Jill Vitale-Aussem is currently the President and CEO of Eden Alternative. She has more than 20 years of experience in senior living leadership, along with a master’s degree in hospitality from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Alfred University. Jill is also a licensed nursing home administrator, a certified assisted living administrator, a 2014 LeadingAge Leadership Academy Fellow, and a Certified Eden Alternative Educator.

Throughout her career, Jill often assumed leadership of challenged communities and led each organization to success, with outcomes such as 100% occupancy and improvements to net operating margin ranging from 40 to nearly 120 percent. Jill joined Christian Living Communities (CLC) in 2009 as the Executive Director of Clermont Park, where she led the community through a $75 million redevelopment project and a complete cultural transformation.

Jill is passionate about creating community cultures of innovation, possibilities, inclusivity, growth and empowerment and writes and speaks nationally on the topics of culture, leadership and ageism.


Jill’s Topics Include:

  • Beyond Bistros: Is Hospitality the Answer? Hospitality has become a very popular topic in the senior living field. It’s viewed as an approach that can attract baby boomers and eliminate the institutional feel that exists in many traditional communities. However, simply applying the concepts and operational structures of a hotel or resort can actually undermine successful aging practices and create a similar type of institution, albeit one with better food and nicer amenities. Learn the pitfalls of hotel-based hospitality approaches and how we can adapt and modify them to build cultures that support successful aging, community and purpose. Attendees will gain insight into research regarding the importance of having purpose, independence and a sense of belonging; explore the ways in which a traditional hospitality approach may actually undermine successful aging; and discover ideas and concepts from real-world examples of modified hospitality approaches that lead to excellent customer service without compromising a culture of empowerment, purpose and inclusivity.
  • Words Make Worlds. The words we use are so powerful! They impact our behavior and the behavior of those around us.  This course will identify words and phrases that will help your organization begin to use words that will create a person-directed culture of excellence.
  • Successful Aging. Why are some older adults healthy and active why others experience a long and difficult decline?  Surprisingly, our genetic make-up only accounts for 30% of our aging experience.  The other 70% is due to lifestyle choices. This course teaches the principles of successful aging and how we can all make better choices for a healthier life.
  • Combatting Ageism & Ableism. Ageism and ageist messages are rampant in our society!  This prejudice causes great harm to older adults and the rest of our culture.This course will teach you to recognize and begin to combat ageism and ableism (prejudice against those living with a disability).
  • The Myths of Aging in Place. Studies show that over 60% of baby boomers plan to stay in their home as they age.  While this may work for some individuals, it is not the answer for everyone.  This course examines the potential pitfalls of aging in place and the benefits of communal living as an option.
  • Embracing Change. Change is hard.  So hard, in fact, that 70% of change efforts fail.   This course explores the dynamics of effective change leadership and provides participants with tools and the self-awareness necessary to successfully navigate change.
  • Is Your Amygdala Hijacking Your Life? Have you ever sent an email or said something in the heat of the moment that you immediately wished you could take back?  Most of us have. These slips can wreak havoc on careers and relationships.  This course will share the biology and chemistry behind such blunders and how we can intercept our “fight or flight” response and respond in a positive way.
  • Leadership Belongs to Everyone. In a person-directed community, leadership must belong to everyone.  We must be intentional about growing leadership deep within the organization. This course will assist in creating a culture of growth and leadership for team members and residents.
  • Surplus Safety. Senior living organizations can become so focused on reducing or eliminating risk that we take away the very things that make life worth living. Dr. Bill Thomas, of the Eden Alternative, calls this “surplus safety”. This course will help you learn to identify surplus safety and to begin to evaluate risky situations with a more balanced approach.
  • Honoring Death, Celebrating Life. Death, and the celebration of an individual’s passing, is a part of life. Too often, in senior living settings, we fail to honor such losses in a personalized and meaningful way. This course explores ways in which we can bring back meaning to the experience of death and how this leads to a fuller celebration of life.
  • A New View of Dementia. People living with dementia are often viewed as “broken” individuals who are unable to function in society. Based on the book ‘Dementia Beyond Drugs’, by G. Allen Power, M.D., and the Eden Alternative’s class of the same name, this course introduces the concept of defining dementia as a change in the way an individual experiences the world and help you to understand how to bring the principles of person directed support to those living with dementia.  As Dr. Power states in his book, we build ramps for people in wheelchairs to be able to participate fully in the world. Together, we must find those “ramps” to do the same for people living with dementia.
  • Creating an Inclusive Community. Segregation of individuals living in different areas of a retirement community is an all-too-common practice. This course teaches participants about the damage that is done when individuals are marginalized and ostracized and how to begin to create a true community where everyone is honored and accepted.
  • What a Hurricane can Teach Us about Senior Living. This compelling presentation shares the speaker’s experience of living through a hurricane and the aftermath of being stranded with a group of people who displayed behaviors and actions very similar to what may be seen in an institutional senior living setting.
  • Is Hospitality the Answer for Senior Living? While hospitality is often seen as the “answer” for senior living, simply applying the culture, operational structure, and philosophy to senior living can undermine community, purpose and independence. This course examines the challenges of the hospitality model and provides alternatives for changing the culture of senior living.
  • The Work-Life Balance Myth. Leaders in the field of senior living often experience a “perfect storm” of stress – 24/7 responsibility, serious consequences and a passion that often defines us as individuals. In such scenarios, idea of “work-life balance” with separate home and work identities may not be realistic. This course examines the reality of stress as a part of life, provides tactics for managing stress, and delves into the positive and negative roles that technology plays in our lives.