About the Waters
Our mission is powerful, yet simple. We are committed to creating a sense of community where everyone thrives. This is done by offering living and working experiences centered around wellbeing and hospitality. We want our residents and team members to feel inspired to thrive™. Our goal is to help all who live and work in our communities experience a sense of belonging and to understand how purposefully they contribute to one another’s wellbeing.
Our Vision is to elevate Senior Living by distinctively and consistently delivering The Waters Way of pairing hospitality and wellbeing to our residents and team members. You can see this in all we do.
A history in housing and hospitality
The Waters was founded by a pace-setting visionary, Lynn Carlson Schell. She imagined a new model of senior living: building on the successful hospitality approach in hotels and resorts and applying it to senior living. She envisioned a brand that represented consistent quality and care, instilling confidence in those who experienced it. As she explored the models of care available, Carlson Schell defined an approach which integrates hospitality and care to deliver a senior living experience that rises above the status quo. That brand became The Waters.
The Waters’ first community opened in 2013. Now, The Waters is a thriving owner, operator and developer of pet-friendly senior living communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. More than 12 communities, with 1,600+ apartment homes, are in operation, construction or under development.
Why the Dahlia?
Throughout The Waters you’ll see our iconic orange Dahlia, bursting with life, genuine emotion and color. To us it symbolizes living life to its fullest—how residents and team members can flourish as they thrive™ at The Waters.
This complements the six dimensions of our Wellbeing Wheel. The petals represent the interconnectedness and interdependence with our friends, families and communities, as well as the environment in which we live. The dahlia has a distinctive beauty that is differentiating, elegant and sophisticated.
The blossoming flower itself is an emblem of the beauty and personal growth that is possible with the right nurturing and attention.
Meet our team
Our mission is powerful, yet simple. We are committed to creating communities that thrive by offering living and working experiences centered on wellbeing and hospitality. The Waters empowers residents and team members to enjoy life in better health through our innovative suite of personal services and amenities.
The leadership team at The Waters takes seriously its role in stewarding its vision to elevate senior living by distinctively and consistently delivering “The Waters Way” of pairing hospitality and wellbeing to its residents and team members, while honoring the legacy of its Founder, Lynn Carlson Schell.
Tami A. KozikowskiPresident & Chief Executive OfficerRead Bio
Jeff BataChief Financial OfficerRead Bio
John HunsickerSenior Vice President of Capital Markets & DevelopmentRead Bio
Heidi ElliottVice President of OperationsRead Bio
Lisa Bien-SinzVice President of MarketingRead Bio
Jenny EdwardsVice President of Human ResourcesRead Bio
Patty KruegerSenior Director of Health & Wellbeing, Compliance & IntegrityRead Bio
Kari StolzNational Director Food, Beverage & ProcurementRead Bio
Carol ArmendarizSenior Regional Director of Operations, CorporateRead Bio
Elizabeth (Betsy) StaussNational Sales DirectorRead Bio
Lynn Carlson SchellFounder (IN MEMORIAM)Read Bio
Tami A. Kozikowski
President & Chief Executive Officer
Tami is a versatile operations executive who has driven enterprise-wide business transformation in service, real estate and retail businesses ranging in size from $60M to over $40B. Throughout her 35+ year career, she has been called on to solve complex problems across multiple disciplines and geographies. Foundational to her success has been a values-based leadership style and a team focused/customer centric mindset. Prior to joining The Waters in the spring of 2018, Tami held broad executive leadership roles at Life Time, Advanced Auto Parts and Best Buy. She started her career in public accounting and was a CPA (Inactive). She holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from The Anderson School at UCLA and a BS degree from The Carlson School at University of Minnesota. Tami serves on two non profit boards: YWCA of Minneapolis and the Life Time Foundation.
Chief Financial Officer
Jeff brings to The Waters a diverse experience in both private and publically owned companies in his role of Chief Financial Officer. Throughout his career he has been known for delivering results through collaborative leadership and business discipline. He excels in strategic partnering to grow businesses, financial leadership, developing teams and organizational transformation. Prior to joining The Waters, Jeff has held senior executive roles in companies such as Carlson Hotels, Carlson Marketing and Deluxe Corporation. He began his career at Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) in the assurance practice. Jeff graduated from the University of Iowa with a BBA Accounting degree and is a CPA (inactive).
Senior Vice President of Capital Markets & Development
John brings over 25 years of management, business development and financing experience to contribute to the growth of The Waters. John manages identifying and developing new markets for The Waters to partnering with capital providers to finance real estate projects.
John has built and grown new businesses throughout his career with large multinational firms such as Cargill, Fingerhut, Coca-Cola, IDEXX Laboratories and American Express. He served as Business Development and Strategy Director of the Health & Food Technology group at Cargill, and as Chief Operating Officer of Longenu, a start-up health services business for aging Baby Boomers. Immediately prior to joining The Waters, John worked in development and consulting with CresaPartners and Lindenwood Group where he advised clients on real estate strategy.
John is a recognized expert in the disciplines of commercial and investment real estate as a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) and is a licensed Minnesota real estate broker. He is a past Board chair of Wilderness Inquiry and long-time Board member of the Stevens Square Foundation. John holds a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and graduated from Harvard College.
Vice President of Operations
Heidi Elliott has been in the long term care and senior living industry for 27 years. She started out as a Speech Language Pathologist providing direct care to patients in skilled nursing facilities. She began her career in health care leadership as a facility rehabilitation director, and continued on her leadership path with a national therapy provider of occupational, physical and speech therapy in skilled nursing communities and outpatient clinics. While at Aegis, Heidi provided leadership to over 250 therapy departments in 5 states as Vice President of Operations. Heidi’s career path migrated to senior living and Medicare certified home health agencies in 2013 when she became the Vice President of Operations for Welcov Healthcare, with operations in 7 states. In 2019, Elliott joined The Waters to oversee the day to day operations of 12 senior living communities in 3 states.
