Team (listed alphabetically)
An avid animator since the age of 11, Alan Saunders earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago in 2006. After working on several personal and professional animated projects, he transitioned into the world of e-learning in 2009, where he quickly discovered an appreciation for the process of researching and animating complex topics. In 2012, Alan relocated to Southern California and joined the CareerSmart Learning team soon after.
Fun Fact: Alan gets the hiccups when eating spicy food.
Alicia has had a passion for reading and writing from an early age and eventually went on to study English. After two years of studying at San Francisco State, she decided to move back to Southern California and earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Cal State Fullerton. She spent several years working in customer service and after a year with ISYS Solutions, Inc., she joined CareerSmart as our Education Services Assistant. She is excited to be part of such an amazing team and is looking forward to providing support to our RCFE program.
Fun Fact: Alicia ran competitively for eight years and earned the title “Fastest Woman in Brea” in 2011.
Alysha started her career as a social worker, working in long term care facilities, specializing in patients with dementia and mental illness. After supervising in social services, she decided to go back to school and obtain her Master’s Degree in Public Administration, after which she was recruited and worked for three years for the California State Auditor. Wanting to be closer to family, Alysha returned to her roots in Southern California and in social services, working as both a licensing program analyst and licensing program manager for the Community Care Licensing Division, Senior Care Program, of the CA Department of Social Services. After leaving state service in 2010, she helped found CareerSmart Learning. She is currently responsible for all CareerSmart Learning operations, conducts presentations and offers consultation to healthcare and social service professionals, and participates in community and educational advisory boards.
Fun Fact: Alysha played the accordion as a child.
Angie has over 25 years of experience as a nurse case manager. She is a certified nurse case manager and certified rehabilitation nurse. She is one of the original founders of ISYS Solutions, Inc., which provides nurse case management in the workers’ compensation industry, and CareerSmart Learning, which provides continuing education to healthcare, rehabilitation, and social services professionals nationwide. Angie’s approach to case management and to educating are similar: she strives to ensure high quality content and delivery.
Fun Fact: Angie and her husband were on the Newlywed Game just after getting married, and they won!
Caitlin is a Residential Care Program Administrator, Consultant, and Instructor. She joined CareerSmart after working with the California Department of Social Services – Community Care Licensing Division for over 7 years, including 3 years in the Statewide Adult and Senior Care Program Office (where her responsibilities included acting as liaison with the Department of Health Care Services for the Assisted Living Waiver Program) and 2 years as a Licensing Program Manager. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication and her diverse experience also includes contract management and teaching severely emotionally disturbed adolescents.
Fun Fact: As a child, Caitlin had a pet Squirrel Monkey.
Inspired by Tom and Jerry and Bugs Bunny cartoons as a child, Cristina knew she wanted to be an Animator/Designer early on. She earned her Associates Degree in 3D Animation at Miami International University of Art & Design and moved on to becoming a designer for print and web for the Miami Herald. She brings 12 years of experience in working with various creative projects from video editing to print design.
Cristina is fascinated with how the internet is changing and improving the way we learn and is happy to return to her original passion for animation. She is looking forward to designing courses that will help people further their careers.
Fun Fact: Cristina has a dog named Banjo. She enjoys taking photos of him and posting them on Instagram.
A filmmaker/editor since middle school, David Brunette earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Film & Video from California State University Long Beach in 2011. Aside from his portfolio of personal projects, David got much of his experience working as a wedding videographer for many years before he moved on to edit a TV show for a world famous artist based out of Laguna Beach that aired on PBS. He found his way to e-learning with CareerSmart in 2016 and is excited to have a place where he can showcase his talents doing something he loves all while being part of an awesome team.
Fun fact: David Loves to go skydiving!!
Diana discovered her love for writing at the age of six and went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2007 at San Diego State University. She has eight years of experience in quality customer service and six years of experience in proofreading and editing healthcare related material. She enjoys meeting professionals and learning about their needs, applying the “Hug Your Customer” philosophy whenever she can. She especially enjoys being part of any creative process, from the content review of courses to the visual aspect of advertising, and feels right at home working with a team of highly creative individuals who love what they do.
