About Our Team

Advena is a family-owned company dedicated to the vision that each person has value and is able to learn and grow throughout life. Whether living in our communities or working in them, we are committed to the notion that the customer is always right, and that even in a heavily regulated environment, we must make “home” a real thing. We do this through the pursuit of person-centered care, the preservation of autonomy, and participative decision-making throughout the organization.

Willie Novotny, President and CEO


I took a part-time position as a Certified Nurse Assistant over 20 years ago while I was in school, and it has turned into the most exciting career I could have imagined. I have met some amazing people, been a part of some fascinating changes in the industry, and had the opportunity to learn from some big wins and some even bigger mistakes.

I consider myself a work in progress and understand that everyone else is too. I look forward to getting out of bed every day to help our staff work on problems and find solutions that will make us successful. Our team offers many years of experience, systems and solutions, but even more important, we bring a positive, supportive attitude and energy. We work hard to ensure each person living in our communities gets to live how they want to, on their own schedule, and is able to maintain those special daily pleasures, rituals and traditions that make them who they are.

Michelle Novotny, Executive Vice President


I grew up in a very small town in northeastern Kansas, where most of our neighbors were older. As a kid, I would go to their houses often, usually just for some stories and to visit, but also to see if they needed anything. That’s what you do in a small town — you take care of each other.

As I grew up, that feeling of wanting to take care of others only grew stronger. I started college in pursuit of a different career, but as I progressed through school, in the back of my mind I always had that desire to make a difference and take care of people. I decided to change my path and pursue a career in nursing. While preparing for nursing school, I became a nurse aide, landed a job as a Certified Nurse Assistant in a local nursing home and fell in love. I fell in love with the elders I cared for and the people I worked with who shared that same passion for others. Now, I’m fortunate enough to be able to share my passion with others, and I have the honor of being able to meet so many more people in our communities, elders and caregivers, all of whom teach me just as much as I teach them.

Matt Ruhnke, Chief Administrative Officer


I worked in restaurant and food service from the time I was 15 for almost 20 years. I went to college for hotel and restaurant management, and I fell in love with the pace and excitement of running a restaurant. I thought I loved the food and the challenge, but what I found is that I truly loved the people and providing hospitality. Customer service is an act, but hospitality is how you make someone feel — not just for your customers, but for your employees as well. I really enjoy getting to know people from all walks of life and understand their story. I value our company in that everyone can be themselves and not only be appreciated for that, but also encouraged to grow in who we are as professionals as well as people.

Doug Frihart, Vice President of Operations


During college, I worked in three medical environments as a support worker or direct caregiver. After completing my degree, I knew I wanted to continue working in healthcare settings but was more interested in management than in clinical positions. My parents – both educators – instilled in me a respect for educational administrators who remained grounded in serving students and teachers, rather than ruled by budgets and meetings. I became committed to bringing that perspective to my career as a leader.

I had the good fortune of responding to a blind ad for a healthcare management training program that introduced me to long-term care. I found I loved working with elders, their families and those who serve them. I was lucky to be mentored by others who believed in person-centered approaches decades before anyone thought about giving that label to serving elders. I love doing that work. Now, among my other responsibilities, I am a mentor to my colleagues – both in our communities and at the home office – and remain connected to the work each of us do to better serve those who make our communities their homes.

Chad Lind, Chief Financial Officer


Ever since I was a child, I was a detail-oriented person, but it was not until college that I developed an interest in accounting. When I first began to pursue a degree in accounting it was mostly about me and how I could personally benefit from the decision. I did not develop a true passion for accounting until I realized the impact I can have on the lives of others. I care about people and understand how my role as an accountant can benefit others, even if it is in an indirect way. I find joy in providing reliable and relevant information because I believe that well informed decisions create an overall flourishing environment for providers and consumers alike.

Beth Block, Regional Director of Marketing


Throughout high school and college, I had a cleaning business. All my customers were elderly people and I enjoyed visiting with them and learning about their lives. When a friend sent me a newspaper article about the qualifications for a nursing home administrator, I knew it was an area I wanted to pursue. I enjoy being around people and learning their life stories. My joy is spending time with residents and staff members and learning ways I can help them.

