Meet Our Team






Kristina Watanabe Hylton, MHA CDAL

Executive Director

In 2001, after graduating from San Francisco State University Kristina began her career as a Director of Community Relations for a Summerville managed assisted living community in South San Francisco. After working in the industry for four years, she was invited to join Summerville’s Administrator in Training program that led her to her first position as an Executive Director in Whittier, California.

Kristina has been an Executive Director for eleven years, the last three at The Groves of Tustin.

Kristina holds a Master’s degree in Health Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts with a minor in Philosophy. Since 2005, Kristina has held a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly Administrator’s license through the State of California and is nationally certified as a Director of Assisted Living through the Senior Living Certification Commission program.

In 2000 and 2001 Kristina was selected to present at the Department of Health and Human Services, Young Women’s Health Summit, Washington, DC.

Kristina is married with two children, Parker 8 and Mika 6.

Kristina did not have an opportunity to know either grandmother, having both passed away before her birth. Kristina was “adopted” by her surrogate grandmother, Frances. Not married or having children of her own, Frances loved telling stories of her own childhood, oftentimes reliving it like a play. Oftentimes, you would find Kristina and Frances on the front porch stoop, “playing” out a story –their favorite reenactment was Frances’ boat ride to England, where she visited Buckingham Palace. Several years later, after Kristina and her family moved away, Frances was relocated to a nursing facility as she had been battling Alzheimer’s disease. One afternoon, Kristina visited the nursing facility and was cautioned that Frances hardly spoke. When Frances saw Kristina, she asked her, “shall we go to England?”

Since then, Kristina has been dedicated to working with seniors treating each of her residents like surrogate grandparents.

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Alma Gomez

Vibrant Life Director

Senior care has been Alma’s passion from a young age and can be attributed to her close relationship with her maternal grandmother. In 2001, Alma began working as a private in-home caregiver while still in school to become a certified nursing assistant. In 2008, Alma began working in assisted living as a lead caregiver and was quickly identified for her compassion and was asked to pilot a small group activity program designed for residents with memory impairment. Alma has been at the Groves of Tustin since 2015.

Alma is an avid fan of the Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Lakers, San Francisco 49ers and the Anaheim Ducks.

Alma loves to promote meaningful programs to her residents. One of her favorite things is to dance, so when there is entertainment you’ll find Alma dancing with the residents.

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Renee Zuckerberg

Director of Sales and Marketing

For Renee, she states that it has been an honor to have worked in Senior Living for the past 17 years. Renee began her career in Rancho Mirage, CA. Stating, “Living there for any period of time, one thing you learn is patience: people and life move a little slower”. Renee recalls, “My mom had a home in Palm Springs and loved to entertain and I usually made the invitee list! She would say “the more the merrier”, as a result she had lots of parties and lots of seniors as guests .I would listen to their stories, most were hilarious and others sad. I admired each one of them for everything they had overcome and the wisdom they shared with me”. Little did Renee know at the time that those experiences would be her introduction to Senior Living. Renee states, “Once I was in my first community I knew that I was doing the job I was meant to do…..helping seniors and their families"

Renee states, It has been my privilege to learn so much history from “living history books” my residents. They have shared their stories of living from a time of Stagecoaches to seeing the first man land on the moon! The wisdom of their years is only second to the compassion they have for others. When other people go to work in offices filled with office equipment and computers it’s very different than when I go to work, I come to a “living library” with all different types of books!!!

For Renee, she states that it has been an honor to have worked in Senior Living for the past 17 years. Renee began her career in Rancho Mirage, CA. Stating, “Living there for any period of time, one thing you learn is patience: people and life move a little slower”. Renee recalls, “My mom had a home in Palm Springs and loved to entertain and I usually made the invitee list! She would say “the more the merrier”, as a result she had lots of parties and lots of seniors as guests .I would listen to their stories, most were hilarious and others sad. I admired each one of them for everything they had overcome and the wisdom they shared with me”. Little did Renee know at the time that those experiences would be her introduction to Senior Living. Renee states, “Once I was in my first community I knew that I was doing the job I was meant to do…..helping seniors and their families"

Renee states, It has been my privilege to learn so much history from “living history books” my residents. They have shared their stories of living from a time of Stagecoaches to seeing the first man land on the moon! The wisdom of their years is only second to the compassion they have for others. When other people go to work in offices filled with office equipment and computers it’s very different than when I go to work, I come to a “living library” with all different types of books!!!

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Zarah Pangilinan, LVN

LVN Health Services Director

Zarah began her journey caring for seniors in 2003 when she volunteered to help at a Skilled Nursing Facility working with frail seniors in a healthcare setting. Realizing her passion for working with seniors, Zarah began her career in assisted living working as a caregiver while working towards her degree in nursing. In 2010, Zarah graduated with her LVN license from Pacific College in Costa Mesa.

After receiving her license, Zarah began working in skilled nursing where she realized her passion for working with seniors with Alzheimer’s and related dementia’s and transferred into a director role in a memory care community.

Zarah receives fulfillment in her daily interactions with her residents, knowing that she has in some small way given back to help residents continue to live a purposeful life.

As part of her daily interactions with residents, Zarah enjoys listening to residents reminisce about life stories. It is through their stories that Zarah feels a deeper connection to her residents to help them manage their daily lives.

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German Favila Sosa

Maintenance Director

German was born and raised in Mexico City, where he attended Politenico Nacional where he studied to become and engineer. Upon immigrating to the United States, German began working in the hotel hospitality industry in their maintenance department.

