Representing a whole-life focus on mind, body, and spirit – Embrace eliminates the physical and psychological barriers normally associated with Life Plan communities, encouraging greater independence and a healthier, more active lifestyle. Embrace makes individual transitions to other areas of care – assisted living, memory support or skilled nursing – seamless, easy, and respectful of one’s dignity, privacy and worth.

Southminster is more devoted than ever to creating a rich, rewarding community where health, wellness, and care are integrated into daily life. Embrace frees residents and their loved ones from unnecessary stress to enjoy fuller and more enriching lives.

Committed to being the region’s leader in providing the very best in contemporary senior living, our team of experienced professionals meet residents and their families at their point of need with personalized solutions, surrounding them with understanding, honor, and compassion.

About Southminster

The genesis of Southminster is a rather incredible story. Two long-standing churches in Charlotte, Christ Episcopal and Myers Park Baptist joined together to successfully launch a premier ecumenical, non-profit, retirement community. After years of research, planning, and the generous contributions of many, in 1987, the “impossible dream” became a reality with the ribbon cutting of what was considered at the time one of the most upscale retirement communities in the nation. The community was an immediate success meeting pent-up demand. Now as an independent 501c(3) organization governed by a board of directors comprised of community and civic leaders, Southminster has been a stable example for nearly 40 years of responsible stewardship and ministry. Books could be written full of wonderful stories of multiple generations of residents creating memories, forging lifelong friendships, and living full and productive lives.

With Southminster’s recent expansion and renovations, Southminster continues to meet the needs of its residents and those yet to come. With high-demand, larger, more spacious homes, a modern fitness center (with indoor pool), and unparalleled amenities, Southminster continues to set the bar for what retirement living should be. Offering a full continuum of care and a commitment to the highest level of service, Southminster continues the tradition of defining the exceptional retirement experience.

Southminster is a member in good standing with Leading Age, formerly known as the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) and its state chapter, Southminster is fully licensed by the North Carolina Department of Insurance and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

If you are interested in learning more, call to schedule your visit to Southminster and learn how you can enjoy a retirement lifestyle full of choices and possibilities.

Our Mission


At Southminster, our mission is to embrace community, caring and collaboration to enrich the lives of those we serve.  We are Southminster.


We are committed to being a thriving, inclusive culture celebrating innovative living and person-centered care.

Meeting the region’s emerging needs through thoughtful growth and collaboration, we will be the premier choice to live and work.



  • Community
  • We create welcoming and resilient communities where we live and work.
  • Excellence
    Teamwork and discipline guide us in our pursuit of excellence.
  • Compassion
    We respond with support when challenged and faced with struggles.
  • Well-Being
    We holistically care for one another.
  • Do the Right Thing
    We believe trust and integrity are paramount to doing what’s right even when no one is watching.


Board of Directors

Dr. Paul Tolmie

Suzanne Bledsoe

Dr. Paul Tolmie

Richard “Dick” Brigden

Dr. Paul Tolmie

Tate Bowers

Mr. Allen Robertson

Rev. Robin Coira

Mr. Allen Robertson
Charles H. Conner, Jr.
Mr. Allen Robertson

Larry J. Dagenhart

Mr. Allen Robertson

Jack Cook

Dr. Paul Tolmie

Edward T. Hinson Jr.

Mr. Allen Robertson

MaryAnn Largen

Mr. Allen Robertson

Frank L. Horne, Jr.

Dr. Paul Tolmie

Joseph Kluttz

Mr. Allen Robertson

Gloria Gibson

Mr. Allen Robertson

Hope Parrott

Mr. Allen Robertson

Allen Robertson

Mr. Allen Robertson

Susan Salvin

Mr. Allen Robertson

Rev. Lisa Saunders

Mr. Allen Robertson

Roy L.  Smart “Skip”

Mr. Allen Robertson

Robert Thomason

Mr. Allen Robertson

Carrie Veal

Leadership Team

Dr. Paul Tolmie

Ben Gilchrist

President & CEO

Mr. Gilchrist has extensive experience working with non-profit retirement communities, as well as for-profit skilled nursing providers.  Prior to being appointed as CEO at Southminster, Mr. Gilchrist served for seven years as Vice President of Operations at Friendship Senior Options, a non-profit provider of senior services and housing in Illinois. Prior to that Mr. Gilchrist served as President of Springfield Masonic Home, a non-profit CCRC in Springfield, OH and Vice President of Operations for Vrable Health Care Company in Columbus, OH, a for-profit provider of skilled nursing. Prior to that position he served as Vice President of Health Care and Community Based Services at Maple Knoll Communities in Springdale, OH, a non-profit provider of senior services and housing. Mr. Gilchrist is a licensed Nursing Home Administrator in Ohio and served on the board of LeadingAge Illinois. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration in Applied Management from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Mr. Allen Robertson

Kenda Laughey, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

Kenda is a Certified Public Accountant having joined Southminster after a successful 10-year career with Deloitte & Touche.  With Deloitte & Touche, she was an Audit Senior Manager focused on health care providers. Kenda  graduated from the University of South Carolina where she earned a Bachelor of Science & Business Administration degree and a Master of Accountancy degree.

