Illinois Pioneer Coalition Board Members

Lee Moriarty

Lee Moriarty, B.S./CTRS, President

Long Term Care Consultant and Educator
Moriarty Consultation
Palos Heights, IL

Lee Moriarty's Bio

Director of Consultation for Quality Therapy & Consultation

Email:  LMoriarty@QTC

Available:  Northern IL, Chicago and potential for other areas in the State

Lee is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and works as a consultant and educator for long term care communities throughout Illinois.  As a Consultant, Lee assists care communities in the provision of person centered/directed care and services focusing on quality of life, dementia care and life enrichment.  She also assists with staff development, which includes inservice training, staff recruitment initiatives and team building, to name a few. As an Educator, Lee provides continuing education programs and seminars both statewide and nationally on a variety of timely topics.  She has also been teaching the State compliant Alzheimer’s Unit and Activity Director Courses for over 10 years, having trained over two hundred Activity Directors and Alzheimer’s Unit directors in Illinois.   With the mission of supporting a person-centered environment for all elders who live in Illinois, Lee also serves on the Council on Aging, which is the Advisory Council for the Illinois Department on Aging.

Lee Moriarty's Speaker's Bureau Topics

Director of Consultation for Quality Therapy & Consultation

Email:  LMoriarty@QTC

Available:  Statewide

Speaker’s Bureau Topics:

  • The Need for Change in Long Term Care – How to Find Dignity and Choice in a Nursing Home
  • Providing person-centered care and services for the Short Stay Rehab Elder
  • Dementia Care and understanding how “behaviors” communicate needs and wants
  • Understanding what Culture Change means and how to start the Journey.
  • Ability Centered Care for the Dementia Elder
  • Person Centered Discharge Planning


Fee: Please contact to discuss

Leslie Pedtke

Leslie Pedtke, B.A., LNHA, Vice President

Educator for Quality Improvement
King Management
O’Fallon, IL

Leslie Pedtke's Bio

King Management, Educator for Quality Improvement


Available: Statewide

Leslie is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator with a degree from Southern Illinois University in Speech Communication. In 1994, she became the Administrator at Aviston Countryside Manor where she developed a passion for long term care culture change and became one of the leading advocates in the nation for the culture change movement.

Initiatives she launched as an Administrator have been featured in Long-Term Care Today, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, HCCI’s Members Only Newsletter. Leslie presents throughout the United States on her program “ Through the Looking Glass” which outlines the best hiring practices, how to eliminate personal body alarms and decrease falls.

Leslie holds Certificates in Non-physicians in Geriatrics and Person-Centered Care Dementia and is a member of numerous professional organizations including the Illinois Nursing Home Administrators Association, Illinois Health Care Association, the Southwestern Illinois Pioneer Coalition Leadership Team and is the current President of the Illinois Pioneer Coalition.

In 2017, Leslie left her position at Aviston Countryside Manor and became the Educator for Quality Improvement for King Management Company where she helps other nursing communities improve resident quality of life and care.

Leslie Pedtke's Speakers Bureau Topics

King Management, Educator for Quality Improvement


Available: Statewide

Speaker’s Bureau Topics:

  • Eliminating Personal Body Alarms and Reducing Falls
  • “Through the Looking Glass” – A Lesson In Empathy
  • Behavior in Dementia or Symptoms of Just Being Human – The Power of Language
  • Person Centered Care – For Professionals and the Community


Fee: Travel Expenses for far distance travel

Lisa Meyer

Lisa Meyer, MBA, PT, Treasurer & Secretary 

Senior Vice President
Empower Me

Lisa Meyer's Bio

Empower Me, Senior Vice President


Lisa is a Physical Therapist with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Therapy from Saint Louis University and a Masters in Business Administration from Maryville University. She has worked in both skilled nursing and assisting living communities for the past 25 years she created patient-centered therapy programs, focusing on the individual goals of the senior.

In 2017, she launched EmpowerMe Wellness, a rehabilitation company that assists seniors in maintaining their independence in their own homes. Lisa joined the Board of Directors for Illinois Pioneer Coalition in 2009 and is currently serving as Treasurer for the organization.

