Weathercast award, and has been voted Austin’s Best Weathercaster by readers of Austin Chronicle for 16 years. He has been named TV Personality of the Year by Austin’s American Women in Radio and Television Chapter four times.

Jim has a long history of involvement in community and charitable organizations. He is on the board of directors of Service Dogs, Inc. Jim co-hosted the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association for 19 years. He has been a mentor in Austin’s Communities in Schools program and was named Langford Elementary School’s Mentor of the Year. He serves on the Community Advisory Board for the Helping Hand Home for Children, where he has also served as a “buddy” to abused and neglected children served by the Home. Jim has served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children of Travis County. He represents KXAN in the station’s longtime partnership with Family Eldercare’s summer fan drive. He is a member of the Advisory Council for the Travis County Coming of Age program (formerly the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program), and worked with the ARC of the Capital Area, an organization dedicated to helping area residents with developmental disabilities. Each year he teaches hundreds of area school children about severe weather safety.

Jim does have interests other than weather. He’s crazy about his nieces and nephews, Falicia, Krysta, Zach, Zak, Kandis, Joaquin, a.k.a. Broc, Jaxson, Braelyn, and Zoe.

Football officiating is another of Jim’s passions. As a line judge and head linesman he has officiated high school football for 31 years. He is a member of the Texas Association of Sports Officials. He has officiated NAIA and NCAA Division 2 and 3 college football games. His favorite officiating experiences include his state semi-final and state championship assignments, and playoff games in the Astrodome, Alamodome and Texas Stadium. He has been a member of the chain crew for Big 12 Conference officials during UT home football games, and has officiated scrimmages for the University of Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.

His professional affiliations include the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society.

Mary Voorhies, OneStar Foundation

Mary’s volunteer activities started in high school when her summer camp spent a day washing windows and playing with the children at New York’s Upstate Home for Children. While studying accounting at Eastern University, Mary served lunches to Philadelphia’s homeless population on the weekends and spent her spring breaks on Habitat for Humanity service trips.

After graduation she served two terms with AmeriCorps. First with National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and then with Austin Habitat for Humanity as a construction assistant. Seeking a balance between her education in business and her commitment to service led Mary to American YouthWorks where she gained fiscal experience with federal, state, local, and private grants. This included both AmeriCorps National and State grants.

Mary took her pledge to National Service so earnestly that she became a Senior Grants Officer at OneStar Foundation in 2015.  Rather than working for one program, she has the privilege of supporting AmeriCorps programs across the State of Texas.

Mary’s current volunteer activities include serving on the Greeting Team at Gateway Community Church and participating in park clean-ups with Austin Parks Foundation. When the weather is nice you will probably find her riding her bike or walking her dogs.  And regardless of the weather, she can be found cheering from the sidelines at her kids’ games.

Kristina K. Williams, M.S. Applied Gerontology, L.N.H.A., Innovative APN | Halcyon Management Group (Board Member)

Kristina started working with older adults from a young age and it became clear to her immediately that working with older adults was her passion. She discovered this working in adult day health in her hometown of Seattle.

During her college studies in sociology and anthropology at Carleton College (a small liberal arts school in Minnesota), she focused in on cultural and societal issues of aging, writing her senior thesis titled “The Third Stage of Life: Retirement and Work?” It discussed ageism’s ties to “retirement”, how the social structure of retirement is outdated with people living much longer life spans now than when “retirement” was created, and finally, how retirement is often not supportive of people’s needs and desires to continue contributing to their community, and thus not supportive of healthy aging nor of the community/society as a whole.

Luckily, people have started to change retirement as we know it!  They’re doing this by finding other mechanisms in their later years to contribute to society – often through volunteerism, such as our many volunteers with Coming of Age! This helps not only the organizations and communities in which they volunteer, but also their own aging. As with continued engagement in later life, people age more successfully. Kristina is a strong advocate for the value of volunteerism in later life as a mechanism of successful aging.

After completing her college degree, she trained and worked as a Certified Nurses Aide at a memory care home providing care to seniors dealing with mid-stage memory loss and Alzheimer’s Disease at a small 10 room home in Minnesota called Three Links Care Center.

This work led her to the realization that she could have the most impact working as an Administrator, directly managing senior homes to ensure the seniors got top quality care and support they needed.  She pursued this at the University of North Texas, where she obtained a master’s degree in Applied Gerontology (a cross-discipline study of aging that focuses on application to practice and “real world”), which also prepared her to obtain her license to be a Nursing Home Administrator.

Kristina ran the healthcare building at Querencia at Barton Creek Life Care retirement community in southwest Austin for 6 years, which came to be known in the community as the nursing home and assisted living of choice.  Under Kristina’s leadership, Querencia’s nursing home was certified by Medicare with 5 star ratings year after year, ranking among the top nursing homes in Texas and the nation. They were also recognized by US News and World Report as one of the top nursing homes in the nation. More important though than certifications and ratings, Querencia’s health care services came to be well known for their customer service to residents and their families, supporting them during a very challenging time of life.

More recently, Kristina has become a mother to two wonderful children (Sawyer and Samantha, now 4 and 2 years old).  This led her to leave her profession of Nursing Home Administration to focus in on family by bringing more balance to her life. From 2016-2018, she worked at A Place for Mom’s Austin office as a technology team product manager, responsible for management of their flagship website – A Place for Mom assists seniors and their adult children by assessing each family’s unique needs and matching them with the right resources and senior care options.

Kristina is currently employed by Halcyon Management Group, a local and privately owned Home Health, Hospice, and Private Agency Service company.  She runs the physician and nurse practitioner home visit business, sending physician extenders out in the field to see elderly patients right in their homes to monitor them while on Home Health and Hospice services.  Innovative’s care goals include care coordination among various providers, avoiding re-hospitalization, offering convenience for home-bound elderly, and a high level customer service.

Her passion for supporting aging adults is played out in her volunteer work in her local community to build a more age-friendly neighborhood.  She serves as social media liaison for the Mueller Neighborhood Association’s subcommittee on Aging.

Kristina brings to the Coming of Age Board and Advisory Council both her passion for making aging a better experience for all, as well as her drive to support the Coming of Age organization, it’s staff, volunteers, and the agencies and non-profit organizations they all serve.

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