Fun Fact: Every year, Diana visits at least one place where she has never been.
Edna is a Residential Care Program Instructor and Consultant, responsible for delivery of our Initial Certification Training Program and continuing education, as well as consulting with licensees on compliance, quality assurance, appeals and RCFE license applications. She holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B – Dar es Salaam University, Tanzania) and a Master of Laws (LL.M – London School of Economics, University of London) degrees. She joined Career Smart after working with the California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing for 21 years. Of those, she was a Licensing Program Analyst (LPA) for 10 years as a case carrying analyst and as an application specialist; 2 years as an Associate Governmental Program Analyst (AGPA) in the Adult Care Policy Unit in Sacramento; and a total of 9 years as a Licensing Program Manager (LPM) in the Adult and Senior Care Program offices in San Diego and Riverside. Prior to that, she was an Individual Program Coordinator (IPC) at Lanterman Developmental Center where she monitored programs and advocated for persons with developmental disabilities for 4 years. She also worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a Junior Programme Officer in Liberia, West Africa, where she liaised with local government and monitored international donor agencies regarding UNDP projects for 2 years.
Fun Fact: Edna loves to garden, especially vegetables.
Joe has an extensive and diverse professional background with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Public Administration. He has worked with ISYS and CareerSmart since 2009 and is currently the Vice President and COO at CareerSmart. Joe loves his job and the people he works with.
Fun Fact: Joe and his youngest daughter share the same birthdate. (Within about an hour!)
Robin is a Residential Care Program Instructor and Consultant responsible for assisting in development and delivery of the Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE) Initial Certification and Continuing Education program, as well as providing compliance consultation assistance to licensees and administrators, including assisting with license applications, appeals, and plans of corrections. She began her career as a Licensed Psychiatric Technician at Fairview Developmental Center, where she worked on the behavior adjustment program for 11 years, and then transferred to the Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) of the Department of Social Services as a Licensing Program Analyst. During her tenure at CCLD, she worked primarily in the Senior Care Program and was the Application Specialist for five years, with a total of 18 years working for CCLD. Now retired from state service, Robin is excited to join CareerSmart and such a dedicated team.
Fun Fact: Robin played the flute for 7 years and was also in her high school marching band.
Meet Rory! He has studied illustration, animation, and graphic design at Saddleback College and is very excited to create and grow with the team. In the past, he has held jobs as an after school caregiver for children and has assembled and repaired bikes for Target. In his youth, he began drawing for fun and has continued to enjoy it to this day.
Fun Fact: Rory has a background in music; he played trumpet in his high school marching band and plays bass guitar as a hobby.
As a teenager growing up on Long Island, New York, Sharina loved to draw and paint. Her love for creating art developed into a passion for using technology to design. While in college, she held different jobs, from a leatterbrush artist at the zoo to customer service at a smoothie stand. After graduating from the NewSchool of Architecture and Design in 2015, she found her niche in eLearning development. She truly enjoys the work that she does and is excited to create innovative learning solutions with a hardworking, fun, and talented team. In her spare time, Sharina enjoys hiking, making music, and going on road trips.
Fun Fact: Before she became a singer in a band, Sharina had to get over severe stage fright!
Whitney has been a Certified Case Manager (CCM) and senior nurse case manager specializing in workers’ compensation medical case management. Her registered nurse experience includes acute care nursing, post-acute care placement specialist, nursing leadership, and case management, including complex and catastrophic case management skills. She currently serves as the CareerSmart lead nurse planner/healthcare program evaluator, overseeing educational programming for clinical professionals, participating in the curriculum development review committee, and even authoring some of CareerSmart’s courses.
Fun Fact: Whitney enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling as well as spending time with family and friends. She loves to wrap gifts during the holidays and has master gift wrapping skills!