Natalie Mueller

Accounts Receivable & Billing Specialist
Palladian Management
O’Fallon, IL

Natalie Mueller's Bio

King Management, Accounts Receivable & Medical Biller


Natalie Mueller has been with King Management since 2001. She is currently working as accounts receivable and Medicare biller. King management currently operates three nursing homes and three assisted living homes. She started with King Management in 2001 at their Aviston Countryside Manor location.  She was the office manager at Aviston Countryside Manor. Natalie has a true commitment and passion for culture change and person centered care. She has participated in Aviston’s “Through the Looking Glass” experience, which is a challenge to move into a nursing facility and live as a resident. This experience opened her eyes and her heart, to some of the challenges residents in long term care experience every day. After this experience she committed to helping as many elders as possible to have a better today and tomorrow. Culture change is now her passion and she is an advocate for person centered care. She has been involved with the Illinois Pioneer Coalition Summit planning committee since 2009 and Board Member since 2017.

diane Heliker

Diane Heliker RN, PhD

Professor-St. Xavier University-Chicago
Professor Emerita-University of Texas Medical Branch
Coordinator-Gerontological Nursing Certificate Academy

St. Xavier University-Chicago
School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Chicago; western suburbs-Chicago

Cell: 281-413-8661

Diane Heliker's Bio

Professor-St. Xavier University-Chicago

Professor Emerita-University of Texas


Dr. Diane Heliker received her BSN from Texas Woman’s University, Houston, TX and her PhD from Loyola University-Chicago.  During her tenure at University of Texas-Galveston, she taught in the masters and doctoral nursing programs, completed National Institute of Health, NINR, funded research in gerontology and quality of living in long-term care [LTC], and successfully published her work. She was awarded Professor Emerita status.

She currently teaches at St. Xavier University-Chicago and developed the Interdisciplinary Gerontology Studies Minor and Major. She developed and coordinates the Gerontological Nursing Certificate Academy focusing on state of the art and science of Best Practice in Long-Term Care Communities.

Dr. Heliker’s past research focuses on the understanding of personal and common meanings in older adults residing in long-term care communities, facilitating the transition of older adults into assisted living communities, the utilization of story/narratives to improve person-centered care and the development of a relationship-based model of care among staff and residents.

Dr. Heliker has presented her work in the US, New Zealand, and Peoples Republic of China. A long time advocate of sustainable Culture Change, Dr. Heliker’s interests include the creation of  employee performance evaluations that incorporate narrative-based everyday practice among all staff members.

Diane Heliker's Speakers Bureau Topics

St. Xavier University-Chicago, Professor


Available: local, state, national

Speaker’s Bureau Topics:

  • Story Sharing: Narrative Approach to Meaningful Person-Centered Care [focus on CNAs, Nurses, Activity Specialists]
  • Development of a Gerontological Nursing Certificate Program-Focus on Best Practice in Long Term Care Communities
  • Other topics involving quality of living in LTC, culture change, use of narratives in LTC performance evaluations, Conducting Journal Club to ensure evidence-based practice.


Fee:  travel expenses, educational materials including workbooks

Joyce A. Steber

Joyce A. Steber, BSN, RN, Manager

Manager, Educator, Consultant, Speaker
Steber Training, LLC
Marian, IL

Joyce A. Steber's Bio

Steber Training, LLC, Manager


Available: Statewide

Joyce is a nurse with a lengthy history in the education and training of CNAs and nurses in Illinois. She currently serves as the primary educator with Steber Training, LLC, with a focus on conducting Train the Trainer Programs for RNs seeking to become approved instructors in a Basic Nursing Assistant Training Program (BNATP). Through a collaborative effort in 2016, she embarked on providing an IDPH approved independent Resident Assistant Training Program to long-term care communities. She also provides consultation services for new and established BNATPs, including facility-based programs.

She is an active member of the IDPH BNATP Advisory Committee and current President of the CNA Educators Association, Southern Region. Her passion for elder care led to her involvement with the IPC Southern Illinois Regional Coalition (Carterville, IL) and to the honor of becoming a board member on the Illinois Pioneer Coalition; she is serving as Treasurer. Joyce was also a member of the Think Tank for the Consumer Education Project, Your Way! How to Find Dignity and Choice in a Nursing Home.

Joyce is an experienced presenter with multi-year appearances at the IDPH NA Instructor Annual Conference, for numerous CNA Conferences offered statewide, and various vocational educator venues.

