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Executive Leadership

Our days are filled with important duties and routines. Yet human connection takes precedence over the necessities of our job descriptions every time. You are why we're here.

We bring varied backgrounds and skills to our roles, but we are all here to love and support you.

Michael R. Wagner President, Leo Brown Group/Principal, Traditions Management: Michael R. Wagner

Mike Wagner is a graduate of the IU Kelley School of Business, an Executive Council and Business Development Member of the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), and serves as an Advisory Board Member of the Indiana Center for Assisted Living (INCAL) and Little Sisters of the Poor St. Augustine's Home for the Aged.

Mike lives in Indianapolis with his wife and three daughters and is a lifelong resident of the Circle City. He is personally experienced in the way a comfortable, supportive community and quality care impacts not only a senior, but an entire network of family and friends

"We have the ability to help residents and members of their family reconnect in a more relaxed, personal way than that of a caregiver/patient relationship. They can focus on enjoying each others' company. That meant a great deal to me as the child of aging parents and it will always be important to me."

Thomas C. Smith CEO Leo Brown Group/Principal, Traditions Management: Thomas C. Smith

Tom Smith is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Construction Engineering and Management and has specialized in senior living operations for more than 15 years.

"My role as CEO is to support my team members by clearing barriers that may impede or inhibit their abilities to provide the very best care to our residents. I consider this a responsibility and an honor. Because these seniors deserve nothing but our very best."

Tom lives in Carmel, Indiana with his wife, Amy and four children.

Andy Wade, LNHA President and Principal, Traditions Management: Andy Wade, LNHA

Andy Wade graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology and Wright State University with an MBA. He served as the President of the Miami Valley Long Term Care Association from 2004-2009 and District II Representative for the Ohio Health Care Association (OCHA) from 2005-2012. He is currently a board member of the Ohio Assisted Living Association (OALA) and an Ohio licensed nursing home administrator.

Andy has served in operations management for Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living, Memory Care and Independent Living communities, as well as Home Health organizations for more than 20 years.

"I grew up learning about elder care, senior living and the ways that people at all levels of an organization influence the quality of life for seniors. My father prioritized relationships over job descriptions, and stressed the importance of treating our residents with dignity and respect. This is a part of everything we do here as an organization and as people who serve others."

Vince McGowen Chief Operating Officer, Traditions Management: Vince McGowen

Vince McGowen comes to Traditions Management with over 30 years of experience in post-acute care in over 15 states and over 300 distinct facilities. He has served in the areas of operations, finance, advocacy, and government relations and has held positions in non-for-profit, for-profit, privately held, and publicly traded organizations.

During the onset of the COVID pandemic (and throughout its first year), Vince was leading the operations of 13 skilled nursing facilities in Illinois and Missouri. He has extensive experience in dealing with frontline turnover, and vaccination reluctance. Vince has served on the Boards of Directors for both the Indiana Health Care Association and Hoosier Owners and Providers for the Elderly.

“I desired to join Traditions because of its commitment to customer service, quality of life, associate development, and community engagement.”

Jennifer Gellinger Executive Vice President of Operations: Jennifer Gellinger

Jennifer Gellinger graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Interpersonal Relations, as well as a Masters in Gerontology and Executive Development of Public Service. She is a licensed Health Facility Administrator and certified Preceptor.

Jennifer also serves as a mentor to Executive Directors throughout the Traditions family of communities.

"Quality of life for our residents is #1. When we focus on that, children can be children and not caregivers. It gives something back to our seniors and to the whole family."

Nikki Zellen Vice President of Marketing : Nikki Zellen

Nikki Zellen joins Traditions with over twenty-five years of expertise in marketing and sales team support. Her journey began at Babson College in Massachusetts, where she discovered a passion for blending creativity and data in the marketing space. She further honed her skills by earning an MBA from Duke University.

For over a decade, Nikki managed several national brands, including Curél lotion and Bioré skincare. Seeking to make a broader impact in her community, she transitioned to a nonprofit in Greater Cincinnati, where she applied her expertise in brand management and marketing principles to serve parents, foster parents, teachers, and children. There, she successfully built a sales and marketing team and launched two new national brands, generating additional revenue streams for the organization.

Outside of her professional life, Nikki enjoys attending her two teens’ activities and athletic events with her husband and dog. She is also a loyal Red Sox fan and an enthusiastic jogger.

Eric Dexter Vice President of Facilities: Eric Dexter

Eric Dexter holds an Associates of Science in Tool & Die from Vincennes University. He is Stick Welding and Safe Start certified and was previously the Director of Facilities for a joint commission-certified community mental health center.

His experience includes the oversight of maintenance, transportation, housekeeping, purchasing and security, as well as environmental service policies, procedures and emergency preparedness.

"Traditions is at the forefront of community care and culture. I take great pride in doing my part to reassure residents and their families that they will get the best care in every way possible."

Eric, his wife, Heather and their four children live in Logansport, IN.

Rachael Smith Chief Administration Officer: Rachael Smith

Rachael is a graduate of Florida Southern College with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. With 20-plus years in corporate America in Project Management, her experience includes cross-functional project management, process improvement, and change management with certifications in leadership and team development.

“Growing up in Florida, I worked with a lot of seniors. I learned early on the importance of dignity as we age, social interaction to keep us engaged and mindful, and the challenges to provide care that honors dignity in a clean, respectful and home-like atmosphere. When I saw how Traditions incorporates dignity and care together, maximizing the quality of life for their residents and staff, I knew this was where I belonged.”

Rachael lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two cats.

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