Roland Gandy

Executive Director

Roland Gandy

Roland Gandy has been the Executive Director since July 2014. He used to drive by this community for years as he commuted to other jobs and always thought it would be nice to work here one day. So Roland is beyond elated to be the ED for Mission Hills at Rancho Mirage Assisted Living & Memory Care.

Roland’s father was a physician, so he knew from a very young age that he was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps in the healthcare field. Roland grew up in Toledo, Ohio and decided to move west (following the sunshine). He attended the University of Arizona and received his degree in Hospital Administration.

After college, Roland decided to move further west to California. During his career, he has been involved in many different facets of healthcare, including: skilled nursing, rehabilitation and durable equipment.

Roland lives in Rancho Mirage with his wife and his ten year old son. He enjoys playing golf and watching his son’s soccer, basketball, flag football games, and all that goes along with raising an active young boy. Roland’s family is involved in numerous community events. They lead a simple but very rewarding life.

Along with some fun and laughter, Roland is sincerely vested in offering a safe and good quality of life to the wonderful residents at Mission Hills. Roland enjoys working with a caring staff, the best he has had in his 35-year career.

Cheree Escandel

Business Office Director


Cheree Escandel is our Business Office Director. She has worked for Integral Senior Living (ISL) for 10 years. Cheree has worked at several of ISL’s communities and she says that Mission Hills, is one of her favorites. It’s located in the desert where the sun is always shining!

That being said, Cheree loves the river. Whenever she has some free time, you can find Cheree and her beautiful family at the river. Cheree has 2 boys and a husband who are very outgoing. They enjoy spending time in the sun whether it be watching the boys play baseball or camping and riding dirt bikes or relaxing at the river.

Roland Bieri

Culinary Services Director

Chef Roland Bieri

Roland Bieri is the Culinary Services Director, and an excellent chef! He was born in Lucerne, Switzerland. Roland is the 2nd oldest out of 7 children. He was schooled at the Hotel Astoria Chef Apprenticeship in Lucerne. Roland was raised Catholic, completed mandatory Swiss military service, and worked in Bern & Geneva Switzerland before moving to the United States in 1974.

Redwood City was Roland’s first stop (Restaurant L’Auberge). He then moved to Big Sur to open Hotel Ventana with Chef Gerard Moser. After that, he was wooed to the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco for 4 Years as
Specialty Chef at Hugo’s Ponte Doro (Regency’s signature Restaurant ). During this time, Roland was also a Banquet Chef in the Bay area.

Beautiful Southern California became Roland’s home in 1979. His 1979 – 1983 career in the desert includes: Executive Chef, Rancho Las Palmas Country Club, Desert Island Country Club, Private Chef, La Mancha in Palm Springs.

In 1983, Roland launched Gourmet Carrousel Catering business. In addition, he has taught many private cooking classes, has been a traveling & demo chef and was the Food Stylist for Palm Springs Life Magazine for 25 years. Roland’s senior living experience includes: Atria Hacienda: Executive Chef for 4 years, and now at Mission Hills at Rancho Mirage, since July 2014.

Roland speaks Swiss, German, French, English some kitchen Spanish.  He has been married to his wife Pam for 33 years.  He and Pam became instant parents in 1988 by adopting a beautiful baby daughter Aimee.

Roland loves Mission Hills at Rancho Mirage community…both the residents and the employees. He says it is a very comfortable and friendly atmosphere. And he especially loves the community dog, ‘BEAR’. With Roland’s motto of, “LIFE’S TOO SHORT TO DRINK CHEAP CHAMPAGNE”, he hopes to enhance the lives of all the residents and bring them pleasure and happiness!

Chardonnay Blue, LVN

Assisted Living Director

Chardonnay Blue

I have been a nurse for going on 5 years now. I was born and raised in Oceanside, California. I have an assisted living background, but a stronger skilled nursing background. My grandfather passed away from cancer when i was 11 years old, and was receiving hospice services at the time. He lived with us until he passed, and my interactions, as well as observations, of the nurses who came to check on him sparked my interest in this field. Mission hills has some of the best residents I have ever come across. I got so lucky to inherit such wonderful people, and their families are just as amazing! I really do love the geriatric population, and feel like if we just listen, they can teach us so much!

Jennifer Morton

Director of Sales and Marketing

Jennifer Morton

Jennifer is the Director of Sales and Marketing. She has been with Mission Hills for 3 years. During that time, she has had three other positions (Marketing Assistant, Assisted Living Activity Director and Generations Activities Coordinator).