Annette’s nursing experience is widely diverse, and she has spent the last eight years of her professional career in a wide range of nursing fields. Her background includes hospice/home health, school nursing, workers’ compensation, clinical nursing instruction, and medical/surgical hospital nursing. Annette takes pride as a nurse because of her ethnic diversity and understanding of well-rounded holistic care.
Fun Fact: Annette spent most of her teen and early adult years as a competitive dancer and professional instructor!
Barbara has been serving seniors since 1995. She began as a certified recreation therapist in acute rehabilitation and skilled nursing settings. She subsequently moved into the field of home care as a branch manager before starting her career as an RCFE Administrator in 2001. Her first community served 100 seniors in assisted living and memory care. After taking a regional position for three years, she returned to managing a large community which served independent, assisted, and skilled nursing residents. She is presently pursuing a certificate in Fiduciary Management at California State University, Fullerton in order to become a licensed Fiduciary through the state of California.
Fun Fact: Barbara is married to a food and beverage director for an RCFE facility, which means that he is in charge of cooking at home, an activity that Barbara is thankful he enjoys as she does not. Barbara has four dogs- two chihuahuas and two mini dachshunds.
Dr. Coleman graduated nursing school 10 years ago and has worked in several disciplines including Critical Care, Dialysis, Surgery, Emergency Department and Long-term care & Rehab. In the interim, she went on to pursue further education graduating with a Medical Degree (M.D.) from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in 2014. Currently, she is completing her residency training in Seattle, WA. She worked consistently as a nurse during her medical training process. She has held several leadership positions in nursing including charge nurse and nurse manager positions. She is currently working as a nurse consultant while completing her training.
“Nursing is my foundation upon which I am building my medical career. I firmly believe that the nursing perspective in caring for a patient is a different and absolutely critical portion necessary to provide the best care to our ever-changing patient population”.
Fun fact: Dr. Coleman is from a very large family, with a total of 7 siblings, 5 of which are also Nurses. She says her family lives and breathes Nursing!
Carla Yaldezian is a registered dietitian and has earned a Master’s Degree in Nutrition with an emphasis in disease-related nutrition therapy, education, and wellness. During her career, Carla has gained experience in the field of nutrition developing online nutrition-related curricula, conducting adult nutrition education classes, and providing one-on-one nutrition counseling where she implements individualized nutritional care plans for nutrition-related comorbidities such as obesity, eating disorders, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease. As a member of several professional organizations, Carla is very dedicated to provide nutrition education on a variety of nutrition-related topics that enhances one’s self-efficacy to eat healthy and live an active life style.
Fun Fact: For fun, Carla enjoys riding her bike along the sunny California coast with the wind in her hair and the sun on her back.
Our Public Relations Specialist, Cody, is a soft coated wheaten terrier. He is a certified therapy dog and earned his Distinguished Title from the AKC for completing over 400 volunteered therapy visits. He and his owner, Angie Jung, have brought countless smiles and comfort to many residents at Assisted Living facilities, children with brain injuries or other illnesses, as well as therapy services for victims of crime or troubled youths. In 2017, Cody earned his Trick Dog Champion title and recognized as Trick Dog Performer by the AKC. Cody enjoys taking part in many healthcare exhibits and presentations for CareerSmart and is our very own therapy dog at the office. Cody is passionate about his job and consistently delivers positive memorable experiences to everyone he meets!
Fun Fact: Cody thinks he’s a seal when it comes to being at the beach. He loves jumping over waves and diving in to find his water toys.
Eve has worked in the healthcare field since obtaining her MBA in 1987. She began in pharmaceutical sales and moved into product line management for various healthcare products and services. She began her work in senior services as a Director of Sales and Marketing for a large, 400 bed full-service retirement community, and advanced her career through the Regional and National level, culminating as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. She then switched to Operations, and successfully ran several Assisted Living and Memory Care communities within California. She has expertise with all levels of free-standing senior care including independent, assisted, dementia-related care and skilled nursing care facilities, as well as with Continuing Care Retirement Communities.
