Fellowship Village leadership team

Meet our team

The spirit of hospitality and serving others is at work at Fellowship Village.

Leaders from across the organization strive for continuous improvement in all aspects of senior living and senior care. Our leaders and team members provide the innovation and ideas that drive success and inspire older adults to live their best lives today.

Mark Aguilar, executive director of fellowship village

Mark Aguilar

Executive Director of Fellowship Village

Mr. Aguilar has over 30 years of progressive accounting and financial experience, with an extensive senior living track record as a key advisor of strategic and operational improvements that have benefited each organization he has worked for. Mark served as FellowshipLIFE’s CFO from 2009 to 2016 as an essential member of the senior leadership team, enabling the organization to meet its strategic and financial objectives effectively.

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Mr. Aguilar is a licensed certified public accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Wilkes University and a Master of Business Administration in finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University. A strong, analytical, and strategic executive, Mr. Aguilar has provided thought leadership to lead organizational, operational, and financial improvements. Most recently, he served at Simpson Senior Services, a multisite Life Plan Community provider, where he implemented key initiatives to improve their operations.

In addition to Mr. Aguilar’s operational and business acumen, he believes in building strong relationships and establishing effective communication with all stakeholders. His focus is on providing exceptional care and services to older adults and maintaining the organization’s sound financial and operational health.

Jack Ellias, senior director of health and medical services

Jack Ellias

Senior Director of Health & Medical Services

Mr. Ellias has been in the field of aging services for more than 30 years with a focus on health and medical services across the continuum of care for older adults. His extensive experience, knowledge, and focus on quality care has delivered deficiency-free surveys and 5-Star ratings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, maximizing census and operating efficiencies resulting in positive outcomes and profitability.

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His extensive expertise in the continuum of senior care includes post-acute, outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation, wellness, independent living, assisted living, Alzheimer’s, long-term skilled nursing, medical, and specialty physician services.

As part of the leadership team at FellowshipLIFE, Mr. Ellias has contributed significantly to the expansion and repositioning of Health and Medical Services to meet older adults’ prerequisites. He has led the efforts to provide a homelike environment with a person-centered culture by making the transition from an institutional model of care to a household model. The household model focuses on the needs of the person while increasing engagement and providing a healthier living environment. Mr. Ellias also guided the growth and expansion of Fellowship Medical Group, providing geriatric and specialty medicine to both residents and seniors within the broader community.

Mr. Ellias’ education and licensure complements his extensive background in healthcare administration. He holds a Master of Business Administration in healthcare administration from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, as well as degrees in economics and social work from Queens College, City University of New York. Mr. Ellias is a licensed nursing home administrator in New Jersey and New York. He resides in Wayne, New Jersey, with his wife and two children.

Arthur (Art) Sheppell, MD

Medical Director

Dr. Arthur Sheppell is a geriatrician in Denville, New Jersey, and is affiliated with Morristown Medical Center and Atlantic Medical Group. He received his medical degree from Paul Sabatier University and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

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Dr. Sheppell is one of 19 doctors at Morristown Medical Center who specialize in geriatric medicine. Dr. Sheppell is board-certified in geriatric and internal medicine. He also serves as the medical director at Fellowship Village, bringing his vast knowledge and experience in geriatric care to the residents of FellowshipLIFE’s premier Life Plan Communities.

Rich Mercada, senior director of culinary and catering services

Rich Mercado

Senior Director of Culinary & Catering Services

Mr. Mercado began his culinary career at the age of 18 with the United States Army. While in the Army, he served his country and his passion for food and people.

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In 1982, Mr. Mercado joined Compass Group and worked at several locations in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, where he gained a wealth of knowledge and know-how over the last 35-plus years on the right approaches to deliver a 5-star dining experience. In recognition for his achievements in financial performance, customer service, and hospitality training, Mr. Mercado received the President’s Award.

Mr. Mercado inherently understands the three primary areas that every restaurant or meal must achieve to provide the best experience to the customer – presentation, service, and quality. Without those three special ingredients, a resident’s expectations will never be met.

At FellowshipLIFE, Mr. Mercado has received accolades, awards, and recognition for his dedication to the customers and guests he has served over the years. He has earned the respect of his residents, colleagues, and the senior living industry for his unyielding devotion to people and service.