Joyce A. Steber's Speakers Bureau Topics

Steber Training, LLC, Manager


Available: Statewide

Speaker’s Bureau Topics:

  • Resident Assistant Program
  • Variety of In-service Topics for CNA’s
  • Culture Change
  • Alzheimer’s/Dementia

Fee: Training Fees for TTT and RA Programs; Travel Expenses

HSHS St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital

P. Ashley Dillingham, MSSW, LSW

E Manager of Case Management, Guest Services, and Outpatient Behavioral Health
HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital
Effingham, IL

Ashley Dillingham's Bio

HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital


Available: Statewide

Ashley Dillingham, MSSW, LSW currently serves as the Manager of Case Management, Guest Services and Outpatient Behavioral Health at HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, IL. Ashley received her undergraduate degree from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN in 2006 and her Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee in 2008. She has worked in healthcare since 2011 and has experience in hospital and post-acute social work, outreach, and hospital leadership. In addition to being a member of the Illinois Pioneer Coalition Board, Ashley serves on the Recovery Oriented Services of Care (ROSC) Council for Effingham County, the Effingham Impact 2030 Vibrant Economy Team, and is a member of the Effingham “Noon” Rotary Club, where she also serves as a board member.

Cindy DeGroot, RN, BSN

Education Coordinator
Riverside Senior Life Communities
Bourbonnais, IL

Cindy DeGroot's Bio

Riverside Senior Life Communities


Available: Statewide

Cindy currently serves as the Education Coordinator for Riverside Senior Life Communities in Bourbonnais, IL. She is an experienced presenter on topics focused on the basics of dementia, successful communication strategies for those living with dementia, employee engagement, and intergenerational programs.

Cindy DeGroot's Speakers Bureau Topics

Riverside Senior Life Communities, Education Coordinator


Available: Statewide

Speaker’s Bureau Topics:

  • Culture Change
  • Alzheimer’s/Dementia
  • Recruitment/Onboarding/Retention
  • Teambuilding
  • Intergenerational Programs

Amy McCracken, BSN, JD

Duane Morris, LLP
Chicago, IL

Amy McCracken's Bio

Special Counsel, Duane Morris, LLP


Available: Statewide

Amy is a skilled trial attorney with a particular emphasis in healthcare, fraud, and reimbursement. She represents long-term care facilities, rehabilitation therapy companies, and pharmacies throughout Illinois, and has successfully defended long term care facilities in civil and administrative cases. A former registered nurse, Ms. McCracken has significant experience in medical device litigation, mass torts, Medicare fraud and other health care litigation matters.

Ms. McCracken is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Michigan. She is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Illinois Association of Healthcare Attorneys. Ms. McCracken is a 1990 cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and a 1982 graduate of the Wayne State University School of Nursing. She practiced as a registered nurse in critical care and neonatal care before and during law school.

Amy McCracken's Speakers Bureau Topics

Special Counsel, Duane Morris, LLP


Available: Statewide

Speaker’s Bureau Topics:

  • Dementia and Culture Change
  • Health Care Fraud and the False Claims Act
  • Involuntary transfer and discharge
  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Infection control
  • Nursing documnetation
  • Compliance plans and risk management

Angela Simmons, LNHA

Anna Veterans Home

Angela Simmon's Bio

Anna Veterans Home, Administrator


Available: Statewide

Angela was born and raised in Southern Illinois.  She graduated nursing school in 1997 earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business in 2009.  In 2006 she became the Administrator of an 83-bed skilled nursing facility and began her Culture Change/Pioneering journey. In 2013 she was appointed as a Senior Public Service Administrator with the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and assigned to the Anna Veterans Home.  In 2015 she won the Illinois Pioneer Culture Change Champion of the Year.

In 2017, through the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners, she received her Certified Dementia Practitioner certification.  Angela is a member of the Illinois Nursing Home Administrators Association, Southern Illinois Pioneer Coalition Board, and a member of the Illinois Pioneer Coalition Board of Directors since March 2017.

Sarah Watson, MSW

Director, Resident Services
Brookdale Lade Shore Drive
Chicago, IL

IHCA logo

Kelli Showalter

Education, Conference & Event Manager
Illinois Health Care Association
1029 S. Fourth Street
Springfield, IL 62703
217-528-0452 (Fax)


Amanda Spade, BS, CDP

Outreach Representative
HSHS Home Care & Hospice Southern Illinois
503 N. Maple Street
Effingham, IL 62401
217-240-8069 (Cell)
217-347-1100 (Fax)

Karma Lynn Carpenter

Milikin University

Jim Harris

Retired NHA
St. Louis, MO

Terri Simpson

Regional Ombudsman
Area 09