Stephanie Grade

Stephanie Grade

Stephanie Grade is a born and raised Nebraskan. Growing up in Crete, just about an hour outside Omaha, Stephanie looked at life through a different lens. Her passion for exceptional service drew her to the hotel and services industry, allowing her to travel the U.S., open hotels, and serve on the Board of Directors for the Omaha Restaurant Association and Metropolitan Hospitality Association. After 20 years of hospitality experience and award-winning program development, Stephanie has brought her expertise to Ovation Heartwood Preserve.

“Ovation is such a reinvigorating and wonderful new development,” Stephanie said when asked why she chose to join and lead the Ovation team. “I look forward to sharing my background in hospitality with my fellow team members.”

Ovation Heartwood Preserve offers exceptional, residential living and experiences, as well as innovative technology options that allow guests to communicate with family and the world around them.

Stephanie has a degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management from Iowa State University. She’s also a proud mother, wife, and owner of an English Bulldog named Lola – who gets all of the family’s attention. When she’s not earning an ovation for her hard work, she enjoys attending concerts, theatre performances, traveling, supporting the Joslyn Art Museum, and exploring Fontenelle Forest just outside Bellevue.

Donna Riedl

The Friendly Entertainer

For Donna Riedl, family is one of the most important aspects of her life. She met her husband Tom when she was seventeen years old and together they have raised three children over their 35 years of marriage.

“Like I said, family is very important to me,” she said with a smile. “Even in my spare time, family is at the center of my world. We have two daughters in Omaha and a son in the Navy. Our family is growing with two grandsons and a granddaughter on the way,” she added with some excitement.

In her personal life, service and hard work has always been paramount. Donna has made career choices based on the principal of good works. After many years volunteering for her church in varying capacities, she perused a career in youth ministry.

“It didn’t take long for me to realize that it’s hard to keep up with a big group of teens.” Donna said, describing how she took a step in a new direction. “I took a deep look inside and discovered my passion for helping individuals who are making totally different life decisions and moved my focus to adults who are exploring retirement and elder care.”

Donna has over eleven years of experience in retirement living and was working in a regional role before discovering the opportunity at Ovation.

“I was immediately excited about Ovation because of the concept and what we offer. I had never seen a rooftop bar or four restaurants at an independent or assisted living community in Omaha before. We will have Starbucks here, too. Treating residents with respect by offering amenities and programing that is meaningful is so critical. I fall more in love with Ovation the longer I work here. We really do believe in hospitality, listening to, and taking care of our residents.”

While this mom and grandmother might seem quiet and contemplative to those at work and the residents who interact with her, at home she is a powerhouse of family and friendship with a side-interest in crafting that boggles the mind.

“We really enjoy our home on Lake Candlewood,” Donna commented. “It’s so conveniently located in the middle of Omaha. In the summer, we have friends, family, and the kids over to play on the water and enjoy time at our home playing foosball, ping pong, and pool. We’ve even built a full-size bar and stocked it with everyone’s favorite libations.”

To decorate the place, Donna began working on a huge “Wine” sign that she is currently covering in wine corks.

“It’s a work in progress. But then again, so are friends and family. When you give them your all, amazing things happen.”

Roxann Rogers Meyer

The Continuing Adventures of Roxann Rogers Meyer

Before joining the Ovation Heartwood Preserve team as the Community Relations Coordinator, Roxann Rogers Meyer enjoyed some incredible career adventures. One of the most notable was meeting Olivia Newton-John, just one of the many celebrities she’s met and stories she’s lived over the decades.

“We had a sponsorship with the Omaha Symphony,” Roxann said when explaining how she met Olivia and a long list of other big-name entertainers during her time working for the healthcare provider. “When someone great would perform there, I’d get my picture with them. I have quite the collection.”

While her brush with fame includes celebrities, musicians, and politicians such as the late President George Bush 41, Roxann is a well-known, local celebrity in her own right – especially if you attended or listened to any football games at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the mid-1970s.

“I was the first female radio broadcaster in Lincoln,” Roxann added when describing her time on the air. “I read the news and did the color commentary on the sidelines of the Cornhusker home games. I had the press pass, microphone, huge headphones, a very cute red pantsuit, and plenty of jealous friends.”

Roxann would don the appropriate radio gear and interview many of the players’ parents and homecoming queens.

“One time, I was on the sidelines doing a live interview and got run over by the tuba player in the marching band. I’m only 5-foot 2. He simply didn’t see me.”

While she was knocked out for only an instant, her parents listening to the broadcast back home were rightfully worried for several hours.

“The announcer in the booth said, “And…she’s down!” What a great memory. What I can remember of it,” she said with a laugh.

Unfortunately, not all of Roxann’s radio days were easy.

“I was given the job of announcing that Elvis Presley had died,” she quietly added. “I was at the racetrack doing the afternoon sports. The station got a hold of me and said I had to announce it. You don’t forget something like that.”

Over time, Roxann met her husband who had visions of being an optometrist in California. The couple moved out west, started a family, then moved back home to Omaha where Roxann continued to influence the local scene and play a pivotal role in the region’s marketing and advertising community.

“It’s been a great career,” she said when asked about the past decades. “Communication skills will serve you well, no matter what career you have.”

We’re thrilled to have Roxann on the Ovation Heartwood Preserve team and look forward to many more stories about her past and creative insights that will help guide the future.

Nicolette Merino

Nicolette has been with the Avamere Family of Companies for 10 years as a Regional Director of Operations and Vice President of Operations for the Community-Based Care line. She was then appointed as the first Division President of Ovation.

As part of the Avamere Family of Companies, Ovation is Avamere’s culmination of 25 years of experience in the long-term care profession. This innovative brand includes assisted living, independent living, and memory care communities.

Ovation is incorporating the best of Avamere while being innovative and dynamic. Nicolette’s focus is on knowing what our consumers want and meeting those expectations. This aligns with the company’s mission: “To enhance the lives of everyone we serve”. Every resident, every family member, every employee, and our surrounding community.

As Division President, Nicolette brings 26 years of knowledge and experience in the long-term care profession. She earned her Master of Public Health degree in 2004 from Rutgers/UMDNJ.

Her opportunities from her humble beginnings as a Business Office Manager to serving as Chair for the National Center for Assisted Living gave her a wealth of knowledge, experience, and connections. Through her unique experiences, she has built professional relationships and gained insight into what has and hasn’t worked for others in the field.

She has also had the opportunity to mentor and train others throughout the years. Nicolette measures her success in building tomorrow’s leaders, and she enjoys seeing them grow professionally.

Nicolette enjoys spending time with her husband and four children who hold a special place in her heart.