our team

Florida Senior Living Association Staff

Gail Matillo, MPA
President & CEO

As the Association’s President/CEO, Gail is responsible for directing the association and identifying policy objectives that support Florida Senior Living Association’s mission, vision and growth. Previously, she spent more than two years as the State Housing Director with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and more than 18 years with the Florida Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, now LeadingAge Florida, as the Director of Housing and Professional Development. Gail has a master’s degree in public administration, and a bachelor’s degree in business and health care administration.

Jason Hand, esq.
Vice President of Public Policy and Legal Affairs

Jason M. Hand is responsible for managing the legislative, regulatory and policy activities of FSLA on behalf of its members.  He brings an understanding of policy, politics and personalities based on 20 years of experience with the creation and implementation of state policy and high-profile projects in Florida’s legislative and executive branches of government.

Most recently, Jason was an Assistant Deputy General Counsel for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). He also previously served in the Florida Senate as Chief Attorney and Lead Policy Analyst for the education policy committees for Senate Presidents Gaetz, Gardiner and Negron.

Jason has extensive experience in agency rule-making and licensing, business operations, competitive procurements, contract negotiations, compliance reviews, and civil and administrative litigation. A fifth generation Floridian, Hand is a graduate of Mercer Law School, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College.

Heather Conley, MBA
Director of Marketing and membership

Heather Conley brings more than 20 years of experience in communications, marketing and training in diverse areas from environmental protection, elections administration, graphics design, marketing, and career and technical education.

A graduate of the University of Florida, Florida State University and University of South Florida, she holds degrees in finance and visual arts, marketing and graphic design, as well as an MBA in international business and marketing.

She will enhance the membership experience and growing profile of FSLA through developing community memberships, marketing FSLA’s education opportunities and furthering the development of additional services to serve the entire industry.

Sheri LeaJean
director of Education

Sheri LeaJean is responsible for directing education opportunities including in-person events, online courses and virtual webinars.

She is an association executive with more than 20 years of experience in business, communications, marketing and member services in both private and public sectors. Driven by her heart of service, she is the visionary behind a local company, Cookies & Tea for Me, LLC, an unique children’s tea party boutique and summer camp for children. After 15 years in business, she passed the torch to a new owner and segued her career to working with associations, most recently employed by the Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association and Florida Auto Dealers Association. Previously, Sheri also worked with Volunteer Florida.

Sheri is a graduate of Florida State University and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science with graduate studies in public administration.

Sheri is responsible for directing Industry Partner memberships and education opportunities, including in-person events, online courses and virtual webinars.

Meredith Van Valkenburgh
Project Director

Meredith Van Valkenburgh brings more than 27 years of public and private sector service to FSLA as well as his background as a Navy veteran. Highly adapted to project management, he has extensive accounting experience including budget preparation, fiscal reporting and team communications.

Meredith holds a master’s degree in forensic accounting and two bachelor’s degrees in finance and economics. He is also  Certified in Public Management (CPM) and has a Sigma Six Green Belt.  Driven by a commitment of volunteerism, he has been involved with the CPM program for the past 10 years and more recently with other local initiatives.

jimmie fay griffin, LPN
Accounting & Membership MANAGER

Jimmie Fay has recently joined the team at Florida Senior Living Association. Previously, she was an Executive Director for more than 17 years. In this role, she was responsible for directing all departments in the community including staffing, caregiving, maintenance, customer service, and provided consistent and accurate information to owners, management, staff and families. She was responsible for drafting policies and procedures and has a clear understanding of the importance of follow-through communications in all situations. Her motto is that most problems occur from failure to communicate properly.

Jimmie Fay is a licensed nurse and strives to keep up-to-date with clinical issues even though she isn’t working in that capacity now. She loves a challenge and is a problem solver. When not working, Jimmie Fay loves spending time with her family.

Stephanie Gurley
Database MANAGER

Stephanie Gurley is responsible for overseeing FSLA’s membership database, ensuring data quality, preparing data reports, optimizing data warehouses, and ensuring a supportive working environment. Her strong analytical problem-solving skills, proficiency in structed query language, and in-depth knowledge of database technologies strengthen the association’s commitment to creating efficiencies and providing quality services for our members.

With a dynamic teamwork approach, Stephanie provides data for operational decisions and a quick response to identify changing trends. She brings almost 30 years of experience of customer service, accounting, financial and database building experience with the State of Florida.

Stephanie is a proud mother and veteran with eight years of service with the Florida National Guard.

Vance Garven
Research Coordinator

Vance is a senior at Florida State University pursuing a degree in Trumpet Instrumental Performance and has attended musical competitions and conferences nationwide. Vance has a passion for the arts and brings to his research work a focus and commitment to match. After earning his bachelor’s degree, Vance plans on auditioning for professional orchestras and ensembles around the country. His involvement with FSLA includes research and data quality projects.

Sierra Scott
FSLA Intern

Sierra is a graduate student at the University of Central Florida, where she is in her last semester in the Master of Public Policy program. Previously, she served as an intern in the Florida Senate as a UCF Legislative Scholar and later served as the Graduate Assistant for the Legislative Scholar program training future interns for the Florida Legislature. Sierra plans to attend law school in the fall upon completion of her master’s degree, focusing on Business and Entertainment Law.

Strength in experience, knowledge and expertise

Florida Senior Living Association works closely with a team of lobbyists, consultants and trainers to ensure it provides the best possible representation and advocacy for its members.



Paul Mitchell

Clark Smith

Monte Stevens

Rachel Cone


Amy Schrader, Outside Counsel


Greg Cochran, CPA




Monica Wilson is an experienced trainer, facilitator and educator with a passion for older adults, technology and connecting people and processes. Previously, Monica was one of the original Department of Elder Affairs ALF trainers and was responsible for development of the initial ALF Core training certification exam developed in partnership with the University of South Florida.  She has extensive knowledge of and experience with assisted living regulation both in Florida and nationally. She has a Master of Science in Gerontology and more than 20 years of experience working with organizations that provide services for older persons, including serving in management roles in senior living organizations.

Regional Trainer / Legend Senior Living

Dawn Platt is a regional trainer and memory care specialist with Legend Senior Living, a training consultant for Florida Senior Living Association, and a trainer for the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners. She is also a facilitator for a Neuroplasticity Study on PARO Seal Therapy for Legend Senior Living in coordination with the University of Texas at Tyler. Dawn’s approach to Memory Care is passionate and innovative; focusing on training and the development of therapeutic programming for individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia’s. Dawn is a Licensed Practical Nurse, Certified Dementia Practitioner and an Assisted Living Residence Director, and brings over 30 years’ experience in the Long-Term Care Profession.