Janet is a nationally recognized expert and innovator in the field of stakeholder alliance development and programming. Her background encompasses work on Capitol Hill, campaign and issue management, strategic communications, and long-term experience working side by side with healthcare and patient advocates across the U.S.
Janet was with Pfizer from 2001 to 2020 – serving her entire tenure in the National Alliance Development arena – working to establish a new manner of long-term trusting partnerships for the pharmaceutical industry with nonprofit patient advocacy organizations. As the Senior Director, Janet developed many of the best in class programs, including the Pfizer Health Advocate Leaders Breakfast Series, providing expert education and Speakers for the non-profit healthcare advocacy community. Speakers included Members of Congress, Senior Administration Officials, Media, and senior Representatives from Academia and Pfizer. With Janet’s leadership, Pfizer built out small and large educational and capacity building programs to enable the organizations to build a louder, impactful, credible voice on behalf of the chronically ill patients they serve.
She was responsible for building and managing relationships representing patients, consumers, seniors, women, nurses, veterans, and many others to support Pfizer Government Relations, Reputational, and Business goals. While with Pfizer Janet built an advocacy army of nearly 800 individuals, representing 300 organizations. She developed the ability to implement, glass breaking emergency response teams, whether the emergency is in the Congress, state Capitals, the FDA, or CDC.
Janet also served in a leadership capacity bringing together Pfizer colleagues to develop the industry’s first pipeline to patient centricity policies, principles, and programs within Pfizer. She also founded the Pfizer Small Business Advisory Council to build a greater understanding and appreciation between the pharmaceutical industry and the small business community.
Janet began her career on Capitol Hill, working as a Legislative Director/Press Secretary and then as a lobbyist, before moving to the consulting field. She worked for Bonner and Associates as Vice President of Operations, developing and supervising the implementation of successful grassroots lobbying strategies for numerous Fortune 100 corporations and other organizations, at the Federal, State, and Local levels.
Janet was recruited by her client the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) to serve as their Vice President of Association Relations. During her five (5) year tenure, she was tasked with building and managing a successful advocacy program for the pharmaceutical industry, based on proactively establishing relationships among allies.
In 1998, Janet joined a start-up biotechnology company as their President/Chief Operating Officer, Merlin Biomedical & Pharmaceutical, Ltd. She was responsible for planning and executing the development of marketing structure for this start-up as well as identifying and recruiting distributors, designing marketing materials and determining international pricing structures. She also assisted the Board of Directors in developing and executing the corporate structure, including aspects from international regulatory approval to employee benefits.
Janet is a graduate of Colgate University (BA, 1978) and George Washington University (MBA, 1988). Janet has served on the Board of Directors of numerous non-profit organizations and currently serves as Chairman of the Board for the National Alliance for Caregiving and on the Board of Directors for Generations United.
Former Senior Director, National Alliance Development, Pfizer (Retired)
With more than 25 years of experience in healthcare marketing and innovation, Jim’s ability to integrate and innovate across business lines and teams have earned him high industry recognition and led him to oversee large-scale projects and budgets.
In his role at Ageless, Jim serves as the Senior VP of Healthcare and spearheads the company’s growing business with a variety of healthcare organizations and related grant programs. He is also responsible for expanding Ageless Innovation’s footprint as an approved nontraditional intervention for older adults who are lonely, socially isolated, or living with cognitive impairment, such as all forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Prior to joining Ageless, Jim spent the past eight years at UnitedHealthcare. Most recently, he served as its Vice President Innovation where he was responsible for the planning and execution of innovation initiatives with the organization’s largest partner, AARP. Under his supervision, the companies collaborated on a portfolio of projects that tackled domains such as caregiving, diabetes prevention, fall prevention, social isolation/loneliness, Alzheimer’s/dementia support, advance care planning, and Medicare education and decision support. Efforts culminated in published research, pilot studies, and thought leadership initiatives. Jim also co-founded a research consortium comprised of representatives across the healthcare industry.
