Karrie Barrett

Executive Director – Karrie Barrett joined the Sierra Place team in June of 2015 as the Community Relations Director. She grew up in Saginaw Michigan where she obtained her B.B.A in marketing and management from Northwood University. Karrie has nineteen years of sales and marketing experience in various industries. Karrie has a passion for life and helping others.  She lives in Reno with her wonderful husband Luke and lovable Labradors Bailey and Lilly. All four of them love backpacking, kayaking and the anything outdoors. Karrie is very excited to help families and individuals discover solutions to their senior community needs. She welcomes you to visit Sierra Place for a tour, meal, activity or event.

Debra Evans RN

Wellness Director – Debra is pleased to assume the position of Wellness Director. She has over 40 years as a Registered Nurse, mostly in emergency nursing, critical care, paramedicine, leadership, and compliance. She has been a nurse since 1977 and a paramedic educator since 1993.

Debra currently resides in Gardnerville with her husband. She is blessed to have her daughter and 2 grandchildren also in Gardnerville; her son lives in Kentucky with his wife and 2 children, both he and his wife having served in the Army, 101st Airborne.

Debra and Gil, her husband, are outdoor enthusiasts and enjoy downhill skiing, hiking, target shooting, baseball games, kayaking, and being supportive to their family. Both serve at their local church, Debra is a vocalist and her husband serves wherever needed.

Debra is thrilled to be part of the Sierra Place team to serve and care for the residents. As there are several veterans at Sierra Place, Debra feels this is her chance to thank them for their service.

Emilie Williams

Life Enrichment Director – Emilie  happily joined the Sierra Place team in June of 2018. She lived her entire life in Fremont California until her education brought her to Sacramento. Her love for older adults and her caring nature led her to a degree in Gerontology. After graduating with her BS in Gerontology in 2016, she moved home to save some money and landed a job as Life Enrichment Coordinator for an Adult Day Health Center (ADHC). After a year and a half of being back in Fremont, she decided it was time for a change. She now resides in her parents’ second home in Gardnerville, Nevada with her beloved dog, Roxie.

Outside of work, Emilie enjoys hiking, exploring her new town, spending time with family and friends, working out and living a very active lifestyle. Since family has always been a priority, she and Roxie feel so blessed to be a part of such an incredible family at Sierra Place. Emilie [and Roxie] look forward to making lasting memories here at Sierra Place!

Joy Hepner

Community Relations Director – Joy is enthralled to join the Sierra Place Team, she is currently enrolled in the Gerontology academic program at UNR and enjoys every minute spent learning about the field she has chosen. Joy grew up in Reno, Nevada and loves her home with a passion. She currently lives in Sparks and loves finding new hobbies and adventures to experience with family and friends. Joy loves to travel and recently came back from a trip abroad, she is looking forward to many more adventures in the coming years. Joy has spent many years volunteering with seniors and has finally found a way to use her experience to help seniors make the most of their retirement years. She is excited to join in the work that Sierra Place is doing and invites you to come by for good conversation and stay for lunch in our restaurant.

team-zandraZandra Payton-Lawrence

Business Office Manager – Zandra Payton-Lawrence has worked for Sierra Place for 13 years. She began her tenure as a front desk receptionist and quickly assumed some of the business office responsibilities.  She is medtech trained, as well as having her Servsafe certificate. Her on-the-job experience has provided her with a wealth of knowledge and skills, and in fact there is not one job she has not performed at Sierra Place. She has a passion for what she does and enjoys it all. Prior to her job at Sierra Place she was a full time mother and homemaker for 2 years. Moving to Carson City, Nevada in 1998,  Payton-Lawrence grew up on the Oregon Coast.  She currently enjoys spending her off time with her husband of six years and their five children and two grandchildren.    “Attitude makes a difference so smile and pass it on.”

Dwight Aalgaard

Plant Operations Director – Dwight has been working with the senior population for over six years serving as a Maintenance Director and a Business Office Coordinator for Brookdale Senior Living in Reno prior to coming to Sierra Place.  He has experience working with Independent, Assisted Living, and Memory Care communities.  Originally from the green farm lands of Iowa, he spent eleven years in the desert of Arizona before moving to northern Nevada.  His time in Iowa, Arizona and with Brookdale have prepared him to serve the residents of Sierra Place with confidence and pride.  He looks forward to meeting and assisting each resident when they move into their new home at Sierra Place.


Nancy Cruz CDM, CFPP

Dining Services Director – Nancy has been in food service all of her working career.  She earned her certificate in Culinary Arts in 1992, from South Seattle Community College.  Starting as a Kitchen Manager in the higher education setting, she was then promoted to Catering Manager.  Her next career move was to the world of skilled nursing facilities, where she served as a Food Service Director for seven years.  Within this period, Nancy also became a Certified Dietary Manager and a Certified Food Protection Professional.

Senior Living was her next focus, as a Dining Services Director. Starting in 2004, Nancy brought her expertise to this industry and she found her niche.  She joined Sierra Place in April 2013, in conjunction with a move from Washington State to Carson City to be close to family.

With two adult children and a husband of 20 years, Cruz loves being outdoors, especially when the sun is shining.  Rafting down a river on a sunny day is her idea of a slice of heaven.  Her hobbies include cooking, crafting and sewing when she can’t get to a river.