executive leadership team
President & CEO | Lutheran Life Communities
Jesse Jantzen has served as President & CEO of Lutheran Life Communities since February 2018.
In over twenty-five years of leadership experience, Jesse Jantzen’s professional career has been centered around the field of senior living. He began his career as a nursing home administrator in Texas. In the years that followed, he held positions of progressive responsibility, which included a turnaround of a struggling campus, as well as several ambitious expansion projects. Jesse invested the majority of his career in leadership positions within large, nationally respected systems of residential options and healthcare services for seniors. In these organizations, Jesse has been at the forefront of sustainably reimaging success in serving the growing expectations of generations to come.
Prior to this role, Jesse served as President & CEO of Ascension Senior Living, a subsidiary of Ascension Healthcare, the nation’s largest non-profit healthcare system. As CEO, he integrated multiple entities into a system designed to effectively address mission at each location while benefiting from system-wide best practices. Jesse worked with his team to assure a consistent reputation for clinical excellence and built customer satisfaction across this multi-state provider. Jesse led the promotion of tangible organizational culture, which focused on community and relationships. Trust was built, within those relationships, with residents and their families, as well as physicians, hospitals, home health agencies, referral sources and neighbors in the communities in which they operate.
Jesse considers his career in service to seniors and their families a vocational calling. His vision for faithfully serving the expectations of tomorrow’s seniors today firmly aligns with the shared mission of Lutheran Life Communities: empowering vibrant, grace-filled living across all generations.
Jesse earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA with a certificate in Health Organization Management from Texas Tech University. Jesse and his wife, Shannon, live in Palatine, Illinois. They have two children, Brennan and Madelyn.
Chief Operations and Nursing Officer
Lori Smith has served as Chief Operations & Nursing Officer of Lutheran Life Communities since February 2019.
In a career focused on senior living, Lori has cultivated the knowledge, experience, talent, and vision to advance operations and healthcare success across Lutheran Life Communities. She has 25 years of nursing and leadership experience. Lori’s fresh outlook on the future of senior living has led a renewed organizational emphasis on operational and service excellence. As part of the corporate executive leadership team, Lori also plays a key role in advancing our strategic initiatives, bolstering quality and building capacity for continued growth.
In her most recent-past leadership position as Chief Nursing Officer for Ascension Living, Lori contributed to the effective integration of multiple senior living organizations to create one of the largest non-profit senior living provider systems. As Chief Operations and Nursing Officer for Lutheran Life Communities, Lori has overseen all aspects of operational and healthcare support across the organization, while leading the preparation for Medicare’s new payment system, PDPM.
At home, Lori is blessed by the support of her husband, son and daughter. Lori is excited to be be a part of the leadership team at Lutheran Life Communities and contributing toward the next chapter of excellence in this organization’s faithful history.
Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President, Strategic Development
Marie Carlson has been promoted to serve as Chief Financial Officer, effective April 29, 2019, along with her continued responsibilities as Senior Vice President of Strategic Development.
Since joining Lutheran Life Communities in 2007, Marie has been the primary point person in strategic development of new facilities and programs for the organization. During her tenure, she has also assumed a myriad of other responsibilities, given her broad and complementary experience, skill set, and network in the field of senior living. Among them, she has assumed oversight of the fundraising efforts of the Lutheran Life Communities Foundation, as well as heading up marketing and communications. She also served as Interim Executive Director at The Arlington in Naples, Florida after Hurricane Irma.
Marie has served clients exclusively in the senior living sector for almost 30 years. Prior to joining Lutheran Life Communities, Marie was involved with new project development and financial advisory services, assisting clients across the country in obtaining approximately $600 million in capital for new construction and expansion projects, primarily through the tax-exempt bond market. Marie began her career in senior living at KPMG. She worked there for over eight years exclusively in its national senior living practice, performing financial feasibility studies, market demand analyses, financial projections, and troubled debt restructurings. She moved on to serve as corporate controller and interim VP-Finance for a multi-facility, long-term care provider for five years. Marie has been a surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities/Continuing Care Accreditation Commission. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy from the University of Illinois-Chicago and is a CPA. Marie is a member of LeadingAge and serves on the Finance Committee of LeadingAge Illinois.
Marie and her husband, Doug Kyllo, reside in Prospect Heights, Illinois.
J. Todd Kemerly
Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing
With more than 30 years of experience, Todd is well-known in the field of senior living. He most recently served as Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing of Carlton Senior Living in Concord, California. Prior to that, Todd was Principal & Consultant of JT Kemerly and Associates, and from 1998-2012, he was Vice President of Sales at Vi (formerly Classic Residence by Hyatt) based in Chicago. His well-rounded senior living leadership experience and professional skills have proven to be an excellent fit for this important role within Lutheran Life Communities, as he is particularly known for creating a strategic vision that integrates successful sales practices from corporate leaders and executive directors to individual sales and marketing team members.
In between senior living sales leadership positions on both coasts, Todd and his family lived in Bolingbrook, Illinois for close to 20 years. With Lutheran Life Communities, Todd has relocated back to Illinois from the San Francisco Bay Area. Todd has four grown daughters living in the Chicago area and shares day-to-day life with his wife, Kathleen and their niece, Truley.
J. Todd Kemerly
Rev. Steve Reid
Senior Vice President, Mission & Ministry
Steve Reid has served in a variety of capacities at Lutheran life Communities over the last 10 years. He began as the Foundation Regional Director for the Lutheran Home in Arlington Heights, Illinois and St. Pauls House in Chicago, Illinois. He was promoted to become the Vice President of Advancement. Under his leadership, the Foundation successfully completed a 35 million dollar comprehensive fundraising campaign. In 2018, the Board of Directors promoted Steve to Senior Vice President of Mission and Ministry. In that capacity, he oversees the chaplaincy program at each of our campuses, as well as all fundraising efforts.
Prior to his tenure at Lutheran Life Communities, Steve served as the part-time chaplain for St. Pauls House before its merger with Lutheran Life Communities and was also the Church Relations/Planned Giving officer for a denominationally-related child welfare agency across the street.
Before entering a career in fundraising, Steve served as pastor to congregations in Whitewater, Wisconsin; Brooklyn Heights, New York; and Park Forest, Illinois. Additionally, he counseled abused and neglected youth at two church-related child welfare agencies in Chicago.
Steve received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, his Masters of Divinity degree from Garrett Evangelical Theological seminary in Evanston, and has completed one year of PhD study in Clinical Psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Rev. Steve Reid is an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ, a Certified Fundraising Executive and has received licensure as a Clinical Professional Counselor. He served as Board member for BEHIV (Better Existence with HIV) and was the Chair of their Development Committee. He was also the Illinois Chair for the Council of Health and Human Services Ministries of the United Church of Christ.
Steve and his partner, Dante, live in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago with their Haveneese puppy, Mildred.