In a previous role, Jim served as UnitedHealthcare’s Vice President Marketing, where he integrated the sales and marketing functions of legacy health plans and led the growth of the organization’s membership by over 180,000 in a two-year period. Jim has additionally served as Vice President Marketing at XLHealth and Vice President at Planit.
Jim holds a Master’s degree in Marketing from the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Delaware. Jim also serves on the board of the National Alliance for Caregiving.
Outside of the office, Jim enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and daughter—in addition to their three French bulldogs. Jim has many passions and hobbies, including mountain biking, scuba diving, and attending live concerts of many genres.
James C. Appleby is the Chief Executive Officer of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the aging field. The Society works to advance innovation in the aging and disseminate information among scientists, clinicians, policymakers and the public. He is leading the Society’s current initiative to “reframe aging” in America by fostering accurate narratives of aging to replace the outdated “conventional wisdom” that dominates public understanding. The 5,400-member Society is advancing major initiatives related to improving adult immunization rates, earlier detection of cognitive impairment, improving oral health, and demonstrating the impact of the longevity economy. Prior to joining GSA, Mr. Appleby had a 17-year career with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) where he served in a variety of roles before being appointed Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining APhA, Mr. Appleby was on faculty at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (PCPS). Mr. Appleby holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from PCPS and a Master of Public Health degree from Temple University. He has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
Chief Executive Officer
The Gerontological Society of America
Sandy Markwood is a national advocate for aging issues and a champion for ensuring that people have the best supports to age well at home and in their communities. As the CEO of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) since 2002, she has been committed to ensuring that as a society we value and support people across the lifespan. That commitment has taken many forms including advocacy with multiple Administrations and on Capitol Hill for the passage of legislation aimed at supporting older adults including access to critical information, in-home services, and caregiver support.
A passionate advocate, Sandy, and her organization have launched campaigns focused on combating the social isolation of older adults, preventing elder abuse, promoting nutrition and healthy aging and engagement no matter your age, exploring new transportation and housing options as we age, among others. Her goal and the goal of n4a is to ensure that we all have the ability to age with good health, independence, and the quality of life we all deserve. Aging isn’t just about adding years to our lives…it’s about adding life to those years.
Prior to coming to n4a, Sandy served as the Director of County Services at the National Association of Counties for 20 years supporting county efforts in health and human services. She also served as a Project Lead at the National League of Cities and as an Assistant to the County Executive for human services in Albemarle County, VA.
She holds a BA degree in history and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of Virginia.
Chief Executive Officer
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a)
Cindy Hounsell is the President of WISER, the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement. Ms. Hounsell has testified before Congress, served as a delegate for a number of White House Summits and conferences including the last two White House Conferences on Aging, the White House Social Security Conference and each of the National Retirement Saver Summits. She has written several chapters, columns, articles, op-eds, papers and booklets on women and retirement. Two booklets—What Every WOMAN Needs to Know About MONEY And RETIREMENT: A Simple Guide, and What Everyone Needs to Know About Money and Retirement—appeared as inserts in Good Housekeeping magazine to a readership of over 26 million.
Ms. Hounsell provides technical assistance to several national organizations, as well as provides training to leaders and grassroots advocates around the country as part of her role as director of the National Education and Resource Center for Women and Retirement Planning, funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging.
Ms. Hounsell was recently appointed by Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, to the ERISA Advisory Council to represent the general public. Ms. Hounsell was also appointed and served for two years on the Advisory Panel on Medicare Education (APME) representing the field of retirement and financial planning. She serves on the Boards of the National Alliance for Caregiving and STRIVE-DC, as well as on the Advisory Council of Wider Opportunities for Women’s Elder Economic Security Initiative, and the Financial Services Roundtable’s Retirement Advisory Council. Ms. Hounsell is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. Women’s eNews named her as one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century. Recently, The National Adult Protective Services Association recognized Ms. Hounsell for her leadership and commitment to older women’s issues by presenting her with their 2011 NAPSA Collaboration Award.