Eve is also an avid musician, playing first violin with her string quartet, Zene Strings. In addition to a heavy performance schedule, she creates string quartet arrangements of pop songs.
Fun Fact: Eve grew up in four countries and became a US citizen in 1988 – her fourth citizenship.
Karen is a Registered Nurse and Certified Legal Nurse Consultant with clinical experience in acute and long-term care settings as a staff nurse, Director of Nursing and multi-facility consultant. She is also a licensed nursing home administrator and certified RCFE administrator. She has enjoyed the challenges of managing successful facilities, including the implementation of dementia care and post-acute rehabilitation units to improve quality of life for residents.
As the owner of Coast to Coast Legal Nurse Consultants, Karen has provided expert review of medical-legal cases involving assisted living, skilled nursing, long-term acute, and acute care facilities.
Fun Fact: Karen is a fan of NASCAR racing.
Kim received her BSN in 2002, and most recently her MSN in Nurse Education in 2019. She hails from New England and has always worked as a pediatric nurse. Her career started in Boston in a pediatric rehabilitation facility where she also became experienced in pediatric home care and primary care outpatient visits. Shortly after, she worked for a short time in the pediatric intensive care unit. After having children, her career moved her closer to home where she worked as a school nurse and on a small pediatric floor in a community based hospital. While she continues working in the hospital and occasionally for the local elementary school, she most recently has been working as adjunct faculty for a local university. She considers it a privilege to care for families when their children are sick and makes educating patients, parents, and students a priority.
Fun Fact about me: Kim is trained in Muay Thai Kickboxing, and is the daughter-in-law of Karen, another Career Smart contributor!
Kristen has been in the aging services field for 20 years, specifically managing senior housing communities for the past 15 years. She earned a bachelors degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and a masters degree in Gerontology from the University of Arizona. Kristen has experience managing various care settings from CCRC’s to stand alone Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Health Centers in 6 different states. She also oversaw the start-up and opened two multi-care level communities. She holds current RCFE and NHA licenses in California.
Fun Fact: In her spare time, Kristen loves to travel and has been all over North America, Europe, Asia and Central and South America. One of her favorite trips was hiking the Inca Trail in Peru.
Lee-Anne is a Registered Nurse (RN) with a background in quality assurance and improvement, healthcare education/training, healthcare sales and marketing, and clinical case management and acute care clinical settings. She is an experienced educator in professional staff development, community outreach, and in the development of educational programs with special expertise in areas related to aging, hospice and end of life care, and dementia.
Fun Fact: Lee-Anne likes to participate in triathlons.
Lisa graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from University of California Los Angeles in 1989. She has 12 years of experience working in the Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing for Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange Counties. For the last five years, Lisa has owned Right at Home in-home care in Rancho Cucamonga and presents training and acts as a consultant for assisted living communities, senior living communities, the Alzheimer’s Association, hospice agencies, and home health agencies.
Luis joined the senior care industry in August 2007 as an Activities and Volunteer Director. He served in many other roles, including managing the Assisted Living Care Team for a large Independent Full Service Facility before accepting the Executive Director position at the large Assisted Living Community he currently oversees. During his tenure, he has been selected to be part of the Strategic Development Group for his company, also acting as a one-on-one mentor for aspiring Administrators in the assisted living industry, a job coach for current administrators, and a training leader for various state approved programs and quality of life programs.
Luis enjoys providing support to fellow administrators and executive directors working in Assisted Living and watching these administrators and his employees grow professionally. He enjoys creating pleasant days and enhancing the quality of life for all residents, especially those suffering with dementia. He is passionate about the work he does.
Outside of work, Luis enjoys playing tennis, spending time with his family and watching his children play sports.
Fun fact: Prior to working with seniors, Luis was a High School Math teacher.
Nancy has for the past 30 years served as a case manager, Director of Case Management and an international national case management educator. In her current role as principal consultant for Riverside HealthCare Consulting, she advances programs that promote excellence in care coordination and other transitional care strategies.
