Scott Habecker, President/Chief Executive Officer
Scott D. Habecker, CPA, CGMA, became Diakon’s President/CEO the beginning of 2021. Having joined Diakon in mid-2009 as Vice President of Planning and Business Development, he was later promoted to Chief Financial Officer and then also Chief Operating Officer. During that period, he oversaw all organizational operations and financial services, with a focus on strategic initiatives to ensure Diakon’s long-term mission. In his previous role, he was responsible for evaluation of and planning for mergers and acquisitions, as well as internal expansion and repositioning opportunities. He has worked extensively to evaluate appropriate capital structures for Diakon and overseen bond issues and refinancings to achieve maximum results for Diakon.
Before joining Diakon, Mr. Habecker spent nine years as Chief Financial Officer for Continuing Care Rx, a multi-state, long-term care pharmacy business, where he assisted the organization complete five acquisitions and three de novo startup pharmacies in the eastern half of the United States. Mr. Habecker also served as Controller for Presbyterian Senior Living (formerly Presbyterian Homes & Services) and began his career in the Harrisburg office of Ernst & Young, an international accounting and auditing firm.
A graduate of Elizabethtown College with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Mr. Habecker received a 2006 Central Penn Business Journal Forty Under 40 award; the annual award recognizes 40 regional business leaders for their commitment to business growth, professional excellence, and their communities.
Shari VanderGast, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer & Administrative Officer
Shari VanderGast, Esq., LCSW, FACHE, is Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer for Diakon. As such, she oversees operations within both Diakon Senior Living Services and Diakon Child, Family & Community Ministries. She also supervises Human Resource Services and Corporate Communications & Public Relations, along with marketing and sales functions. She was named to her current role the beginning of 2021. She previously had been Senior Vice President for Administration.
Before joining Diakon in 2015, Ms. VanderGast served as Chief Executive Officer of Central Mental Health, a community mental health center in the Philadelphia area. . Before joining that organization, she served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Access Services, a behavioral health-care organization that includes outdoor programming and adoption and foster care services, and was responsible for program and quality management, human resources, facility planning, financial operations and information technology. She also led a staff initiative that resulted in a “best-place-to-work” designation by the regional business journal.
Earlier in her career, she oversaw an employee assistance program, worked in home-based services for two organizations including the Philadelphia Geriatric Center, served as Administrative Director of Behavioral Health for a hospital and as Patient Safety Officer and Administrative Director for a health system.
Ms. VanderGast has a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources from Cornell University and a Master’s in Social Work degree from Columbia University, as well as a Juris Doctorate with concentration in health care law from Temple University. She is a licensed clinical social worker and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She also is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management, a designation provided by the American Hospital Association. The author of several articles on behavioral health and a contributing author for a textbook, she is involved in a number of community organizations.
Ms. VanderGast works in Diakon’s Ministry Support office in Topton and can be reached at (610) 682-1293.
Cynthia Bonney, Vice President for Sales & Marketing for Diakon Senior Living Services
Cynthia Bonney is Vice President for Sales & Marketing for Diakon Senior Living Services. As such, she manages overall growth and health-care alignment within Diakon’s Continuing Care Retirement Communities, with a focus on expansion of services, particularly in independent living and personal care/assisted living services.
Ms. Bonney, who joined Diakon in 2015, has more than 20 years’ experience in senior living services, having worked in both the nonprofit and for-profit worlds. Previously, she served as executive director of Luther Crest, Allentown, Pennsylvania, and prior to that served as executive director at The Lutheran Home at Topton in Berks County, Pennsylvania. In 2019, she completed LeadingAge PA’s Fellows in Leadership program.
A licensed nursing home administrator and personal care administrator, she worked for Phoebe Ministries for 15 years, including as executive director of Pathstones by Phoebe. Before that, she served as executive director of a senior living campus offering skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation services, memory-support care, home care, personal care, and independent living. The nursing care center earned a five-star rating during her tenure as executive director/nursing home administrator.
Before moving into administrator roles, she served as a director of marketing and admissions for two organizations. Ms. Bonney holds a master’s degree in business administration from Holy Family University.
Jenn Rautzhan, Senior Vice President for Human Resources Services
Jennifer Rautzhan is Senior Vice President for Human Resources Services with Diakon. As such, she oversees all strategic human resource planning including recruitment, retention, compensation, benefits, employee relations, employee development, safety, employee policy development and interpretation, and compliance with regulatory requirements.
Ms. Rautzhan began her career with the organization in 1993 with The Lutheran Home at Topton, now part of Diakon. She moved into Human Resource Services in 1996, holding several positions, most recently Executive Director of Employee Relations. She has a bachelor’s degree in Health Policy and Administration from Pennsylvania State University, with a minor in labor relations.
Mrs. Rautzhan is a member of the Society of Human Resource Professionals, as well as the Berks County chapter of the Society for Human Resource Professionals. She achieved the designation of Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) in 2006, as well as the Society for Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional status (SHRM-SCP) in 2015.
Ms. Rautzhan serves on the HR Advisory Committee of the Hillside School, a non-profit, private school in the Lehigh Valley dedicated to educating children who have been diagnosed with dyslexia or other language-based learning disabilities.
Ms. Rautzhan works in Diakon’s ministry support office located in Old Main on The Lutheran Home at Topton campus, Topton, Pennsylvania, and can be reached by telephone at (610) 682-1342.