Rita Choula is the Director of Caregiving with the AARP Public Policy Institute. She leads and provides content expertise on family caregiving initiatives throughout AARP and externally. Her work bridges policy and research to practice, centered on identifying and supporting the needs of family caregivers, across generations, elevating the unique nature of each caregiving experience. Rita currently drives AARP’s efforts to address systemic disparities and build equity in long-term care for Black, Latino, Asian American Pacific Islander and LGBTQ older adults and their family caregivers.
In collaboration with clinical experts and key stakeholders, Rita leads the development of programs and tools that enable health care professionals to better recognize the diverse needs of family caregivers and provide supports to them across settings. In addition, Rita directs the Home Alone Alliance– a collaborative of AARP, whose aim is to change the way healthcare organizations and professionals interface with family caregivers providing complex care. Through this coalition, she has led the development and production of more than 80 multi-language “How-to” videos and related resources rooted in the lived experience of communities and centered around the family caregiver, that provide them with easily accessible technical guidance necessary to perform complex medical/nursing tasks.
Most recently, Rita spearheaded a $2M grant initiative, funded by multiple leading Foundations in the aging field, focused on elevating the recognition and support of family caregivers providing complex care by health care providers, particularly those in hospitals and health systems, through the identification of promising practices within these settings.
Rita holds a Master’s degree in the Management of Aging Services from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She is a currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Frontotemporal Dementia, Gerontological Society of America (GSA), American Society on Aging (ASA), and the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI).
Rita is a recipient of the CARE 100 List of the Most Influential People in Care of 2020 and the National Hispanic Council on Aging Caregiving AARP Award of 2019.
Moved by her personal experience serving as a family caregiver for her mother and grandmother, while caring for her two small children, Rita is driven to ensure systems are structured to meet the holistic needs of family caregivers, addressing their unique experiences and enabling them to manage their own wellbeing while providing care to others.
Serves as Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate at the Global Headquarters of Home Instead Senior Care®. Lakelyn began her career at the local franchise working one-on-one with seniors and CAREGivers. Today at the Global Headquarters, Lakelyn works to educate professionals in aging, families, and communities on Home Instead’s services and how to navigate the unique challenges older adults face. Lakelyn is a doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska – Omaha where she is studying Social Gerontology. She has a Master of Arts in Social Gerontology and a Master’s in Business Administration from UNO. Lakelyn has professional experience in the private and public sectors of senior care services. She also values giving back to her community. Currently, serving as a board member of the National Alliance for Caregiving, Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Dreamweaver Foundation, and is active in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Lakelyn has a passion for helping others, especially aging adults and their families.
Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate
Home Instead Senior Care
The Program Director where she oversees RAND’s portfolio of research on the well-being of individuals and families across the lifespan. This portfolio includes child development and early childcare, retirement and disability, long-term services and supports, prevention, and public health. She also conducts research to inform policy decisions in two primary areas: dementia epidemiology and family and formal caregiving. She led a blueprint report on U.S. dementia caregiving which was briefed to senior Hill staff and the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services, and provided Congressional testimony for a Medicare and Family Caregiving Senate hearing. She and her colleagues are currently working to characterize the influence of neighborhoods on dementia risk, to estimate the future supply of family caregivers for persons with dementia, to identify social network patterns that bolster the health and well-being of dementia caregivers, and to evaluate rural/urban and racial/ethnic disparities in Medicaid rebalancing effects on the health of, and risk of institutionalization among dual-eligible beneficiaries. In addition to her work on caregiving, she conducts research on military families, traumatic brain injury, cardiovascular disease, sleep, mental health, substance use, and environmental policy for foundations and government agencies in the U.S. and abroad. She received her Ph.D. in psychiatric epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Program Director, Social and Behavioral Policy