In 2002, she was named the Case Management Society of America (CMSA) National Case Manager of the Year and in 2008, she received CMSA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She currently serves as a Board Member for the Hospital Quality Foundation and as a reviewer for the Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute. Additionally, she assisted in the development of Post-Discharge Accreditation Standards for Cardiovascular Disease in partnership with the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.
Nancy is an Advisory Task Force Member of the National Transition of Care Coalition (NTOCC) as well as serving as Chair of NTOCC’s Tools and Resources Committee. She is a member of both the Stakeholders Advisory Group for Project ACHIEVE and the Steering Committee for the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp. She is a Member of the Public Policy Committee for the American Case Management Society and a Member-At-Large for the Kentucky/Tennessee Chapter of the American Case Management Society. Nancy also served as primary faculty for the University of Southern Indiana Case Management Certificate Course for over 13 years.
Fun Fact: Nancy lives on the banks of the Tennessee River and enjoys water sports and watching the wildlife in the area.
Richard is the Residential Care Program Developer at CareerSmart, responsible for overseeing the development of new RCFE classes, as well as an instructor for the program. He began as a senior psychiatric technician and is now a retired licensing program manager with 18 years of experience working for the California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) and 17 years of experience working with the Department of Developmental Services, he is qualified and dedicated to teach the skills necessary to become a successful and compliant RCFE Administrator.
Fun Fact: Richard’s favorite place to visit is Paris.
Dr. Sadie Phillips is a clinical health psychologist with specialities in behavioral and rehabilitation medicine. She brings to CareerSmart Learning her passion and expertise for the growing field of health psychology, which includes the evaluation and treatment of psychological disorders that stem from physical illness and injury.Â She currently sees patients in both the hospital setting and private practice and consults extensively with hospitals and multi-disciplinary staff to improve institutional mental health screening and early intervention.
Fun Fact: In her spare time, Dr. Phillips DJs and collects vinyl records.
Scotti began her nursing career as a critical care nurse in the progressive care and surgical intensive care units at the University of California, San Diego. After earning a Master’s Degree in Clinical Research, she became a clinical nurse educator specializing in orientation and competency, responsible for the successful proposal and implementation of UCSD’s first New Graduate RN Residency Program. Following this, Scotti was nurse manager of a 27 bed medical-surgical unit for several years. She is currently a nursing supervisor on a busy orthopedic unit at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, CA. Scotti loves to spend time with her two sons, Henry and George, and husband, Neal. They love living in California and spending time outdoors.
Fun Fact: Scotti is an artist at heart; she loves to refinish furniture, do DIY projects, and spend time on Pinterest!
Tanya Brown has a Masters in Counseling Psychology. She is a nationally recognized author, public speaker, and life coach. After experiencing the loss of her sister, Nicole Brown Simpson, she faced overwhelming life challenges, including her own mental health struggles. She now speaks and coaches others using the life lessons she has learned to overcome adversity and promote healthy mental health and overall wellbeing. Tanya is the author of “Finding Peace Amid the Chaos: My Escape from Depression and Suicide” and “The Seven Characters of Abuse: Where it Starts and Where it Can End” and regularly speaks on her “T.A.N.Y.A. Formula” for self-care and life balance.
Fun Fact: Tanya loves to hang out with her mom and her mom’s French Bulldog, Winston, who bites her feet when she leaves.
Tracy Greene-Mintz, MA, LCSW
Tracy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), trainer, and long term care consultant. She is a nationally recognized expert on the topic of relocation stress syndrome in the elderly and has given presentations on this topic to case managers, long term care administrators, nurses, social workers, therapists, and other disciplines that serve seniors. She has a common sense approach to educating and believes that knowledge is power and that elderly clients deserve all the power we can shift to them in this complicated healthcare delivery system.
Fun Fact: Prior to her life in social work, Tracy spent 12 years working in film and television.