Walter CoffeY

For over 35 years, Walter has worked with older adults and is an international leader in the culture change movement, with demonstrated experience in transforming organizations to become person-centered. As a Founding Managing Partner of WD International Consulting, Walter is passionate about facilitating the development of individuals and organizations, especially those who want to empower and retain their staff.

Walter’s background includes serving as the President & CEO of LeadingAge Georgia for 18 years. This position included management of the Georgia Institute on Aging, the education arm of LeadingAge, and the Center for Positive Aging, the consumer arm of LeadingAge.

Walter became a certified Eden Alternative Educator in order to engage and certify professionals. Most recently, he and his partner in WD International Consulting were appointed as the International Regional Coordinators for The Eden Alternative SPAIN, where he resides.

Walter continues to hold a faculty position as a part-time instructor with the Gerontology Institute at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Along with his work creating and facilitating professional development and educational programs, Walter is a frequent speaker at state, national, and international conferences.

Walter is an advocate for individuals living with dementia. He served as Vice-Chair of the founding Board of Directors of the national Dementia Action Alliance in order to lead its development and successful first North American Dementia conference driven by individuals living with dementia.

As a gerontologist and thought leader, Walter has provided leadership to various boards, task forces, committees, regulators, legislators, and legislative study groups. He has led the development of programs, regulations and legislation that positively affect the lives of older Americans. He is known as a connector and collaborator who supports the wellbeing of both elders and those working with them.

During his career, he served as the Administrator at Northminster Presbyterian Homes, Director of Assisted Living at Presbyterian Village, Director of Adult Day Services at the Alzheimer’s Association/Georgia Chapter, Assistant Director of the Georgia Council on Aging/GA Department of Human Services, Administrative Director of Georgia Gerontology Society, and in various ministerial positions.

Presentations & Publications

Most recently, Walter presented “Transforming the Culture of Care of Older Adults” and “Person-Centered Care: The Eden Alternative Approach” at the International Conference on Long-Term Care: Foreign Experiences & Challenges for Russia in Moscow, and “Non-Medical Approaches to Improving Quality of Care” and “Person-Centered Care: Solutions to Transforming Your Organization” at the Integrated Systems of Long Term Care Conference in Bucharest, Romania.

He also presented extended workshops, “Person-Centered Care: Solutions to Transform your Organization“ in Madrid and Barcelona Spain. Walter was the facilitator of the “Living Fully with Dementia” track for the 2018 Southern Gerontological Society Conference in the United States. In 2017, he presented “Person-Centered Dementia Care: Living Fully with Dementia” at the Global Ageing Conference in Switzerland.

Publications include:

Other Significant National/International Speaking Engagements:
  • LeadingAge
  • Pioneer Network
  • The Eden Alternative International Conference
  • Meals on Wheels Association of America
  • National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities
  • National Association of Regulatory Administrators
  • National Alzheimer’s Association
  • American Society on Aging
  • American Association of Service Coordinators
  • Master of Public Administration, Gerontology/Non-Profit Management, Georgia State University
  • Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, Georgia State University
  • Master of Music Education/Church Music, Southern Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Master of Arts, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
Professional Certifications Include:
  • Eden Educator, The Eden Alternative International (also Certified Eden Associate and Neighborhood Guide Associate)
  • Certified Association Executive, American Society of Association Executive
  • Certified Trainer in Total Quality Management for Healthcare, American Healthcare Association
  • Certified Retirement Housing Professional, University of North Texas