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Our Identity

To lead not-for-profit members in their efforts to better serve seniors through collaboration in advocacy, networking, services and education.

To be the leading statewide association representing mission-driven providers of quality aging care & services.

Inspire. Serve. Advocate.

Who & How We Serve

LeadingAge Texas (formerly the Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging - TAHSA) was established in 1959 as a Texas not-for-profit corporation. Its purpose is to provide leadership, advocacy, and education for not-for-profit retirement housing and nursing home communities that serve the needs of Texas retirees.

As a trade association representing the full continuum of mission-driven, not-for-profit aging services providers, LeadingAge Texas is committed to assisting its members in providing the highest quality of services possible to the residents they serve. To accomplish its purpose, the association provides up-to-date information, education, representation, group services, and networking as well as prompt, efficient service to the professional staff of its member communities. The association is comprised of more than 350 members, including approximately 200 of Texas' finest retirement housing communities, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, nursing homes, and home and community based services providers. Over 30,000 older Texans reside in LeadingAge Texas-member communities. Thousands more are served through home health services, adult day care centers, and other community out-reach services. LeadingAge Texas members are sponsored primarily by community-based non­profit civic, religious, fraternal, and other quality groups and are mission-driven organizations.

LeadingAge Texas' national partner, LeadingAge, is an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging. Together, these two associations advance policies, promote practices and conduct research that supports, enables and empowers people to live fully as they age.

Our History

In 1959 the association was formed as the Texas Association of Homes for the Aging. In 1995 "and Services" was added and the association become the Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (TAHSA). In September 2011, members voted on changing the name to LeadingAge Texas.

The Not-for-Profit Difference

Although the types of care and services provided by LeadingAge Texas members may vary, all are identical in one primary sense: they are not-for-profit. These providers have a long tradition of community service and concern, and these values drive the delivery of care and services. Their nonprofit approach places emphasis on providing an atmosphere of fellowship and caring; meeting the social, physical and spiritual needs of the individual; and helping older persons preserve the dignity and quality of life they deserve in their retirement years. They offer a commitment to quality that stems from a mission of service and history of compassion which has become the hallmark of the not-for-profit aging services provider.

Texas not-for-profit providers and caregivers are leading the way towards a greater purpose of helping older Texans age safely in the place they call home with innovative care and services, while treating each resident with dignity and respect.

Commitment to Quality
Not-for-profit providers of aging services offer a commitment to quality that stems from a mission of service and a history of compassion.

A major study of nursing home quality in the U.S. and Canada found that not-for-profits consistently delivered better outcomes in four key areas relating to quality:

  • More or higher quality of staffing.
  • Lower prevalence of pressure ulcers.
  • Lower prevalence of restraints.
  • Fewer government citations for deficiencies.

Commitment to Person-Directed Care
The latest evolution in senior services revolves around respecting the needs and desires of the individual, rather than fitting the individual to traditional patterns of the facility. Many not-for-profit providers are at the forefront of this change.

Commitment to Staff
As part of its mission, a not-for-profit organization recognizes that staff satisfaction and commitment are related to sufficient numbers of staff, fair wages and benefits, work flexibility when needed, continuing education/growth opportunities and an environment of respect.

Commitment to Ongoing Improvement
Not-for-profit organizations are committed to innovation and continuous quality improvement, with a goal of improving the entire field of aging services. They tailor housing, health care and community services to address unmet needs within our communities.

Not-for-profit organizations have been at the forefront of improving services for older persons, pioneering the introduction of new options such as “small house” nursing centers. Not-for-profits also have been driving important reforms, including reductions in the use of restraints and psychotropic drugs in nursing centers.

The Not-for-Profit Difference Materials

Communicating the Not-For-Profit Difference in Aging Services

Growing the Nonprofit Difference Video Series

Nonprofit Responsibility

Not-for-Profits: There is a Difference



Affiliate Organizations


LeadingAge is an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging. LeadingAge advances policies, promotes practices, and conducts research that supports, enables, and empowers people to live fully as they age.



The Educational Institute on Aging (EIA) is a 501(c)(3) subsidiary foundation of LeadingAge Texas. Established in 1984, EIA is dedicated to the promotion of a better understanding of aging and long-term care in Texas.


Health Plan, Inc. (HPI)

Health Plan, Inc. (HPI) is the 501 c (9) nonprofit, self-funded Association-Sponsored Health Plan of LeadingAge Texas, which represents not-for-profit aging services providers throughout the state. Its sole purpose is to provide excellent, affordable employee health insurance and ancillary benefit options for LeadingAge Texas members and their employees.

Value First, Inc.

Value First, Inc. is a group purchasing organization designed for aging services providers who seek expanded choice, intelligent solutions and significant savings. We offer collective buying power and contracts negotiated specifically for customers whose mission is better care and better outcomes for older adults. Value First is owned by LeadingAge Texas, LeadingAge, and 24 LeadingAge affiliates in collaboration with Provista .

Senior Communities Purchasing Connection (SCPC)

Senior Communities Purchasing Connection (SCPC) is a subsidiary of LeadingAge Texas formed to benefit the membership in cost-savings thru a collective buying power.


The Global Ageing Network 

The mission of The Global Ageing Network is to connect and support care and service providers worldwide to enhance quality of life for ageing. Members include professionals and organizations in ageing services, governments, volunteer organizations, businesses, academics, researchers and architects that specialize in design for ageing.


The LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST) is leading the charge to expedite the development, evaluation and adoption of emerging technologies that can improve the aging experience. CAST has become an international coalition of more than 400 technology companies, aging services organizations, research universities, and government representatives.