Glenn Blacklock, Regional Director of Operations


I was raised to value hard work. If something needed to be done, you did it. If you didn’t know how, you figured it out. I also was taught that if someone needed help, you helped them. I made my way into college and then accidentally became a nursing home administrator. An appetite for hard work, a “dig in and figure it out” attitude, and a “help those who need help” mentality were essential to my survival in the long-term care world.

In trying to figure out a better way to provide long-term care, I was blessed to be involved in the early stages of the culture change world. I learned from the best. My passion for creating good lives for those in nursing homes and assisted living environments continued to grow. I am blessed to be able to continue to learn each day from great caregivers and, of course, from so many amazing elders who willingly share their wisdom with me.

David Bise, Regional Director of Operations


A gerontology course during my second year of college set the wheels in motion to what has become a fulfilling 25 years in long-term care. The strong bond I had with my grandparents growing up and into my adult life has helped shape the connections I’ve made with community members. My mission has always been to provide the best possible living experience for those I have served over the years. It is important to me for my community members to feel like they are at home – whether it is sitting and having a cup of coffee with them, or letting them tell me the stories of their past. I want to make a difference in their lives. 

Amy Tener, MSN, RN, RAC-CT, Regional Director of Clinical Quality & Compliance


As a child, I was often cared for by my grandfather and great-grandmother, both of whom I hold dear to my heart, and owe them my love for the elderly population. I remember visiting my great-grandmother in the nursing home every Sunday after church and feeling relieved that the staff was taking such good care of her. I am from Wichita, Kan., but I received my nursing license in Dover, Del. I started my nursing career as an LPN, caring for elders in assisted living and skilled nursing. As soon as I got my RN license, I transferred to the ER/Trauma department, but I always retained my love for the elderly population. Moving back to Kansas in 2010, I left the hospital scene to help start up a beautiful long-term care facility. Since then, I have been honored to care for elders in various capacities, as well as supporting the dedicated and exceptional staff who provide direct care.

Nicole Lickteig, Regional Business Office Manager

I grew up in a small community where everyone knew everyone else and cared about each other’s well-being.  I remember the first time I went into a nursing community to visit my Great Grandma.  She passed away when I was 7 and it affected me greatly.  My whole life I have taken on a “mothering” role for everyone around me.  I love giving back, and helping people figure things out.  I took a job many years ago managing a Business Office in a Senior Community, and even though I tried other career paths, I just couldn’t stay away.  As a Business Office Manager I get to help people navigate the very complex payment processes and make sure they or their loved ones are able to afford to stay with us in our communities.  As a Regional Business Office Manager I get the opportunity to impact a great number of people and share my experience and passion for this business.  I love my career and my heart is full.

Betty Hoyle, AR Collections Manager


I was born and raised on a farm in central Iowa. Like most farm kids, I began working at an early age and had many jobs to do every day. At the time, I never realized how hard I was working — it was just another day for me. When I left the farm for the big city, I took my work ethic and farm values with me. They have served me well in life and have been invaluable. I was not looking for a career working in nursing homes, but I guess it was looking for me, and I am glad it found me. A friend called and persuaded me to apply for an office manager position in one of the nursing facilities she managed. I agreed and was hired. Now, for the past 17 years, I have been doing the most rewarding and challenging job I have ever held.

Jamie Spillman, HR Generalist


I remember visiting my great-grandmother who unfortunately was past the point of being able to care for herself. I will never forget watching my aunt rub my Maw-maw’s favorite lotion into her hands and brushing her hair as she talked about her day. You see, Maw-maw was always very well put together, and my aunt didn’t do these things out of a sense of duty, but because she understood these things were important to her.

A display of kindness such as this has nothing to do with education, wealth or status in life. Instead, it is a mindset that I am excited to help cultivate and establish in our communities.

The fundamentals of our HR team are to assist those who assist others. Our company is built on the care of people, and that care includes the employees. I believe the support system we are building helps drive high-quality care. I offer support by looking for quality caregivers, writing policy and procedures, and helping others to appreciate their value on our team. It may seem like a simple thing, but I find it rewarding to assist them.

