VERSANT LEADERSHIP TEAM
With 20 years working as a team, Versant has maintained its position as the leader in competency-based assessment and tracking. Today, the leadership team is formed by a diverse group of individuals from across the country with unique expertise in healthcare, aeronautics, software engineering, business development, and customer support. Together, the Versant team is working to fundamentally transform healthcare by helping health systems increase workforce performance. To do this, they work as a team to ensure clients achieve their operational and financial goals.
Larissa A. Africa, MBA, RN, FAAN
PRESIDENT & CEO
Larissa Africa is a visionary healthcare leader who transforms healthcare by empowering leaders to achieve quality outcomes through innovative workforce development. She has spent two decades implementing, managing, and leading strategies to develop nursing organizations.
Ms. Africa is responsible for Versant’s strategic and operational leadership successfully developing a competency-based nurse residency program (NRP), one that is considered a gold standard in the industry. As a pioneer in the transition to practice space, she deployed a competency-based model that integrates and standardizes nursing workforce development across the entire healthcare continuum, addressing high-demand areas such as long-term care and home health including advanced practice nursing. She has led the roll-out and sustained implementation of this evidence-based NRP at healthcare organizations nationally.
Ms. Africa’s collective body of work continues to change the landscape of how healthcare organizations integrate and sustain workforce retention and practice solutions. She is an author of numerous highly recognized publications, book chapters, a national and international speaker. As a recognition of her work, Ms. Africa was featured and interviewed by Nurse Leader, the official journal of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership, in their February 2021 issue as the Nurse Leader to Watch, was inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing in 2021 and was awarded an outstanding alumna award from Mount. St. Mary’s University for her contributions in the nursing profession. Ms. Africa serves in several advisory boards including the AONL Foundation, Rutger’s University Nurse Practitioner Advisory Group and the chair of AONL’s Corporate Advisory Council.
Larissa holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Mount St. Mary’s University, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration: Health Care Management from University of Phoenix, and an Executive Women in Leadership certificate through Cornell University
Michael L. Carman, JD, MBA, AB, FACHE
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, MEMBER
After more than 35 years as an executive and advisor in the aerospace, health care, pharmaceutical, automation, and process industries, Michael “Mike” L. Carman left the corporate world behind to focus on assisting non-profit organizations. After crossing paths with Versant® through his work at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), he would go on to write the original business plan that provided the pathway to making the CHLA internal residency program available to hospitals nationwide. Serving as an advisor to CHLA’s leadership team on the formation of Versant Advantage, Inc., Mr. Carman served as its pro bono chairman for the first four years before forming Versant Holdings, LLC to continue the Versant mission of enhancing patient safety through developing and sustaining professional nursing organizations.
Mr. Carman previously held roles as President of Invensys Process Systems, and as Vice President and General Manager of several AlliedSignal and Honeywell Subsidiaries, including Avionics and Turbocharging Systems.
Mr. Carman is a graduate of Cornell Law School, the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College, and Bowdoin College. He was inducted as a fellow in the American Colleges of Healthcare Executives in 2022.
Vice-President of Technology, Member
Momchil Penev is an experienced serial entrepreneur with passion for customer success and the goal of creating simple tools that make daunting tasks deceptively simple. Mr. Penev is the original engineer for Versant Voyager since its inception in 2004 and has led the process of re-designing the system to its current capabilities.
He joined his first startup while in High school to develop software for the banking industry to provide services ranging from connectivity between remote branches to complex daily reconciliation processing. While in college, Mr. Penev served as CEO of a rapidly growing international software company for geospatial software that provided services to the Bulgarian government during the national campaign for land restitution. He led the development of the technical team and ensured the delivery of high- quality services that met government standards and exceeded customer expectations.
After immigrating to the United States, Mr. Penev continued the development of my technical and leadership skills, working for a number of consulting and software development organizations. He had the opportunity to work in a series of positions of growing responsibility that allowed him to contribute to and lead projects ranging from satellite communication equipment for National Instruments, to the first Patient kiosk at Kaiser Permanente, large scale reservation systems at Sheraton, to pioneering work in Healthcare introducing the SaaS concept on a national scale. Along with the recognition and the innovation awards, Mr. Penev came the realization that all successful projects have one thing in common – a happy customer whose business was materially impacted by the systems he built.