our team

Florida Senior Living Association Staff

Gail Matillo, MPA
President & CEO
gmatillo@floridaseniorliving.org
850-496-2562

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
jhand@floridaseniorliving.org
850-443-0024

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
hconley@floridaseniorliving.org
850-708-4972

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 and industry partner memberships, marketing FSLA’s education opportunities and furthering the development of additional services to serve the entire industry.


Sheri LeaJean
Education Manager
sleajean@floridaseniorliving.org
850-708-4971

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.


Meredith Van Valkenburgh
Project Director
meredith@floridaseniorliving.org

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.


Cathy Van Atta
Office and Accounting Manager
admin@floridaseniorliving.org
850-508-7573 

Cathy Van Atta is responsible for member services, including renewal information and communication. She is in charge of scheduling various education programs and special events, coordinating accounting functions and assisting with special projects as necessary. Cathy has more than 30 years of association experience.


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.

JAMES MCFADDIN

CHRIS DUDLEY

Paul Mitchell

Clark Smith

Monte Stevens

Rachel Cone

Legal & CONSULTANTS

Amy Schrader, Outside Counsel
OF COUNSEL, BAKER DONELSON

NOREEN FENNER, POLITICAL COMMITTEE MANAGER
PAC FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

SANDI POREDA, APR, PUBLIC RELATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS COUNSEL
BULLDOG STRATEGY GROUP

TRAINERS

MONICA WILSON, MS
ICE BRIDGE TRAINING

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.

DAWN PLATT, LPN, CDP, CADDCT
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.