Mr. Mercado has been blessed with a wonderful wife, two children and two grandchildren. He resides in Lopatcong, New Jersey with his wife.

Marcy Burach

Senior Director of Sales and Marketing

Marcy Burach has over 30 years of sales and marketing experience in both the business to business and business to consumer segments. As Senior Director of Sales and Marketing, Mrs. Burach focuses on the growth at Fellowship Village while supporting the Sales and Marketing efforts throughout FellowshipLIFE.

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Mrs. Burach began her career as an account executive working on market research and new business development at a boutique advertising agency in NYC. She left the agency to oversee the account management efforts of an entertainment marketing agency focused on connecting brands with music, lifestyle and event sponsorships. After 9-11, Marcy worked as a Director for the NYC Economic Development Corporation where she managed programs designed to help struggling small businesses in lower Manhattan generate new business. Throughout the last decade, Marcy has successfully led sales and marketing teams through strong leadership, proven sales techniques, and insightful training on how to best connect with a prospect.

Marcy has a Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University and earned the Advertising in Excellence Award from the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

Marcy resides in Livingston, NJ with her husband and two children.

Dominic Maltese

Senior Director of Plant Operations

Mr. Maltese has over 20 years of facilities management and construction experience. His expertise and knowledge span all aspects of plant and grounds, housekeeping, security, and transportation services. Through his hands-on approach, leadership skills and expertise, Mr. Maltese builds a strong team to deliver positive results and high resident satisfaction.

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In recognition for his achievements in safety, leadership, performance, and resident service, Mr. Maltese received Community Safety and Leadership Awards throughout his career.

As a thoughtful and dedicated leader, Mr. Maltese has embraced a resident-first approach. He focuses on both the big picture as well as the small details that make a difference in the lives of the residents. Mr. Maltese’s experience with preventive maintenance, day-to-day operations, and repositioning the residences to meet market demands directly contributes to the success of Fellowship Village.

Mr. Maltese’s work ethic and attitude are contagious, and his leadership skills empower team members to take pride in their work. He views Fellowship Village as if it were his own home where his experience leading people and contractors makes a difference every day.

Mr. Maltese is a graduate of Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Science in business management. He resides in Succasunna, New Jersey, with his wife and twin sons.

Meet our Fellowship Village Board of Advisors

Our volunteer Board of Advisors complements our leadership team with their skills and experience, following the faith-based principles that have defined us from the beginning.

Stanley Morin

Stanley J. Morin, CPA

Chairman of the Board and Finance Chair

Mr. Morin currently serves as FellowshipLIFE’s chairman of the board. He is a certified public accountant with certifications in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and he is a shareholder of Stanley J. Morin, CPA PC.

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Mr. Morin has over 40 years of experience in public accounting and taxation, and is still active in the professional practice with offices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He has been a frequent speaker on various accounting, auditing, tax and estate-related topics. His concentrations are primarily in not-for-profit, corporate, and taxation matters. Mr. Morin is a graduate of Husson University in Bangor, Maine, with graduate work completed at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is chairman of the board and finance committee of FellowshipLIFE. He has served on the board and committees of various local and national not-for-profit and charitable organizations. He is a trustee/treasurer of the Jack Weisberg Charitable Foundation. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants, New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, and a Chartered Global Management Accountant. He is an active member of the New Jersey State Society of CPAs, having served as a trustee, and was past chairman of the society’s professional conduct and ethics committees. Mr. Morin resides with his wife in Bluffton, SC, and has three children, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Jeffrey Zenna

Jeffrey J. Zenna, Esq., LLM

Vice Chairman of the Board

Mr. Zenna is an experienced plaintiff personal injury lawyer and a partner at Blume, Forte, Fried, Zerres, and Molinari, located in Chatham, New Jersey. He is a graduate of the City University New York School of Law.

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After law school, he completed a judicial clerkship for the Honorable Mahlon Fast, J.S.C. Since joining the firm, he has received a Master of Laws degree from New York University School of Law.

