Oaks Senior Living Executive Team
The Salabarria family has been faithfully providing senior living in Georgia since 1998. We are committed to serving with faith, knowledge, compassion, and love.
Alex Salabarria was born in Miami, Florida in 1967 to Nelson and Miriam Salabarria. The Salabarria family immigrated from Cuba when the Fidel Castro Revolution toppled the Batista regime. The youngest of three siblings, Alex resided for most of his childhood in Ocala, Florida. He graduated from Ocala Forest High School in 1985 and went on to attend college at the University of Florida and Florida State University.
After college, Alex worked in the restaurant industry managing for Steak & Ale and Brinker International in Florida and Georgia for 7 years. In 1996, Alex moved to the Atlanta area to work with his father, Nelson Sr., to achieve his dream of developing and managing an assisted living community for the elderly. In 1998 their dream came to reality when they opened their first community in Woodstock, Georgia.
Alex is currently developing and managing multiple assisted living and memory care communities in Georgia. His brother Nelson and brother-in-law Douglas Shook have joined him over the past few years in the family business to manage the financial and development side of the company.
Alex married Denise Duhé in 2000. They share three children; Brock O’Neil, Theresé Marie and Caylee Jade. Their passions are travel, the beach, diving and Florida State Athletics. The are also active members and volunteers at North Point Church. “The lives we lead in this day and age are so hectic. We so often lose sight of the priorities in our lives. Our Lord, our families, friends and our commitment to our careers. To have such a wonderful family, a great God and the ability to make a difference in so many lives as we do for our residents is a blessing and a responsibility we keep close to our hearts. We hear so many times from families about the difference we make in their and their loved one’s lives. What they don’t realize is that they make a much bigger impact on our lives.”
Nelson Salabarria immigrated to the US from Cuba at an early age, growing up primarily in Florida. His early years in Miami and later in Ocala, graduating from Forest High School. Mr. Salabarria attended Auburn University where he attained his Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management, and met his wife, Melissa. Having been involved in the construction industry all of his life, he moved back to Ocala and worked with his father in the construction and development business. In 1987, Nelson and his wife moved to Atlanta, Georgia. He worked for a national consulting company providing cost management services to the architectural, engineering and construction industry primarily involved in large commercial/industrial projects for private and government clients.
Nelson joined the family business in 2006 heading up development and construction, then transitioned to CFO in 2008 due to the company’s growth. He remains involved in development and construction working closely with Douglas Shook, President of Acquisitions and Development. “We are a very tight knit family. It was only a matter of time before we all joined the family business and applied all our talents and resources to our father’s dream of creating a loving and faith-based environment for the seniors of our community. This dream or philosophy still drives everything we do today.”
Nelson and Melissa have two daughters, Christina and Danielle. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf and being an active member of Woodstock City Church.
Douglas is a lifelong resident of Forsyth County, Georgia. He received a BBA from Georgia State University in 1988. After being in the construction industry for many years, he started S&C Construction. He met his wife to be, Mirian Salabarria, in 1988 and they later married in 1991. Their beautiful daughter, Alexandra, was born in 1992 and five years to the day they were blessed with their son, Gabriel. After running his own construction company for 20 years, Douglas joined Oaks Senior Living in an effort to expand the family business. His entire family are UGA bulldog fans, where Alexandra graduated in 2014 and Gabriel began attending in the Fall of 2016. The Shook family attends and actively serves at Browns Bridge Church in Cumming, Georgia. “I was blessed to marry into a very close and loving family. When you marry a Salabarria you marry the entire Salabarria family. We are a family that genuinely cares for one another and is there to support and love through good and bad times. You see this in our organization. We believe as Christians, that we are called to serve, love, and give. We see it as our mission and duty to serve our communities by providing a loving and caring home for the seniors that are entrusted into our care. What we do is a calling envisioned by our founder, my father-in law, Nelson Sr., and is put into practice every day by my brother-in-law, our CEO, Alex. I saw a quote by Albert Einstein on the wall of the Emory Hospital, ‘Only a life lived for others is a life worth living.’ This quote perfectly expresses what is in our hearts, and is truly the core of what we do.”
Beth Cayce, a native of Savannah Georgia, witnessed in her later teen years how heavy the burden of caring for a family member with Dementia or chronic illness can be. Even with a devoted heart and selfless mentality, offering oneself to serve someone battling these illnesses is an immense challenge. As she shared the care with her mother, she realized how ill equipped they were to understand the disease and its behavioral effects. When Beth left to go to college in her pursuit of a health care degree, she watched her mother, over a 6-year period, provide care for not one, but three individuals with dementia and chronic health challenges. Unfortunately, caring for these individuals contributed to her mother’s early death. For Beth, the testimony of her mother’s sacrifice motivated her to learn all she could about senior care in order to position herself to be a reliable and informed source of support for others.
Beth went on to graduate from Georgia State University with a BS in Physical Therapy and MS in Health Leadership and Administration. The experiences and skills garnered during her professional career allowed her to develop a number of health care functions including free standing rehabilitation units in hospitals and person-centered dementia programs. As she grew and progressed in her vocational journey, she was able to become part of the executive management team of a national rehabilitation and senior living company.
During her time as executive manager, she was reminded of how difficult it was for families to transition their loved ones from hospitals or skilled nursing centers to a home. So, in her attempt to uniquely address home care and senior living solutions for families, Beth sold her company, and founded CaraVita Senior Care and CaraVita Home Care in 1998. CaraVita is a product of her distinct passion for developing a continuum of care for individuals through partnerships between the silos of health care and senior living. Additionally, Beth’s partnership with Oaks Senior Living is evidence of her commitment to help develop these programs in local communities.
