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Board of Directors

Letter from Board Chair

It is truly my honor and privilege to serve as the Foundation’s Board Chair.  Through the support of our dedicated Board members and the generosity of our donors, we strive to fund programs and services that truly enhance the palliative and end of life journey for patients and their loved ones throughout San Diego County.

The provision of hospice and palliative care is highly regulated and prescriptive and is typically paid for by the government or through insurance coverage.  It is a medical program, reimbursed to provide medical care, therefore, programs that call to the heart, nourish the spirit, and provide therapeutic but non-medical interventions must be funded by other sources.  The LightBridge Hospice Community Foundation was created to address this need.   Whether through Aromatherapy, Pet Therapy, Healing Touch, Veterans Programs, Music & Memory or one of the many other programs we embrace, the Foundation seeks ways to recognize the uniqueness of each individual and provide support for them that eases their journey, speaks to the heart or fulfills their final wishes.

I hope that as you look through our website you will join us in celebrating the value of giving.  You can make a difference by participating in our special events, attending our educational programs, giving to our patient programs, volunteering, or granting an end-of-life wish. 

Help us make a difference today!

Warmest regards,

Jill Mendlen, Board Chair

Board of Directors

LightBridge Hospice Community Foundation is governed by a group of community leaders who are committed to the care and services provided by hospice and their desire to truly impact the lives of patients and their families.  They bring a depth of professional experience in many areas including healthcare, insurance, public relations, marketing, business, and financial management in addition to their leadership and involvement in numerous community service and charitable organizations.

Jill Mendlen, RN

Board Chair

Jill Mendlen serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of LightBridge Hospice and Palliative Care which specializes in the delivery of hospice and palliative care services to individuals who reside throughout San Diego County. Ms. Mendlen also serves as Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of LightBridge Medical Associates — San Diego’s Palliative Care Specialists. LightBridge Medical Associates is San Diego’s first community-based Palliative Care specialty medical group.

Ms. Mendlen is a nationally recognized expert in clinical program development, health care management, reimbursement and strategic direction.  She is the 2019 recipient of the Doris A. Howell, MD Award for Advancing Palliative Care, conferred in recognition of her outstanding contributions and achievements as a pioneer in palliative care in San Diego.

Pamela Hough

Chief Operations Officer

Pamela Hough is Senior Vice President of Operations/Administrator for the LightBridge organizations and has been instrumental in the start-up and development of each. Under her leadership, LightBridge Hospice earned accreditation by the Joint Commission and, when it was offered, additional certification in palliative care. LightBridge Medical Associates was the first medical group specializing in palliative care in San Diego.

Pam is passionate about LightBridge’s special programs devoted to easing the burden of illness for patients and their families and helping them find ways to joyfully create meaningful moments and everlasting memories.

Steven Nico


Steven Nico is a Client Sales Executive with Marsh & McLennan Insurance Agency LLC, which specializes in assisting both small and large group employers in their health insurance benefits needs. He has been working as a group health insurance broker for over twenty-five years. Mr. Nico is a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) and the local chapter, San Diego Association of Health Underwriters (SDAHU).

Mr. Nico received his B.S. degree in Marketing from San Diego State University.

Sharlene Beltran

Sharlene Beltran is a Senior Sales Executive at Blue Shield of California specializing in the small business market assisting employers with their health insurance benefits needs. She is a licensed insurance agent and has been working as a group health insurance advocate for over twenty years. Mrs. Beltran also acts as the Philanthropy Chair of the local chapter of San Diego Association of health underwriters (SDAHU) and is dedicated to helping others in our San Diego community. She has been married for 31 years to her husband Michael and has three children in which they reside in Carlsbad, CA.

Charisse Caniff

Charisse Caniff retired after working 21 years in the Physical Therapy Department of the San Diego Veterans Hospital in La Jolla, CA. While at the VA, she was part of the Spinal Cord Injury Unit (SCI), a unit of the hospital that works exclusively with veterans with spinal cord injuries. She was passionate about her job and the ability to make a difference in the lives of others. She served as both a therapist and the managing lead of the SCI therapy department.