Over the years, German has worked in many different maintenance settings, and for the last sixteen years in assisted living maintenance. German believes in the importance of working in a field that you are passionate about and believes that he has found his calling in working with seniors. German’s strives daily to provide unparalled service and to bring a smile to all his residents.

As a single dad, German enjoys cooking and spending time with his beautiful granddaughter.

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Mirella Manjarrez

Business Office Director

Mirella Manjarrez has served as The Groves Business Office Director for the last 5 years. Mirella is a 20+ year assisted living veteran who brings a wealth of experience, having served as a Med Room Supervisor, Concierge, Activity Director and Memory Care Director in previous roles.

As the Business Office Director, Mirella is responsible for processing accounts receivable and accounts payable. She also supports the human resources aspect of the business by managing employee files, ensuring compliance with labor laws and company policies. Mirella also processes and provides follow up on workers compensation claims in the community.

Mirella enjoys working with the residents, families and staff and provides solutions to challenges in a kind and professional manner.

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Lili Aranda Luevano

Director of Sales and Marketing

Lili’s journey and love to help others was sparked by her Paternal Grandmother who was diagnosed with Dementia during her teen years. Her grandmother’s passing triggered her desire to be a nurse while in high school. Signing up for several nursing courses through an ROP program, Lili soon discovered that nursing wasn’t a fit for her after all. However, during that time, Lili noticed she was drawn to helping seniors in need-trying to help them in any way that she could. In 2006 her journey began as she started working in a Senior Living Community. She’s truly valued the experiences with each resident and family member who has crossed her path, each sharing the most interesting stories and experiences of their life. Lili states, “It has always been an honor to serve”.

When not at work, Lili loves being in in the outdoors, exploring the world through solo travel, hiking, backpacking and yoga. She enjoys listening to people and learning on a daily bases. She finds that each day is a blessing.

Lili’s journey and love to help others was sparked by her Paternal Grandmother who was diagnosed with Dementia during her teen years. Her grandmother’s passing triggered her desire to be a nurse while in high school. Signing up for several nursing courses through an ROP program, Lili soon discovered that nursing wasn’t a fit for her after all. However, during that time, Lili noticed she was drawn to helping seniors in need-trying to help them in any way that she could. In 2006 her journey began as she started working in a Senior Living Community. She’s truly valued the experiences with each resident and family member who has crossed her path, each sharing the most interesting stories and experiences of their life. Lili states, “It has always been an honor to serve”.

When not at work, Lili loves being in in the outdoors, exploring the world through solo travel, hiking, backpacking and yoga. She enjoys listening to people and learning on a daily bases. She finds that each day is a blessing.

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Testimonials

“Every so often at the dinner table, we look at each other and say “We really are so lucky to be here!” “Why?” , I asked myself. My personal reason’s top the list with the “warm care” attitude that pervades. Staff members at every level seem to want to really please me-to help me have a good day, to correct what isn’t right, to relieve my anxiety however they can. Then there’s the attention to cleanliness. Weekly laundry and cleaning are a blessing. And the dining room with its nice linen spoils me with its desire to give me the food I really want. Can you believe tiramisu? Lamb chops? The signature salad? Other regular services which are so helpful to me are the bus transportation to the doctor and church. And there isn’t enough time for the myriad of card games, special events, entertainers, art and craft classes planned by our professional activities director. So thank you and keep groovy!” - Jane Meyer, resident since 2007
“I want to express to you my total satisfaction with your care of my beautiful wife, Lyn, who, although having late stage Alzheimer’s, seems to be thriving. I can’t express to you my total admiration and love of everyone who is involved with her on a daily basis. I always look forward to seeing Lyn, along with all of you, each day, when I come to visit, and you have truly become my family. The girls in Memory Care are saintly, beautiful and caring individuals. I admire Zarah and she is a very special leader who makes me feel fortunate that Lyn is under her supervision. All in all, I appreciate what you do to make my sweetheart’s life as normal as possible during this stage of her disease. I also enjoy the cheerfulness and caring that exists each day between patients and caregivers” - Dennis Wills, husband of resident Lyn
“If the need arises again, The Groves of Tustin will be my first call. She absolutely enjoyed her time and the care she received. You were a life saver to us all.” - Dan Peterson, who’s mom stayed here for a short term respite
“The care and the staff at The Groves are superior. They couldn’t have been more caring with my mom and seeing that her needs were met. When my mom first came in there, staff would come in and make her feel comfortable and integrated into the place. She was introduced to other seniors there, they had a lot of activities, and the medical staff really saw to her needs. They had all kinds of classes; my mother does oil painting, and she was able to complete two paintings in the six weeks she was there. They really encourage and support the people that were there. They had get-togethers in the afternoon in the courtyard, art classes to keep their minds active, and once a month they had outside people come in to entertain them. They had a movie room and a library. The thing that I felt was most interesting was they had a lounge area with a TV and the whole time my mom was there, I never saw anybody in that room sitting there watching TV which I think was significant. The maintenance and up-keep was superior. They had someone come in once a day who would make the bed, tidy up the room, and take out the trash. Once a week they had someone who would do the extra cleaning, clean the bathroom, and do her laundry. The food was unbelievably good; the chef is award winning, he took the proportions and the type of food that seniors can eat completely into consideration and came out to talk to them. I can’t speak highly enough of them.” - Bonnie
“Thank you for all your hard work, you are much appreciated” - Karen, resident since 2014
“Michael loves the positive energy, attention, and good food (Joan, this means you!!) and I am more relaxed because I know he’s in good hands while he heals. Thank you for being there for both of us!” - Kathleen Klein
“I really appreciate the excellent food consistently provided to us." - Gordon Mitchell, resident since 2014
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