Beth is married to Mark Blankenship and together they share 4 children and 6 grandchildren. She is passionate about sharing the good news of Christ Jesus with not only the seniors she serves, but also the native community in Kenya. In 2009, she cofounded Care to Learn International which is a self-sustainable pastor and leader training program. This program equips locals Kenyans, who are unable to afford training, with the knowledge and skills necessary to transform their communities for the glory of God and the good of His people. Beth allows this motto from John Wesley to inspire the many ways she cares for those she loves- “Do all the good, by all the means, at all the times, to all the people and for as long as you can.” For Beth, loving a neighbor is not just a mere choice, but rather a calling that determines the way she stewards each day of her life’s journey.
Bear Mahon joined the senior living industry because of a calling to serve others. His introduction to senior living came through the therapy and rehabilitation field, and during his 22-year career in the industry, he’s gained experience in the healthcare industry in acquisition and mergers, corporate development, multi-state portfolio management, and ancillary care services.
Mahon’s interest in service comes naturally, growing up in a military family and beginning his career in rehabilitative services. “With my parents working in the medical field and in Hospitals — I would put on a lab coat, put gloves in my pocket, and follow them around as they walked the floors. You would find me talking with the patients or pulling them out of their rooms to engage in various activities.”
Mahon began his career in Georgia as an Activities Director and Rehabilitation Coordinator and beginning in 2000, he served as Executive Director and Area Operations Manager for CaraVita Senior Care. Following his work at CaraVita, Mahon continued to excel in the field. He spent over a decade serving in multiple roles with Emeritus Senior Living and Brookdale to include; District Director of Operations, Regional Vice President, and Vice President of Community and Field Operations. Bear returned to CaraVita after 14 years to serve as the President and COO of CaraVita Senior Care and we have now joint ventured our two organizations to provide an even more elevated continuum of care for the seniors we serve.
Mahon is actively involved in the Georgia Senior Living Association and has held the positions of Vice-Chairman, Chairman-Elect for GSLA PAC, a member of the GSLA Legislative Committee, and a member of GSLA’s Financial Committee.
Andrew joined the family business in 2020. He earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting from the University of Georgia. After serving eight years in the United States Marine Corps, he decided to pursue a career in business. He met his wife to be, Alexandra Shook, in 2013 and they later married in 2018. After starting his career in public accounting, Andrew joined Oaks Senior Living in an effort to continue the success and long-standing reputation of the family business. “Although I married into the family, the Shook and Salabarria family is one which only loves at one level; maximum. Ever since I was introduced to the family, it was evident that the most important thing was each other. The family-centered life is something that I know meant everything to our founder, Nelson Sr. (Papi), and it’s something that I believe is at the heart of our organization.”
Denise Salabarria was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and raised in Southern Louisiana. She moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1987 to pursue a career in sales and marketing with a focus on healthcare. In 2002, she was introduced to A Place for Mom, today’s largest eldercare referral agency. She joined the Seattle-based company with a sole purpose of introducing their services to the Southeast and building their market presence in the Atlanta area. For eight years she worked closely with thousands of senior housing and care providers in additional to consulting and advising families during their search for senior care, earning many accolades and company awards during this time. She was promoted to a Regional Manager role in 2010, where she trained and assisted advisors across the Southeast to success. She joined the family business in 2014 bringing 18+ years of sales and marketing experience to the Oaks family.
Chester Butts senior housing experience began in 1998 after completing his undergraduate business degree from Ole Miss. His roles during his time in senior living have included community business office manager, regional accountant, corporate director of FP&A, and more. Chester’s first job opportunity in the field of assisted living was with CaraVita Senior Care Management in the year 2000. After moving to Georgia, Chester obtained his accounting degree and MBA from Kennesaw State University. He has a deep passion for serving seniors which is displayed in his ability to provide operational analytics enabling Oaks Senior Living field teams to make the best decisions possible.
Chester is a husband to his wife, Selina, and a father to his daughter, Ajanay. In addition to a wife and daughter, Chester’s family extends to their dog, Mocha. Outside of serving our senior community, Chester loves to spend time with his family at the beach.
Colette Lauria joined the Oaks family in August of 2021. She was born and raised in New York City where she attended school on Long Island. She received her degree in Recreational Therapy from East Carolina University and became a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Senior care, however, has been a part of Colette’s life since a young age. She remembers many days during her high school and college years working as a dietary aide for a skilled nursing center in Commack, New York.
After college, she continued in her vocational journey in senior living by having the opportunity to assist with the openings of several assisted living communities as an Activities Director. Colette soon made the jump to sales in order to help seniors and their families find the best solution for their next chapter of life. Her sales roles included Sales Specialist, Regional Sales Manager, and Senior Regional Director of Sales, working in multiple markets on the East and West Coast.
Colette’s passion for senior care stems from her grandmothers struggle to find the right senior residence. It was a challenge for her beloved grandmother to find a home that provided excellent care while maintaining an independent and empowering environment. Because of this experience, Colette desires to create an environment where seniors can thrive and continue to stay as independent as possible. “It is my calling to create these environments. When discussing senior living and making key decisions-I think of what she would have imagined and now, what my father and in laws would ultimately be looking for.”
Colette has been married to her husband Gerald for over 10 years, and they share boy-girl twins. She loves gardening, cooking, running, yoga, and spending time on the beach with her family.