New Executive Director at Orchard Valley at WIlbraham Brings Hospitality Experience to Senior Care

November 29, 2018

Gerontologist Catherine Williamson Is Committed to Elevating Human Connection

It wasn’t long after Catherine Williamson made the move to a career in senior care that she experienced the member of a resident’s family crying tears of joy on her shoulder. That’s when she knew she was in a place where she could impact lives in a way that enriched her own. Williamson now serves as executive director for Orchard Valley at Wilbraham, a Benchmark assisted living and memory care community in Wilbraham, Mass., and feels grateful to be with an organization that believes in the power of human connection to transform lives. Benchmark ( is a leading provider of senior living services in the Northeast.

“I consider myself to be a servant leader,” says Williamson. “Like Benchmark, I am committed to elevating human connection and keeping our residents, family members and associates connected to what matters most in their lives. When we are all connected, we are truly better together!”

Before moving into the senior care field, Williamson had a long career in hospitality, managing world-class spas for hotels, including Four Seasons and The Ritz-Carlton. She holds a master’s degree in gerontology from the University of Massachusetts Boston and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Howard University. In her spare time, she has volunteered as a SHINE (Serving Health Information Needs of Elders) counselor for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, educating Medicare beneficiaries about their benefits. She also formerly hosted a lifestyle television show, Senior Views, for the Enfield, Conn., Commission on Aging. Williamson and her son, Spencer, 8, live in Springfield.

“Catherine not only shares our Benchmark vision and values but also understands how to blend superior senior care with our unique brand of hospitality. I know she will create the lifestyle Wilbraham seniors want,” says Lara Eldridge, regional director of operations for Benchmark. “We are fortunate to have her expertise and knowledge and are confident she will be a huge asset to our families.” 

Orchard Valley at Wilbraham is the area’s leading assisted living and memory care community and is supported by an experienced staff and Benchmark’s effective, award-winning Mind and Memory approach. Individualized care enables seniors to maintain their independence for as long as possible. A robust activities program fosters engagement and social interaction while a host of convenient on-site amenities provides peace-of-mind. 

About Benchmark
Based in Waltham, Mass., Benchmark is a leading provider of senior housing in the Northeast. With 6,300 associates and 58 communities, Benchmark has assets under management of over $2.5 billion. Founded in 1997 by Tom Grape, Benchmark offers independent living, assisted living, Alzheimer’s care and skilled nursing in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. The organization this year was selected by FORTUNE magazine for its inaugural 2018 Best Workplaces for Aging Services list, taking the number 16 spot on the list of top 40 aging services companies and ranking number three among companies with more than 40 communities. Benchmark is one of only six companies named to The Boston Globe Top Places to Work list every year of the 11 years it has been published. And it has been consistently recognized by Boston Business Journal, Hartford Courant and Hartford Business Journal as a top workplace, and by the Boston Business Journal, Providence Business News and Hartford Business Journal as one of the healthiest employers. Click here for more information.

Press Contact: Carol Arnold, Arnold Communications,, (603) 502-0469. 

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