Mr. Allen Robertson

Arnoldo Marquez

chief Operating officer

    Arnoldo joined Southminster in 2013, initially serving as Technology Director, and today as Southminster’s Chief Operating Office. As COO, Arnoldo oversees all areas of operations including Embrace Health, Embrace Care, Campus Facilities, Environmental Services and Culinary Services as well as the development of all policies and programs related to service delivery. Before joining Southminster, Arnoldo worked for a Tech Fortune 100 company and a small law firm that quickly expanded to become a multi-state firm. Arnoldo sees senior living industry as a true calling and believes that technology can help change how we work and live. His purpose is to find technology solutions that improve staff efficiency and productivity while helping seniors improve the way they live. Arnoldo enjoys giving back to the community as a donor with the Red Cross, as a teacher of English as a Second Language, and as a volunteer at his local church and children’s school, serving in various leadership capacities. Arnoldo is a Cisco Certified Network Professional, a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate, and a graduate from the LeadingAge NC Leadership Academy class of 2019. Arnoldo holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree with a concentration in Information Systems from Appalachian State University.

Mr. Allen Robertson

Lisa McClellan

Vice President of Human Resources

Lisa enjoys over 20 years’ experience in associate relations, training/development, recruiting, benefits and compensation management.  Prior to joining Southminster, Lisa was in human resource management with Arbor Acres, a continuing care retirement community located in Winston Salem. Earlier experience includes human resource positions with Honda of America, Visa USA, and Sunrise Medical.  A graduate of Longwood College, with a BS in Sociology and Business, Lisa has earned additional certifications in Human Resources Management and Career Architect Training and Development and is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). She is also successfully graduated from the Disney school’s course on leadership and management.

Mr. Allen Robertson

Tracy McGinnis

Vice President of Philanthropy & Strategic Initiatives

Tracy has held this newly created role since February, 2014. Prior to joining the senior leadership team at Southminster, Tracy led business development efforts in North and South Carolina in independent living, assisted living, and specialized memory care.  Tracy earned a BA in Communications/Journalism and is a published writer with both local and national publications on a variety of topics. She completed her graduate work in the field of Gerontology and was inducted into the Sigma Phi Omega Honor Society with the Gerontological Society of America. Tracy currently serves on the board of directors for the Shepherd’s Center, Council on Aging, Volunteer Transportation Services and is a certified Dementia specialist through the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.  Tracy’s current efforts include expanding Southminster’s philanthropic mission by building community partnerships that focus on education, cultural arts and healthy community initiatives.

Mr. Allen Robertson

Stewart Wiley

Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Stewart enjoys over 30 years experience in both the corporate and non-profit sectors that includes directing the sales and marketing efforts of a multi-site developer of continuing care retirement communities; directing the advancement efforts of two prestigious K-12 independent private schools; serving as a national sales executive for a developer of medical information software; and consulting with hospitals on the successful integration of management and physician practices. Stewart is experienced at leading the marketing efforts and advancing the sales initiatives of expanding companies on the threshold of leading their industries. Stewart is a graduate of the The Terry Business College of the University of Georgia.

Mr. Allen Robertson
Tess Garcia
Director of Embrace Care Services
Tess is a dedicated and compassionate registered nurse with 30+ years of diversified clinical experience in the Acute Care setting, Sub-acute Rehabilitation, Long term Care with Geriatric Care Management and Home Care Management. Tess has been with Southminster for the past 17 years and she started out as the Health and Wellness Clinic Nurse Manager. She was instrumental in obtaining the Home Care state licensure and establishing Home Care services for both in-house and off campus. Tess obtained certification from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers and started the Care Management service for our residents here at Southminster. Her responsibility as the Director of Embrace Care is to manage, organize, coordinate and direct the on-going clinical operations of the Wellness Clinic and the Home Care agency. She ensures the delivery of quality resident / client care and ensures that adequate qualified personnel are provided, retained, and utilized in an efficient manner. She also monitors compliance with all Federal and State regulations that relate to the Nursing and Home Care Services.