Communities of Faith RRG

Communities of Faith RRG is a senior living and continuing care general liability and professional liability reciprocal insurance company that is 100% owned by independent facilities. Through active risk management, ongoing education and proactive claims advocacy, our member facilities enhance patient safety and reduce their cost of risk.


Association Staff

George Linial

President & CEO
(512) 467-2242 Ext.108



  • Association Management
  • Governance
  • Media
  • Communities of Faith, RRG

Crystal Laza
Chief Operating Officer
(512) 467-2242 Ext.102



  • Member Services
  • Membership
  • Operations
  • Sponsorship
  • LeadingCare Network Texas
  • LeadingAge Texas Health Plan, Inc. (HPI)

Alyse Meyer
Vice President of Advocacy
(512) 467-2242 Ext.105



  • Advocacy
  • Legislative Issues
  • Grassroots
  • Regulatory Issues
  • LeadingAge Texas PAC

Ann Castro
Director of Business Development
(817) 680-5471



  • Group Purchasing
  • Value First
  • SCPC Preferred Vendors
  • Savings & Solutions
  • COVID-19: PPE & Testing Solutions


Julianna Ems
Communications &
Marketing Coordinator
(512) 467-2242 Ext.103

  • The Connection Newsletter
  • Website
  • Marketing
  • ArtsInspire™
  • Awards Program
  • Fundraising

Dorothy Ferrick
Events & Member Engagement Manager
(512) 467-2242 Ext.101



  • General Information
  • Event Planning & Management
  • EXPO
  • Registration
  • Membership Updates

Amanda Wiedenfeld
Director of
Professional Development
(512) 467-2242 Ext.106



  • Professional Development
  • Educational Institute on Aging
  • Leadership Institute
  • Seminars & Webinars



Board Roster


Executive Committee


CHAIR: Marsha Cayton
Administrator of Campus Services,
Seven Acres Jewish Senior Care Services, Inc.

CHAIR-ELECT: Rodney Rueter
CEO, Lutheran Sunset Ministries

TREASURER: Kent Herring
CEO, Family Eldercare, Inc.

SECRETARY: Mark Lenhard
President/CEO, Wesleyan Homes, Inc.

Executive Vice President, Plano Community Home, Inc.

EIA CHAIR: Nicole Gann
President & CEO, Juliette Fowler Communities



Board Members


John Berkely
[Special Advisor]
Deputy Director, General Land Office -
Texas State Veterans Homes Program

Matthew Currie
[Network Representative - Heart of Texas]
Executive Director, MRC Crestview

Nicole Gann
President & CEO, Juliette Fowler Communities

Cheryl Harding
[Network Representative - North]
President/CEO, James L. West Alzheimer's Center

Philip Jacob
[Network Representative - Southeast]
Associate Executive Director, The Buckingham

Darrell Jones,
President/CEO, Blue Skies of Texas

Tim Kozik
Executive Director, Cartmell Home

Tim Mallad
President, Forefront Living

Pearl Merritt
[Special Advisor]
Regional Dean, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center


Mark Mullahy
CEO, Holly Hall Retirement Community

Stephen Nelson
[Network Representative - West]
Chief Healthcare Officer, Manor Park, Inc.

Deborah Nugent
[Network Representative - Valley]
Executive Director, Mirador

Melissa Orth
President & CEO, The Legacy Senior Communities, Inc.

Sabrina Porter
President & CEO, Christian Care Communities & Services

Brian Robbins
Vice President, Buckner Retirement Services, Inc.

Pamela Roddy
[Network Representative - Panhandle]

Executive Director, Carillon Senior Living

Tiffany Tello
[Network Representative - Central]
Healthcare Administrator, Querencia at Barton Creek

Katharyn Wiegand
President & CEO, Mary E. Bivins Foundation



EIA Board Members


Charles Borst
Executive Director, Westminster

Chelsea Casanova
Executive Director, Morningside Ministries at Menger Springs

Roqué Christensen
[LeadingAge Texas Immediate Past Chair]
Executive Vice President, Plano Community Home, Inc.

Michael Cummings
Healthcare Administrator, MRC The Crossings

Nicole Gann
President & CEO, Juliette Fowler Communities

Kelly Goetz
Chief Compliance Officer, The Wesleyan at Estrella

Jennifer Griffin
Sr. Director, Community Outreach, CC Young

Todd Partin
[Vice Chair]
Director of Engagement, Methodist Retirement Communities

Rodney Rueter
[LeadingAge Texas Chair-Elect]
CEO, Lutheran Sunset Ministries

Rachel Stevens
Compliance Officer, Brazos Presbyterian Homes, Inc




LeadingAge Texas membership contains individuals who are eager for opportunities to enhance their leadership capacities and would love to participate in our educational opportunities throughout the year. But they need your support! Please consider making a donation to the EIA scholarship fund. 

• • •  • • • • •  • •  • 
The Educational Institute on Aging (EIA) is a 501(c)(3) subsidiary foundation of LeadingAge Texas that serves as a forum to promote accessible education opportunities and professional development to LeadingAge Texas members.

• • •  • • • • •  • •  • 
The proceeds from the EIA scholarship fund allow for LeadingAge Texas members to attend educational events throughout the year including the LeadingAge Texas Annual Conference & Solutions EXPO. Over $23,000 in scholarship funds was awarded last year to members who span the spectrum of aging services disciplines—from students working toward careers in the field to those currently serving older Texans as certified nursing assistants (CNAs), nurses, HR professionals, social workers, chaplains, and more.

By nature of the LeadingAge Texas membership being made up of not-for-profit aging services providers, tight budgets come into play & some members experience difficulty in funding employees' professional development. Thus, EIA scholarships are a much needed option—access to continuing education & professional growth are vital to retaining quality employees, encouraging future leaders in the field, and providing exceptional service to older Texans throughout the spectrum of care!


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