Raised by her grandparents on a farm in central Illinois, Jennifer has always had a passion for the elderly, and knew she would one day work with them in some capacity. She earned her B.S. in Agricultural Communications at the University of Illinois and then her M.S. in Marketing Communications. Jennifer’s career has kept her moving around from Chicago to California to North Carolina and back to California. And her career has been varied. Some of Jennifer’s past positions include: Corporate Trainer for an international staffing firm, GM for an international advertising agency, Marketing Communications Director for a national home improvement chain and Cadillac Senior Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Jennifer has none of her own children, but is extremely close to her nieces, Ashley and Shelby. She also has one fur baby, a 12-year-old whippet, Glenna. Jennifer enjoys connecting with residents and their families and doing everything she can to raise the bar of excellence at Mission Hills.

Angelina Leyva

Generations Program Director

Angelina Leyva

I have worked with the geriatric population for 10 years. I came straight out of high school, and jumped right in. I was born and raised in the valley, and am what you would refer to as a “desert rat”. I obtained my CNA certification in San Bernardino in 2007. I moved away to Pennsylvania shortly after, to pursue my nursing career. I have been with mission hills since April of 2014 and I thoroughly enjoy working with the dementia population. I wholeheartedly love getting into their worlds. Through my interactions with dementia residents I realize that it is definitely my calling.

Shannon Sawicki

Generations Activities Coordinator

Shannon Sawicki

Shannon and her husband, Brian moved to the Coachella Valley from The Central Coast on New Year’s Day 2017. After living and working in the Inland Empire for over two decades, she needed a change. But, after missing family and friends, they decided to relocate and call Coachella Valley Home.

Being influenced by her late Grandmother, who lived by the mantra “Always leave people and places better than you found them”, Shannon was able to accomplish a few things that were important to her. And the adventure began.

Shannon attended Chaffey College and received Gerontology Certification, wrote recreational programs for those with chronic mental illnesses for ten years, managed an Alzheimer’s Day Care that pioneered in the holistic approach to caring for seniors living with dementia. Encouraged to become a Senior Fitness Specialist with American Council on Exercise, Shannon was able to obtain multiple fitness certifications with the concentration of seniors and special populations. She also held a position as Lifestyle and Fitness Coach for a Senior Living Community for 14 years. That lead Shannon to a start an In-Home Senior Fitness business on the Central Coast. Shannon also had the opportunity to work for California Workforce Development as a Vocational Instructor and Career Coach for high-risk young adults.

In her spare time, she enjoys the arts, spending time with her family and volunteering, which she has been doing since she was six years old.

Now Shannon is paying homage to one of the most amazing women she has ever known in her life, “If you can brighten a person’s day, you have done a good thing.

Tommy Towns

Maintenance Director


Tommy was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He moved to Colorado and finished high school. After graduation, Tommy went in to the Navy.

Tommy has been married to his lovely wife, Tracy, for 33 years. Together, they have three children: Austin, Courtney and Jonathan. They also have five grandchildren who live in Colorado.

A job transfer for Tracy brought them to Palm Springs in 2016. Tracy is the HR Director for Augustine Casino. Tommy has a great deal of experience and brings that to his position here at Mission Hills.

Originally from Los Angeles, Ricardo has been a Lakers fan and a Dodgers fan.  Ricardo has lived here in the desert since 1996 and he loves it here.

In his spare time, Ricardo enjoys boating and camping with the family.  They normally visit the river two or four times a year and they have a great time.  Ricardo just took up Golfing and cycling and is enjoying every minute.

Ricardo is very happy to be part of the Mission Hills Family and is looking forward in meeting and assisting everyone as much as possible.

Dennis Holloway

Vibrant Life Director

Dennis Holloway

On June 1, 2015 Dennis started as the Assisted Living Activity Director. Dennis has been employed at Mission Hills for two years, most recently as the Assistant Activity Director. He is excited about his new position as he really enjoys having fun with the residents.

Dennis has a beautiful wife, Aida, four children and seven grandchildren. He loves spending his time off with the whole family, going on picnics and other family events.

Vanesa Lua

Sales & Marketing Assistant

Vanesa Lua

Vanesa is the Sales & Marketing Assistant. She was born and raised in the desert and graduated from Cathedral City High School. Vanesa has been with Mission Hills for almost a year and is very passionate in assisting our residents with their new journey at Mission Hills.

She is a mother of a teenage son, who is very active in his school. Vanesa enjoys cheering her son at the sidelines of his high school football games and track meets. Vanesa’s past opportunities include: Home Health Administrator, Behavior Health and Crisis Response. She is also part of a homeless outreach team with her church.

Vanesa enjoys working with and helping others in any way she is able to. On her free time she spends time with family, friends, at church and mini vacations to the beach.