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Our Staff

Aging Life Care Management Staff

Pamela (Bednar) Braun,  MSW, LCSW, C-ASWCM, LF — President

Pamela is a Master’s-level social worker, licensed clinical social worker and Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager for independent practice in Arizona.  She is also a Licensed Fiduciary through the Arizona Supreme Court. She is the founder and owner of Geriatric Assessment, Management & Solutions, LLC  since 2000.  The East Valley satellite was opened in Spring of 2014 to serve the clients in the Scottsdale and Phoenix areas in a more comprehensive way.

Pam is originally from Wisconsin but grew up in the Kansas City area. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, a minor in Gerontology from Kansas State University, and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Kansas in 1990. Her work experience has been primarily in health and mental healthcare. She has worked in the hospital setting since 1986 including the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota with neurology and neurosurgical patients. Since moving to Arizona in 1994, she worked in a geriatric mental health/medical unit at Del Webb Hospital in Sun City West for 6 years. Her areas of interest have been focused on individuals with dementia and their families specifically with behavior issues. She has done extensive volunteer work with the Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter.  She is active with the Western Regional Chapter of The Aging Life Care Association and has served on the Board, committee positions and co-chaired the Annual Conference in Scottsdale in October 2013. Pam is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers and American Case Management Association.

Jo Dee Williams, LPN

Jo Dee was born and raised in Muncie, Indiana and lived there for 20 years.  She moved to Phoenix in 1998.  She always knew that she wanted to be a nurse.  After experiencing different nursing aspects, she found her niche working with the elderly. She feels blessed having over 39 years of nursing experience where her heart and passion is assisting those living with the challenges of the aging process, specifically those living with dementia.  Jo Dee has worked in an administrative position and front-line in memory care facilities.   She is excited to bring her experience to GAMS and assisting those entrusting their care and loved ones to GAMS services.

Cindy Schmitt, MSW

Cindy’s professional career spans more than 23 years working in both senior care and early childhood education administration. A native of Wisconsin, Cindy earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Valparaiso University and then a Master’s Degree in Social Work and Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.   She began her career working as a case manager with seniors in inner city Milwaukee. She has also been the Director of Social Services and Admission at two skilled nursing facilities. Cindy spent many years working at an Intergenerational Care Center in Milwaukee and also as a therapist for individuals of all ages and abilities. Cindy most recently held an Executive Director position at a memory care community helping older adults and their families adjust to the changes and challenges of a dementia diagnosis.

Cindy’s skills in assisting older adults as they navigate complex medical, living and social challenges are focused on looking at family systems, partnering with health care professionals and considering individual needs and preferences. Her philosophy is based on treating others with the utmost respect and dignity, in order to allow the highest level of autonomy and independence as possible.

Cindy works to bring all available resources to clients and families, giving them the information they need to make the best decision for optimum quality of life.

Carrie Lane, MA

Carrie earned her Master of Psychology degree in 2005 from Seattle University’s exclusive Existential Phenomenological Psychology program, where she found her specialty working with seniors at Seattle Mental Health. After counseling individuals, couples’ and facilitating groups, she realized this was her calling. Carrie has an extensive interest in dogs and animals and had her own business working with aquatic therapy. After taking a break from the field of geriatrics and moving to Arizona in 2020, Carrie found her way back to the field as a care manager at GAMS. She has a positive approach to working with people and recognizes their unique strengths and “not the sum of a diagnosis”. Carrie believes that “striving to see the world through the eyes of the human being is where true compassion resides”. We are excited to have her enthusiasm and dedication as a member of our care team.

Marilyn Snyder Ellington, BA

Aging Life Care Specialist Supervisor

Marilyn relocated from Ohio in 2010 where she has been a licensed social worker for 23 years. A graduate of Ashland College in Ashland Ohio Marilyn has worked in long term and transitional care for 15 years. She has enjoyed a long career at 2 skilled nursing facilities in Ohio serving as social service, admissions, and marketing director roles. Most recently, she was instrumental in opening a Transitional Care Unit in Sandusky, Ohio focusing on short term skilled patients needing acute medical care and rehabilitation. Marilyn has a strong background with hospice, counseling, and discharge planning. In addition, she has extensive experience with Medicare, Medicaid, and case management in skilled facilities. She is currently working in a supervisory role with GAMS due to her experience and longevity with the company.

Support Services Staff

Donnell Chayrez

Donnell is a native Arizonian. She enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends; shopping; and time on the beach. Donnell has over 20 years of medical office experience in several specialties including Internal Medicine, Pulmonology, OB/GYN, and Developmental Pediatrics. She has a “passion for people”. She is honored to be part of the GAMS team and helping families and their loved ones facilitate the best care possible.