Friends Village leadership team

Meet our team

At Friends Village, our leaders and team members provide the innovation and ideas that drive success and inspire older adults to live their best lives today.

Kelli Mills, BSW, LNHA, MHA

Executive Director of Friends Village

Ms. Mills has over 30 years of progressive operational experience in senior living. She started her career serving older adults in social work as a neighborhood manager and admissions counselor. Ms. Mills then served in key leadership roles as nursing home and residential living administrator, senior director of plant operations, and vice president of operations.

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Her extensive years in the senior living industry have shaped the infrastructure, programs and services that have benefited many older adults. Ms. Mills led her team in the repositioning of nursing and personal care, achieving a 5-Star quality rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, and led the implementation of an $80 million expansion project.

Ms. Mills currently serves as executive director of Friends Village, a premier FellowshipLIFE community. Ms. Mills has a strategic mindset and innovative outlook for the future of senior living and bringing the highest level of service and hospitality to older adults. She places high value on operational efficiencies, quality of service, reinvesting in infrastructure, and supporting team members through recognition, open dialogue, and relationship-building while maximizing revenues.

Ms. Mills is a licensed nursing home administrator in Pennsylvania and New Jersey; she holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in healthcare administration.

Denise Kaizar

Assisted Living Administrator

Ms. Kaizar has over 25 years of experience in health care management. Ms. Kaizar’s ungraduated degree is in psychology and she started her career in mental health as a counselor, and decided that she would make helping older adults her career of choice.

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Ms. Kaizar advanced and developed her leadership ability throughout her years as Administrator/Executive Director in Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care communities. She takes pride in history of high satisfaction rates from team members, residents, and families. She enjoys all aspects of administration and is well versed in marketing, memory care, training, and person-centered care.

She serves as the Assisted Living Administrator at Friends Village. Ms. Kaizar supports her team through mentoring and positivity by modeling and inspiring those around her. She firmly believes that high expectations and a strong work ethic work hand in hand to lead for a success environment to live and work.

Miguel Rosa Hernandez, director of plant operations

Miguel Rosa Hernandez

Director of Plant Operations

Miguel Rosa Hernandez has 34 years of experience.  He’s had the opportunity to work with a few leading companies in Facilities Engineering and Property Management Services.  Learning many different systems while working closely with government agencies, engineers, as well as participating in many projects. Miguel was part of the development and implementation of many corporate programs including safety, security, disaster planning, emergency response, fire safety, construction management, Utility Management, environmental and laundry services operations.  Miguel has provided consistent employee management and risk assessments to identify and prevent any possible problems that may compromise the health and safety of the public, as well as facilities operations and the surrounding infrastructure.

William Keegan Mattson, director of culinary services

William Keegan Mattson

Director of Culinary Services

W. Keegan Mattson has a passion for providing excellent customer service and memorable experiences for those he serves. With expertise in event planning and people management.

Mr. Mattson is certified in Dietary Management through the University of Florida. As well as serve safe certified.

Mr. Mattson has worked at Friends Village in the Culinary field for over ten years starting his career as Utility and has worked his way to Director. He takes pride in the success of his team as well as himself.

Melissa Casperson

Director of Sales and Marketing Services

Ms. Casperson is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience in senior living sales and marketing. Her career began as an activity coordinator, where she discovered her passion for assisting older adults in leading more vibrant lifestyles. Recognizing her talent and dedication, she swiftly progressed to the role of an Admissions & Marketing Director in Skilled Nursing, and later transitioned to a Sales Director position in the Senior Living industry.

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Throughout her career, Ms. Casperson has actively volunteered and served on numerous committees, including the Delaware Valley Alzheimer’s Association. This demonstrates her commitment to making a positive impact in the lives of seniors and their families beyond her professional responsibilities.

With a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Sociology from Susquehanna University, Ms. Casperson possesses a well-rounded educational background.

As a New Jersey native, Ms. Casperson brings a deep understanding of the local community and its unique characteristics. Her extensive experience, combined with her passion and educational background, makes her well-equipped to contribute to the organization’s goals and make a meaningful impact in the lives of older adults within the community. She is excited to share her knowledge and skillset with Friends Village.

Meet our Friends 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

Mr. Morin currently serves as FellowshipLIFE’s and Friends Village’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.

Walter Pardo

Walter Pardo, CWS®, PPC

Audit Chairman

Walter F. Pardo CWS®, PPC™ is the CEO of Wealth Financial Partners & WFP Tax Partners founded in 2010. Both Firms are headquartered in the historic Liberty Corner district of Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Having graduated Norwich University: Military College of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Walter began his career in Wall Street. With over 30 years of guiding families through investment, tax & legacy planning, Mr. Pardo continues to help clients stay in control of their financial roadmap.

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Walter is a Master Elite IRA advisor of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisor Group℠, he also is an active member of the Elite POZ Advisor Group, a group of top advisors in the industry at helping their clients mitigate tax-rate risk and longevity risk. He is a Certified Wealth Strategist®, Professional Plan Consultant™ & holds membership of both SOFA (Society for Financial Awareness) plus the National Association of Tax Preparers (NATP). Walter holds Series 7, 66 and 63 licenses. Walter is licensed in fourteen states and also holds active life and health Insurance licenses.

Since 1999, Walter has been a resident of Basking Ridge, with his wife, Suzanne, and two daughters, Isabel, and Natalie. Mr. Pardo is very active in his community in central New Jersey as a member of the Summit Lions club, & he served on the Board of Directors of Eversight. Since 2017, Walter has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Loyola Jesuit Center in Morristown, New Jersey, where he is also the Men’s Retreat Coordinator for the Morristown Ignatian Spirituality Project.

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

President and CEO

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

Father Dave L. 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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Recent honors include being named Person of the Year by the Warren Chapter of the NAACP, an Honorary Alum by the Centenary University Alumni Association, reception of the first “Beacon” Award given by the Warren County Human Relations Commission and Granting of Entrance to the Village by the Elders of Brahabebome, Ashanti, and Ghana. Dave was ordained a priest by The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith, Tenth Bishop of Newark, on June 9, 2018.

Dave earned his undergraduate degree at Montclair State University, his Masters of Divinity at Drew Theological School, and completed courses in Anglican Studies at General Theological Seminary.

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.

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.