Mr. Zenna is a member of the Essex, Hudson and Morris county bar associations. He was also admitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit). As a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, he has lectured on their behalf with regard to trial advocacy, and in 2010 lectured for the New Jersey Association for Justice regarding the use of rebuttal testimony. Mr. Zenna has also been a member of the William J. Brennan, Jr. Inn of Court since 1997. He is a long-standing member of the New Jersey chapter of The Miami Project, dedicated to the cure of paralysis, and he was approved in 2013 to sit on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s 10B Ethics Committee for Morris County for a four-year term.

Suzanne Shugg

Suzanne Shugg APN, DNP, CLS, FNLA

Spiritual Life Committee Chair

Dr. Shugg has over 20 years of experience in healthcare. She started as a registered nurse and continued her education to practice as an advanced practice nurse, a doctor of nursing practice, and a lipid specialist. She is currently the director of Preventive Cardiovascular Care at NJ Cardiology Associates, which is affiliated with St. Barnabas Medical Center.

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Dr. Shugg is the CEO of Teleplus HealthCare, a medical software company that enables hospitals and providers to manage chronic care illnesses on a population level. She focuses on disease prevention and preservation of quality of life. Dr. Shugg has practiced various aspects of acute care and cardiology across the healthcare spectrum. She has also served as a consultant to several hospitals to establish preventive care, chronic care management and telemedicine. Dr. Shugg earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, her master’s degree at Seton Hall University and her doctorate at Rutgers University.

brian lawrence

Brian G. Lawrence, LNHA, CPA, MBA

Mr. Lawrence has over 20 years of healthcare and Life Plan Community/CCRC experience. He began serving FellowshipLIFE, Inc., as chief financial officer in 1999 and added the role of executive vice president in 2006. With a well-rounded understanding of the Life Plan Community and healthcare business, and 10 years of progressive leadership in the organization, Mr. Lawrence assumed the duties of president and CEO in 2009.

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Mr. Lawrence is a licensed nursing home administrator and a certified public accountant. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Seton Hall University, where he graduated magna cum laude. He also holds an Executive Masters of Business Administration in finance from the Stern Graduate School of Business at New York University.

As president and CEO, Mr. Lawrence is currently leading FellowshipLIFE’s senior leadership team with responsibility for overall Healthcare and Medical Services, Independent Living, and Home Community Based Services operations and performance. Mr. Lawrence actively participates with the FellowshipLIFE board of directors, ensuring the execution of strategic planning and development initiatives. His vision and number one priority is providing a high level of care and services to seniors and maintaining the sound financial health of the organization.

Mr. Lawrence received the “President’s Award” from LeadingAge NJ in 2019 for his outstanding accomplishments in the senior living industry. He is a member of the American Society on Aging, LeadingAge, Healthcare Financial Management Association, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants. He resides in Millburn, New Jersey, with his wife, son and daughter.

Dave Jones

Reverend David Jones

Father Dave Jones has spent almost his entire life in New Jersey, serving churches in Pond Eddy, Basking Ridge, and Jersey City. Prior to his ordination into the priesthood, Dave was the Vice President for Student Engagement at Centenary University for about twenty years. While serving at Centenary, he was integral to the construction of two 120 student residences and a combined Dining Facility/Performing Arts Center. Programmatically, he is most proud of a self-funded program he founded and co-directed in which a total of 1,600 students over 7 years traveled to New Orleans to work with St Bernard Project in reconstruction following Hurricane Katrina.

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Rulene DiFrancesco

Rulene DiFrancesco

Mrs. DiFrancesco joined the FellowshipLIFE board in 2021. She has a master’s degree in early childhood education and certification in supervision and elementary principal. She taught first grade and kindergarten in the Scotch Plains/Fanwood school district for 25 years and as an adjunct at William Paterson University for 11 years.

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Mrs. DiFrancesco was the first recipient of Joan Vagelos Currie Award for Excellence in Teaching, the volunteer of the year award in Somerset County and the Educator of the year award in Somerset County. She is a longtime active member of Somerset Hills Baptist Church.

William (Bill) Dobson

William (Bill) Dobson

William (Bill) Dobson joined the FellowshipLIFE board in 2021. Mr. Dobson is a retired fixed income trader, having worked for 25 years in institutional sales and trading in the corporate loan market. Mr. Dobson served as a managing director and head of loan trading at Macquarie Capital USA from September 2016 until March 2019. Bill was the co-head of loan trading at Deutsche Bank Securities in New York from July 2009 until June of 2016.

