Our Management Team


Proven leadership inspires trust. Sonata Senior Living is led by an experienced team who have been instrumental in the development, operations and marketing of more than 50 senior living communities, including independent, assisted living and memory care communities. We have the strength and expertise to truly make an impact in the lives we touch every day.

Stuart Beebe, Co-Founder and Managing Partner

Stuart founded Sonata Senior Living in 2008 and has grown it to become among the largest and most respected regional operators in the state of Florida. As president and CEO of Sonata, he was responsible for developing corporate strategy as well as execution of all strategic growth initiatives for nearly 15 years. In prior roles, he spearheaded transactions that resulted in the sale of CNL Retirement Properties, Inc. to Health Care Property Investors for more than $5 billion, the largest REIT transaction on record in 2006. As president and CEO at CNL, Stuart was instrumental in investment advising on more than $3 billion in acquisitions, including 180 senior housing assets. Most recently, his visionary leadership at the helm of Sonata has led to a chronicle of successful new developments and turnaround projects. Today, as managing partner, his oversight and guidance on all strategic initiatives assures value creation for Sonata’s partners and stakeholders.


Shelley Esden, Co-Founder, President and CEO

Shelley brings more than 20 years of frontline experience to the complex issues facing owner-operators in senior living. Her tactile approach to all aspects of senior housing has been instrumental to Sonata’s success, where she is responsible for crafting the company culture, inspiring an expanding workforce, and innovating services to meet the demands of a changed world. Her passion to serve began with work improving access to housing with the State of Florida’s Commission on Long Term Care. Before forming Sonata in 2008, she focused on improving resident experience and product innovation for some of the industry’s top national providers. Today, Shelley is devoted to shaping the people and processes that drive the future of senior living, from training to technology and community design. Her talent for advancing programs, products, and services that promote healthy aging led to the prestigious Argentum ‘Best of the Best’ award for Serenades Memory Care. A graduate of Florida State University with an MHA, Shelley serves as Chair of the Florida Senior Living Association.


Jamie Merrill, Chief Operating Officer

Jamie is a transformative executive driven to win market share through operational excellence and sustainable revenue growth. Along with 16 years senior living management experience and expertise in multi-state operations and regulatory environments, Jamie excels at turning customer, associate, and market opportunities into measurable business results for Sonata’s partners. At Sonata, she nurtures high-performing teams and develops talent through mentorship, leadership and business plans that facilitate positive change and add value to the resident experience. Prior to joining Sonata, Jamie directed operations for 72 senior living communities across Florida as Brookdale Senior Living’s VP of Operations. Jamie serves on the Board of the Florida Senior Living Association and The University of Central Florida, and was awarded the 2022 McKnight’s Woman of Distinction.


Stuart Mottern, CFO and Chief Investment Officer

Stuart is a tenured real estate financial professional with direct experience financing, structuring, negotiating, and closing development and acquisition transactions with exceptional returns for Sonata and its partners. With extensive experience in health care real estate projects, Stuart oversees Sonata’s investment and financing initiatives, divestitures, and recapitalizations, brining innovative capital solutions and maximizing opportunities in growth markets. Over the course of his career, he has secured financing on more than $3 billion in senior living and medical office assets. Previously, at CNL Retirement Properties, Stuart managed more than $1 billion in senior living properties. Stuart’s corporate finance background benefits all partners in navigating the logistics and complexities of acquisitions in today’s economic climate.


Stephen Caruso, Chief Development Officer

Leveraging more than 15 years in commercial real estate management, leasing and brokerage, Stephen oversees Sonata Senior Living’s development and acquisition properties, as well as taking a leading role in executing Sonata’s due diligence. With an extensive background in acquisition strategies in the southeast and mid-Atlantic regions, Stephen has in recent years focused on identifying acquisition properties and development sites in Florida for Sonata Senior Living. Stephen graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance.


Christina Dolan, Senior VP Marketing and Sales

A brand strategist at heart, Christina is committed to leveraging the power of emerging technologies to promote sales and occupancy growth across Sonata’s portfolio. She brings more than 20 years direct experience in sales and marketing and is responsible for building brands such as The Walt Disney Company, Universal Parks & Resorts, Advent Health, and Holiday Retirement. Along with a keen eye on performance metrics and analytics, Christina is an expert at discovering marketing opportunities that lead to sales and revenue growth. Among her many accolades, Christina earned her MBA from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College and sits on the Board of Directors for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation.


Lorrie Kovac, BSN, RN, VP of Clinical Services

With more than 17 years of nursing experience in oncology, ER, ICU, and Long-Term Care, Lorrie’s innovative approach to resident care translates to positive outcomes in each of Sonata’s assisted living and memory care communities. As Sonata’s Regional Director of Clinical Services, she oversees clinical operations and risk management while serving a critical role in developing training, policies, and protocols that emphasize compliance for the safety, health and well-being of residents. At Sonata, she is highly respected as a committed road warrior, mentor, policy creator, risk manager, clinician, and AHCA champion, consistently seeking new technologies that impact resident care and engagement, and innovative policy changes related to workforce enhancement. As a 2018 recipient of The Florida Senior Living Association’s Employee of the Year Award, she is a registered nurse and certified trainer in Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care®.


Partners & Awards