Tess was recently chosen as Southminster’s next Fellow in the LeadingAge NC Leadership Academy, a year-long program designed to develop statewide aging services. The program provides a challenging and engaging learning environment that enhances the leadership capacity of aging services professionals so they are better equipped to serve in the aging field.

Mr. Allen Robertson

Christina Hall

Director of Resident Life Enrichment
Christina is Southminster’s Director of Resident Life Enrichment. In this role Christina provides leadership for Life Enrichment, Fitness, and Spiritual Wellness. She also manages new resident acclimation, connecting new neighbors with residents and staff who can ease their transition into our community and remain a support contact for residents throughout their life at Southminster. 
Christina moved to Charlotte in 2009 to attend Johnson & Wales University.  She came to Southminster in 2011 as an Assistant Dining Room Manager while completing her bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. A transition to the Life Enrichment team in 2013 led to a promotion to Director of Life Enrichment Programs in 2015, and Director of Resident Life Enrichment in 2020. She is honored to have spent 2021 as a fellow in the Leading Age North Carolina’s Leadership Academy.  
Mr. Allen Robertson
Brittany M. Muthard
Director of Culinary Services

As Director of Culinary Services, Brittany is responsible for leading Southminster’s culinary team, bringing new menu offerings, service innovations, and exceptional service delivery in each of the dining venues at Southminster.

A native of Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, Brittany is a graduate of Lock Haven University with Bachelor of Science degrees in both Business Administration and Accounting. While at Lock Haven, she was an NCAA Division II National Champion Softball Player and served as team captain.

Brittany enjoys over 10 years’ experience in restaurant hospitality and dining services.  Prior to joining Southminster, Brittany was Senior General Manager of Dining Services at Bard College in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley.  Brittany has extensive experience in catering, fast, casual, and fine dining, as well as in dining renovation and design planning. She is both ServSafe and AllerTrain certified, two certifications that focus on food safety and accommodating guests with food allergies.  These along with a “Farm to Table” foundation, Brittany is committed to sustainability programs that support local farmers, growers, and restauranteurs.

In her free time, she volunteers at food banks, enjoys the outdoors with her dog, Champ, and can be found anywhere near the water. As a sports enthusiast, Brittany loves watching sports and is currently working on her golf swing. . . she’s open to suggestions!

Mr. Allen Robertson

Josh Noland

Director of Campus Facilities
Josh joined Southminster in 2015 as the Assistant Director of Campus Facilities. He was promoted to the position of Director of Campus Facilities in 2020. Prior to Southminster, Josh worked with Sodexo USA as a General Manager in Campus Facilities Management at Emory & Henry College and at Queens University in Charlotte as the Operations Manager. Josh brought with him years of experience working on large campuses managing construction, maintenance, custodial and grounds projects while managing budgets, inventory systems and safety programs. Josh has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing and Information Systems from Queens University of Charlotte.
Mr. Allen Robertson

Donna Peters

Executive Assistant

Donna joined the Southminster team in 2001. She works with residents, family members, Board members, senior managers, and employees to provide assistance to the Executive Director in areas related to community management. Donna has worked in the field of senior healthcare and senior living since 1990. She has an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Chatham College in Pittsburgh.

Mr. Allen Robertson

Susanne Shaw

Communications & Public Relations Manager
Susanne is a North Carolina native who graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in English. After college she moved to Boston, MA and worked in sales and marketing. When she returned to North Carolina in 1993 she moved to Charlotte with her husband and daughter and spent the next few years raising her and their son, who soon followed. She then went back to work and spent several years in publishing and advertising sales until coming to Southminster as their first Communications Manager in 2015. Since her start at Southminster she has provided communication services to all the Southminster departments, as well as being involved in the implementation and expansion of first CATIE and then Cubigo, Southminster’s communication app for residents and staff. Susanne has also led the initiative to expand Southminster’s social media presence and was subsequently promoted to Communications and Public Relations Manager in 2021.

Outside of work Susanne and her husband Doug enjoy visiting their children and grandchildren, live music, biking, and hiking with their dog.

Mr. Allen Robertson
Yvonne Washburn
Embrace Health Administrator

Yvonne Washburn is Southminster’s Embrace Health Administrator, responsible for Southminster’s higher levels of care including assisted living and skilled nursing. Yvonne is a licensed nursing home administrator with an undergraduate degree in psychology from Lenoir Ryne University and an MBA from Gardner Webb University. Yvonne’s formative years were in Charlotte before attending and graduating from Salem Academy. When not at Southminster, Yvonne enjoys spending time at the lake fishing and boating. She loves the mountains, horses, dogs and cats, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.