After retiring in 2014, Charisse joined LightBridge as a volunteer. Her volunteer responsibilities include patient visits, 11th-hour care, administrative support, and involvement in the veteran’s program. She joined the Board of Directors at LightBridge Hospice Community Foundation in late 2016.

Jeff Carlos

Jeff Carlos has more than a decade of experience and passion for working through the complex wealth planning issues that business owners, executives, and retirees face making him uniquely positioned to help his clients pursue their financial and lifetime goals.

Mr. Carlos has earned the prestigious CIMA® (Certified Investment Management Analyst®) designation, is an Accredited Asset Management Specialist, AAMS®, and was named a 2017, 2018, and 2019 Five-Star Wealth Manager by San Diego Magazine. He holds his FINRA Series 7, 66, and 24 securities licenses and his Life Insurance license. Mr. Carlos is a former Chairman of the Alpine & Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce and supports many other charitable causes.

Cheryl Cote

Cheryl Cote was born and raised in Maine. She moved to Boston after college and spent 15 years there before finding her way to the West Coast in 2011.  San Diego is now her home.  Her entire career has been in employee benefits.  For the last 10 years, she has served as Sharp Health Plan’s Small Group Account Executive.  Family, friends, community, and career are her top priorities.  She is passionate about people and life.  She claims to smile and laugh nearly every minute because she knows she lives a blessed life and surrounded by amazing people.

Ron Galan

Ron Galan is currently the President of Montgomery DME. He began at Montgomery DME as the Chief Financial Officer and was quickly promoted. Ron has more than 20 years’ experience in corporate America. He has worked at companies such as Experian, ADP and most recently at ABM Industries, Inc. Ron has taken his billion dollar, corporate world experience and applied it to smaller scale operations where he has made a direct and significant impact on operations and profitability. Ron’s position at Montgomery DME allows him to help create the best experience possible for hospice patients. “It is fulfilling and rewarding work.” 

Ann Owens

After spending 30+ years in the Human Resources field with high tech companies, Ann retired in 2014. 

Her last 16 years of employment were with Qualcomm. She was Senior Vice President of Human Resources and managed the Global Total Rewards organization.  Ann provided oversight for the Benefits, Onsite Health Clinic, Compensation, Stock Equity and HR Information Systems functions.

A longtime advocate for supporting those living with dementia, Ann passionately supports initiatives focused on finding an effective treatment or a cure for Alzheimer’s and increasing community awareness of the disease.  More recently she expanded her interests to include end-of life care for all, not only those with dementia.

She serves on several non-profit Boards.  Ann and her husband reside in Poway. 

Lisa Swaiman

Lisa Swaiman is currently retired and happily volunteers for LightBridge Hospice — leading Expression Through Art sessions and visiting patients one-on-one.

Lisa was Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at The Capital Group, parent company to American Funds. She started the retirement plan communications department, which educates everyday people to plan for retirement.

Lisa was honored in 2019 with the Lights of LightBridge Volunteer Award in recognition of the many ways in which she radiates light into the lives of San Diegans.

Linda J. Katz

Linda has worked in the field of accounting since July 1, 1969, with the last 41 years working as a senior accountant in her husband’s public accounting firm. Linda and her husband owned and operated skilled nursing facilities and an assisted living facility in Culver City, where she was responsible for all financial duties. Linda’s interest in the financial market led her to create INVE$T HER$, an investment club in 1996, which ran through 2008. At its inception, the successful club rostered 15 members. Linda was the Treasurer for the entire 12 years. More recently, Linda joined Investments Plus, a women’s-only investment club, where she currently serves as auditor.

Since Linda grew up in a military family, another organization that is near to Linda’s heart is Homes4Families. Linda sits on the Board of this wonderful organization, which builds affordable homes for veterans and their families. In addition to her Board duties, Linda enjoys being part of the “build” team, contributing her hands-on skills with painting, planting, concrete work and wherever else she is needed.

In her free time, Linda enjoys traveling, reading, spinning, and spending time with family and friends.