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He was a vice president and trader at Goldman Sachs on the Loan Trading desk in New York from September 2005 until April 2009, and was a managing director and head of loan trading at Wachovia Securities from October 1998 until September 2005. Bill has a Bachelor of Science in finance from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA in finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Ronald (Ron) Whalin

Mr. Whalin moved into Fellowship Village as a resident with his wife, Bert, in 2012, and joined the FellowshipLIFE board in 2021. He spent 37 years in the Bell System, managing various areas of engineering, manufacturing, sales and information system technology. In retirement, he served as a trustee of the Chatham United Methodist Church and volunteered as a project manager.

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He serves on the NaCCRA Board, as the Past President of ORANJ, and on the Legislative Committee resulting in the Veterans’ Property Tax Refund Bill. He is a deacon at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church. Mr. Whalin also co-leads the iPad Club with the assistance of high school students to help other residents at Fellowship Village with their electronic devices. Ron received his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering at New Mexico State University, his Masters in mechanical engineering at New York University, and his Masters in electrical engineering at Rutgers University.

Dr. Judy Pasnik

Dr. Pasnik moved into Fellowship Village as a resident in 2017 with her husband Michael. She spent her professional career as a doctor of physical therapy. She worked with Brigham Hospital, The American Leprosy Mission, and the VNA of Somerset Hills. She founded Somerset Hill Physical Therapy, PC, with offices in Basking Ridge and Bedminster.

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Dr. Pasnik earned a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy from Tufts University and doctorate in physical therapy from Boston University. Here at Fellowship Village, she’s enjoyed being a part of the Village Players in several of their productions. She is also chair of the Marketing Committee and chair of the Fellowship Foundation.

Her volunteer experience has included several leadership roles on local and national boards, through the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church, Somerset Hills YMCA, VNA of Somerset Hills, PTPN-NJ Chapter, The Presbyterian Church USA’s Committee on Theological Education, and Frost Valley YMCA.

Ralph Acquaviva

Ralph Acquaviva

Mr. Acquaviva’s passion for quality homemade food and hand-crafted wine led him into culinary school and a career in hospitality. Mr. Acquaviva received an associate degree in culinary arts from Hudson County College and a Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality business management from New Jersey City University.

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Mr. Acquaviva’s initial skills were developed in the fast-paced kitchen at the Short Hills Hilton in Short Hills. In 2002, he opened Delicious Heights, a small delicatessen in Berkeley Heights. Five years later, he opened up his first full-service restaurant bar and grill — also in Berkeley Heights and also named Delicious Heights. Today, he is the part-owner of three successful restaurants and two sophisticated banquet venues.

Mr. Acquaviva credits his parents for his cooking talents and ambitious work ethic. If he had a personal motto, it would be, “Dream it, think it, do it. Repeat.” He lives with his wife and their two daughters.

Michael Toscano

Michael Toscano is a finance executive with over 25 years of experience in public company corporate finance, primarily in the travel industry. Michael most recently served as the CFO for the travel and membership division of Travel + Leisure Co. for 8 years. Travel + Leisure Co is the world’s largest timeshare developer and timeshare exchange company, headquartered in Orlando Florida. In this role, Michael was a key member of the executive leadership team for the business along with the division CEO and COO. He was responsible for a worldwide team of 200+ finance professionals in more than 10 countries. Prior to the segment CFO role, Michael was SVP of Financial Planning & Analysis for the division for over 10 years.

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Before Travel + Leisure, Michael worked for Wyndham Worldwide and Cendant Corporation, both of which were predecessors to T+L Co, serving in a variety of roles in corporate finance including leading the finance organization for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.

Michael started his career at Arthur Andersen’s Roseland NJ office in the audit practice. He has broad experience in finance, including: audit, controllership, financial planning & analysis, and M&A. Michael is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in NJ.

Michael has a BS in Accounting from Villanova University and an MBA from the Columbia Business School. He is an active supporter of his undergrad alma mater, serving as a member of their Accounting Advisory Board. He resides in Basking Ridge with his wife and 3 children. Michael is an active supporter of St James Parish and School along with his wife Suzanne.