Shannon Osborne, Payroll Coordinator


As a late bloomer in life, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, but have always been drawn to numbers. In my youth, I loved to play with a calculator and see how numbers worked together. I spent hours just running calculations to see what they would become for fun. As a young adult, I enrolled in the Job Corps Program in Manhattan, KS. During that time, I became a part of the Student Mentor program, where I would work with new students to show them the ropes and how the system worked, as a student resident. This experience allowed me to become more comfortable with meeting people from all walks of life and helped me develop successful working relationships. After approximately a year, I felt like I had reached my personal goal at Job Corps and it was my time to move on to the next step in life. I began working in several roles in accounting and even dabbled in customer service at a call center.

At Advena, I look forward to coming into work every day to manage the payroll process, from the hours people work to transferring our payroll system into the carefully calculated paycheck employees receive. From my call center days, I can help employees identify payroll issues and discuss the best course of action for resolution. I enjoy the culture here at Advena, where I get to let my guard down, be myself, and work in a comfortable environment, where others have an opportunity to see the real me.

Quincei Clark, Senior Accountant


Marc Anthony said, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,” and over the years I have found that to be true. I have always had a knack for budgeting and numbers, even at a young age. I knew that I wanted to be an accountant during my freshman year in high school. A career counselor told me that accounting is the language of business, and I wanted to perfect that language.

Once I started taking accounting classes in college, I knew for sure this was what I wanted to do with my life. I like knowing that my role makes a difference in the growth and prosperity of a business and in the lives of the people that the business serves. As a military spouse, I have moved a few times, and each time I worry if I will feel at home with a new organization. At Advena, they have embraced me very quickly as part of the family. I am grateful that I get to come in every day and do what I love in this type of environment.

Austin Case, Accountant


In high school, we did not have many options for people interested in a career path in business. During my senior year, our computer/tech teacher told me I could take an accounting class independently, and while taking this course I knew this was for me. Once I got to college and had unlimited options, accounting was still something I wanted to pursue. I was able to take a few introductory courses on the topic, but it wasn’t until I was in the School of Business at Emporia State that I was able to fall in love with accounting. My journey in this field has brought me to Advena, a company that was more interested in my personal values and beliefs than my experience level. The future is very promising here, and I look forward to being a part of the process.

Jason Brumbeloe, Network Administrator and Tech Support


For as long as I can remember, I have been a nerd, and apparently, I’m pretty good at figuring out how things work. (At age 1, I taught myself how to rewind a VCR so that I could re-watch Doc Browns time machine lift off and fly away in Back to the Future 2). Computers were not the only thing I was interested in, but something about how they worked and what you could do with them has been a great curiosity of mine since my uncle first let me play Wolfenstein 3D when I was around 10 years old. Since then, I have always taught myself anything I wanted to know, but it wasn’t until my mid-30s that I considered a formal education and doing IT professionally. This is what I had been missing my entire adult life. My career is both challenging and fulfilling, and I will always be thankful to the leadership of Advena Group for giving me the chance to realize it.

Pamela Gallegos, Office Manager


After raising a family & helping my husband start and operate many different businesses I knew it was time for a change. When we became empty-nesters in 2019 I started looking for my ‘next job’ in which I could meet new people, learn new things & expand my knowledge & skills. I have always been drawn to the medical fields & when I started my job search I looked exclusively along that field. I was lucky enough to get an interview. When I walked into the interview of the entire office of 9 and saw how they interacted with each other, I knew I had found the right place to learn & grow. I have a great supportive cast of characters here at Advena!

Porter Novotny, Vice President of Mood Enhancement

I had a rough start in life as a rescue dog, and it took me a few tries to find the perfect family. When I was finally adopted by my “forever family,” I felt so loved and safe and was finally able to relax and be myself. My mom started taking me to work with her in nursing homes when I was 6 months old, and I was able to meet so many people and get so much love. It really made me feel good to know that they loved seeing me as much as I loved seeing them. I decided I wanted to spend my life making others happy the way I was happy, so I became a Licensed Professional Therapy Dog through the CARES program in Concordia, Kan. Now I get to go to work with Mom whenever I want and help bring joy and comfort to people in all our communities!