Vice President of Marketing
For 30+ years Lisa has brought an entrepreneurial, pioneering spirit to a range of marketing and human capital development leadership roles. As a leader, Lisa is known as a caring, passionate developer of people capable of inspiring others to a higher level of self-awareness to positively impact improved performance to achieve organizational results. She is skilled at leading organizational change and stewarding culture transformation.
An experienced strategic leader with business-to-business and direct consumer marketing experience, she has a curiosity about human behavior and effectively applies insights into developing creative "breakthrough" strategies. Lisa’s marketing expertise encompasses brand management, marketing planning, corporate communications, digital and direct marketing. Her experience spans ground-level start-ups to Fortune 100’s to 100% employee-owned organizations. Lisa has been exposed to a range of business models in the industries of retail, financial services, building products, home improvement, and senior living.
Vice President of Human Resources
Jenny is an experienced human resource leader with 17 years of HR industry experience, 13 of those years directly in senior living and long term care. She has managed multi-state HR Operations, including acquisitions, and since starting with The Waters in 2019, her role has expanded.
Jenny is leading multiple teams in the areas of Employee Relations, Recruiting, and Payroll and Benefits. Jenny brings expertise to the specific areas of Employee Relations, Training and Development, and Compliance and is passionate about helping leaders find ways to grow and develop their teams in ways that foster collaboration and build meaningful relationships. Jenny’s credentials include PHR certification (in 2010), SHRM-CP (in 2015) and Member of the Society of Human Resource Managers Fellow-Care Providers Leading4Life (in 2013).
Senior Director of Health & Wellbeing, Compliance & Integrity
Patricia Krueger has been with The Waters since May of 2013. She joined its first location, The Waters of Plymouth as the Director of Health and Wellbeing and has had several corporate promotions since, with most recently being promoted to Senior Director of Health and Wellbeing, Compliance and Integrity where she serves as the lead clinician for all Waters communities. She is an advocate for residents and team members while balancing operational and financial aspects of the home care agency to ensure the continued high quality of home health care services. She leads regulatory oversite, building a positive and not punitive sense around quality assurance and risk management in our communities to align with the philosophy of care, presence, and the focus on strengths. She also serves as a compliance liaison within each community.
Prior to joining The Waters, Patricia had a long-standing career in the seniors industry in both Human Resources and Health Services Director roles. Patricia has her RN degree from Dakota Wesleyan University, a Director of Housing Certificate and a Director of Home Care Certificate from Aging Services of Minnesota and Care Providers, a Director of HR Certificate from McGladrey & Pullen, and a Certificate from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, Executive Education Program in Nonprofit Business Excellence.
National Director Food, Beverage & Procurement
With more than 25 years of experience in the senior living industry specializing in food and beverage & procurement Kari joined The Waters Leadership Team in September of 2018. Kari received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Minnesota State University, Mankato and completed her Registered Dietitian licensure through the University of Minnesota. Kari was recognized as a national leader in food and beverage among her peers in 2018. Growing up in the hospitality industry, Kari is inspired by serving others and is passionate about her hands-on engagements with the Waters community team member and residents. She learned early on in her career that what inspires her most was mentoring and leading others in achieving their goals. Kari has extended this passion by providing teams with the skills, processes, structure and compassion to thrive in the ever-changing and increasingly demanding compliance arena of senior care.
Senior Regional Director of Operations, Corporate
Carol Armendariz has been in the long-term care and senior living industry since 1998. She began working with the senior population as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) in a skilled nursing facility. Armendariz taught at Minnesota State University, Mankato for seven years teaching therapeutic recreation courses. From 2014-2017, Carol was an Executive Director for Primrose Retirement Community and was honored with the recognition award as “Executive Director of the Year” in 2017. She transitioned to a Regional Director of Operations in 2017 and oversaw communities in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. In March 2022, Carol joined The Waters to oversee the day-to-day operations for The Waters 12 senior living communities in 3 states.
Elizabeth (Betsy) Stauss
National Sales Director
Betsy comes to The Waters with a diverse experience in senior living leadership. Betsy has been an a variety of roles from Life Enrichment, Operations, and Sales and Marketing. She has been known for growing census regionally through leadership, coaching, and relationship building. She prides herself on offering strong support to foster positive team cultures and grow sales systems. Prior to joining The Waters, Betsy began her career at Presbyterian Homes and Services as a Sales and Outreach Director and grew throughout the organization. Following this experience, Betsy served at Ebenezer Society as a Regional Sales Consultant where she provided sales support to a number of senior living communities in the metro. Betsy graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Administration and thoroughly enjoys serving the senior population.
Lynn Carlson Schell
Founder (IN MEMORIAM)
Visionary Founder of The Waters, Ms. Lynn Carlson Schell, a noted pacesetter in the real estate industry, directed the firms strategic vision and growth. In 2010, she pioneered an innovative partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality & Healing, that enriched The Waters Wellbeing model, a philosophical and programmatic framework that's setting a new standard in senior living. During her career, Ms. Carlson Schell developed or acquired more than $1.3 billion in real estate, comprised of more than 16,500 multi-family and senior housing units. Prior to founding The Waters Group, Ms. Carlson Schell served as CEO to the Shelter Corporation, spent nine years in property development and management with Can-American Corporation and managed its regional office in Naples, Florida for 20 years. Ms. Carlson Schell has been honored as an Industry Leader by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business journal. She has served on the Board of Directors of William Lyon Homes, has been a member of the World President's Organization, the National Investment Center, and the American Seniors Housing Association.