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 over 30 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


Southminster is a non-profit, charitable community that embraces the individual by fostering a quality of life characterized by choice, independence, well-being, spirituality, dignity, privacy, and peace of mind for each person.


Founded with pride in 1987 by two local churches, Southminster has become the premier non-profit retirement community in the Charlotte area. We serve a vibrant community of residents and others who are living lives to the fullest. With a respected and highly capable staff, Southminster provides the highest quality healthcare, services and programming. Recognizing the uniqueness of every person, we are seen as a national leader in care for the aging. We reach out to those in the community and help them throughout the transition of aging. For many, this includes a physical move to Southminster. We continually update our services and residences so that they are the most attractive in the region. We embrace change, diversity and technology to improve the lives of our residents and others we serve. We have a strong financial foundation which we are continually improving. Southminster is seen as a leader in giving back to the community through its many partnerships and other charitable activities.


  • Community
  • Southminster residents and others we serve live their lives to the fullest in a collaborative atmosphere of mutual respect, compassion and trust.
  • Excellence
    Our leadership and staff have a professional dedication to excel at everything they do, knowing such efforts will improve the lives of our residents and others we serve.
  • Integrity
    Our community of staff, residents and others we serve strive for the highest levels of ethical behavior, financial responsibility, fair practices and accountability.
  • Respect for the Individual
    Because every individual is unique, Southminster strives to help each resident and others we serve to maximize their independence and well-being.
  • Charity and Outreach
    Southminster provides residents peace-of-mind so that they can continue to live a dignified life should unforeseen circumstances cause them to outlive their assets. Additionally, Southminster is dedicated to making a difference in the broader Charlotte community through its charitable work and donations.


Board of Directors

Mr. Allen Robertson

Rev. Joseph Aldrich

Dr. Paul Tolmie

Mrs. Suzanne Bledsoe

Dr. Paul Tolmie

Mr. Richard “Dick” Brigden

Mr. Allen Robertson

Rev. Robin Coira

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

Larry J. Dagenhart

Dr. Paul Tolmie

Mr. R. Stuart Dickson

Mr. Allen Robertson

Frank L. Horne, Jr.

Dr. Paul Tolmie

Mr. Joseph Kluttz

Mr. Allen Robertson

MaryAnn Largen

Mr. Allen Robertson

Regan Miller

Mr. Allen Robertson

Mrs. Hope Parrott

Mr. Allen Robertson
Mr. Allen Robertson
Mr. Allen Robertson

Mrs. Susan Salvin

Mr. Allen Robertson

Rev. Lisa Saunders

Mr. Allen Robertson

Mr. Robert Thomason

Dr. Paul Tolmie
Dr. Paul Tolmie
Mr. Allen Robertson

Mr. Richard “Dick” Welch

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

Mary Cooper, R.N.

Chief Operating Officer

Mary is a seasoned professional in the field of aging services for over 30 years with more than 20 of those years at Southminster. Mary began her career at Southminster as the Director of Nursing with certifications in geriatric nursing and culture change. Prior to being promoted to the COO position, Mary held the title of Director of Health and Wellness and Administrator of Record for Southminster’s Embrace Health. Her responsibilities included all areas of Health and Wellness operations including Nursing, Resident and Family Life, Embrace Care, Life Enrichment, the Wellness Clinic and Wellness/Fitness. As COO Mary now oversees all areas of operations including Embrace Health, Embrace Care, Environmental Services and Culinary Services as well as the development of all policies and programs related to service delivery.

Mr. Allen Robertson

Ben Bumgardner, CDM, CFPP

Administrator of Embrace Health

Ben began his work at Southminster as the Assistant Manager of Culinary Services while earning his Certificate of Dietary Management in 2013. His love of service to others drove him to continue seeking purpose in the community. Invited to participate by Leading Age of North Carolina in its 2017 Leadership Academy, Ben was inspired to pursue the Administrator-In-Training program.  Completed in the summer of 2020, Ben is now a licensed healthcare administrator serving Southminster’s residents of Embrace Health.  Ben holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies at Appalachian State University.

Mr. Allen Robertson

Arnoldo Marquez

Technology Director
Arnoldo joined Southminster in 2013 as the Technology Director and brings over 15 years’ experience working in IT in various industries. His passion for technology, his urge to help others, and his curiosity for knowing how things work directed Arnoldo into the technology field at an early age. 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

Director 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

Director of Philanthropy

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

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
Salem Suber IV
Director of Culinary & Hospitality Management
Salem Suber, a Charlotte native, joined Southminster in 2010 as the Director of Culinary Services. Salem added the role of Hospitality Management to his title at Southminster in July of 2020 and now manages our culinary and housekeeping staff for all of Southminster. Salem’s career in foodservice began in the summer of 1985 waiting tables at Eli’s on East, The Chateau, and the Village Tavern simultaneously with the goal of working every day that summer before leaving for UNC. From managing Spanky’s in Chapel Hill to foodservice distribution with US Foodservice in Atlanta, Salem eventually owned and managed his own restaurant and catering company in the North Georgia Mountains for 10 years before serving as a consultant for other organizations looking to create innovative, fine dining establishments. He essentially grew up in the restaurant business as his grandfather (also Salem Suber) was the owner of the renowned Town House in Myers Park. Salem’s knowledge of the food and restaurant industry and his dedication to customer service are a hallmark of Southminster’s culinary program. His vast experience with the hospitality industry has elevated the level of service provided to Southminster residents.
Mr. Allen Robertson

Stewart Wiley

Director of Sales and Marketing

Stewart joined Southminster in February 2012, first as a marketing consultant and, today, as its Director 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.