Ecumen Names Shelley Kendrick as New President and CEO

Ecumen, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit senior housing and services providers, has named Shelley Kendrick as CEO and president, effective Feb. 4.

Kendrick joined Ecumen in 2012 as vice president of operations and currently is COO. She succeeds Kathryn Roberts, who has been CEO since 2003. Roberts indicated to Ecumen’s board last year that she intended to step down.

Based just north of Minneapolis in Shoreview, Minnesota, Ecumen’s portfolio encompasses 40 communities across eight states. Formerly focused on traditional nursing home care, Ecumen has transformed over the last 15 years into a diversified company with a mix of independent living, subsidized housing and campus-based offerings, as well as home health and hospice businesses. Under Roberts’ tenure, the company’s revenue doubled and is anticipated to hit $147 million for 2018.

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As a member of the executive team, Kendrick has been part of this success story and will continue to lead the company in its current direction, she told Senior Housing News.

“I’ve been part of the strategic planning process over the years and we’re going to be staying the course,” she said. “I’m going to listen to all Ecumen employees and determine our future plans as needed with their help.”

Her top priorities are the company’s people and the quality of its services, she added. Ecumen’s high-quality workforce is a competitive differentiator, she believes, and maintaining this edge in labor will be a top challenge as well as a key focus going forward.

To accomplish this, Kendrick is dedicated to making sure all employees have the resources and training they need, and she’s also exploring technology to provide further support.

Other senior housing and care companies have also diversified their offerings, in part because health systems and other referral sources are increasingly interested in working with partners who have the scale and capabilities to help manage large populations of their patients. But for Ecumen, the strategy is primarily a response to consumer demand.

“Our customers are driving our strategies, they’re asking for these different and innovative solutions to housing,” Kendrick said.

Co-op housing is among these innovative solutions. Ecumen has created the Zvago brand of independent living, co-operative housing and currently has four of these communities under construction. These are the only building projects ongoing at the moment, Kendrick said.

Once Kendrick assumes the CEO role, Roberts will remain on board with Ecumen part-time as CEO Emeritus, with a focus on philanthropic development and thought leadership to the industry at large. Roberts is a former board chair of provider association LeadingAge.

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