For us, you are everything. How you feel, how you spend your day, what makes you laugh, what you need, what you love to eat—we embrace all of it, because we are a community. We support one another and make the most of every single day, together.
Growing up in a small village in Finland, Anita was drawn to nursing and held her first caregiver position at age 17 at the local nursing home in Kurikka. She came to the US a few years later working as a nanny for the Finnish Ambassador at the embassy and at their home in Washington, D.C. Once married and raising four sons, she continued her nursing career by working as a caregiver in Frederick while attending FCC to earn her nursing degree. She started in 2000 as the day-time nurse for HeartFields and was promoted to the Director of Nursing in 2004. Anita was promoted again to her current role as Executive Director of HeartFields in 2008. She has truly enjoyed her 20 years at HeartFields serving the senior community and caring for the residents in her community. Anita and her husband enjoy being caretakers of their historic home in Frederick County and they enjoy having their four sons living close by.
Jennifer has worked with seniors for most of her career! She began her career as a therapeutic recreation specialist after graduating from Shepherd College. Working as therapeutic recreation specialist with Daybreak Adult Day center and Sunrise Senior Living is where her love for seniors began. She then transitioned into the roll as Director of Community Relations. This position led her to work in similar positions with Caring Transitions, Interfaith Housing Alliance and then Housing Director at Habitat for Humanity for almost seven years.
Melissa has been with HeartFields for 21 years, she started out as caregiver then trained and was certified as a medicine technician. She also worked in Bridge to Rediscovery as the programmer for 6 years, before moving to assisted living as the Lifestyle360 Program Director. Melissa gets so much fulfilment from the purpose she gives to the resident’s day and life. Melissa married her middle school sweetheart and between the two of them they have a family of seven kids, one granddaughter and another grandchild on the way! In her spare time she enjoys bowling and spending time with her two dogs, Buster and Shania.
Lori has worked in the dining services industry since 1986. When Lori is not at HeartFields she enjoys traveling and spending time with friends. Her favorite part of her job is nourishing our residents. Lori’s specialty is savory soups and delicious stews.
Victoria Zerla is very excited about her new chapter in her nursing career at Heartfields of Frederick. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Shepherd University in 2005 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She has been an acute care nurse at a local hospital for 15 years and served on their Ethics Committee for more than 10 years. She is a certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse and has received the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Faculty two times. Victoria loves talking to people and hearing the stories of their lives. She is a passionate advocate for Patient Rights. She is very happy to have the opportunity to promote health and wellness in our community. She loves cooking, reading , occasional fly fishing and watching the birds. She loves Sunday dinner with her family.
Mandy graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004, and is dual licensed in both Maryland and Pennsylvania as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Additionally, Mandy holds multiple certifications in various modalities. She is the Rehabilitation Team Leader for Ageility Physical Therapy Solutions, the on-site therapy provider for Five Star Senior Living here at HeartFields Assisted Living of Frederick. With extensive experience working in facilities across the spectrum of senior living services, from independent living to skilled nursing, she particularly enjoys working with the geriatric population and has done so her entire career.
Jo Ann has worked in long-term care, short-term rehab, and assisted living environments for almost 20 years. In her present role, she is able to utilize her business/accounting skills while combining them with her compassion for the elder population. She attended Linganore High School and Frederick Community College. Jo Ann enjoys drag racing and thoroughbred horse racing. She resides in Frederick County with her husband, their son, and their Shiloh Shepherd (German Shepherd/Wolf).
Jesse has worked both here at HeartFields and at our sister community Somerford over the past 2 years. He has 20 years’ experience in roofing, HVAC and plumbing. He also has several years in the banking business. He gets the biggest satisfaction out of the smiles on a residents face for even the smallest of fixes! Jesse is an outdoorsman – a lover of fishing, camping and hunting. He has been married for 24 years and has two daughters.