The Wolff Company made a splash last year by bringing in Niki Leondakis, formerly the CEO of Equinox Fitness and president of Kimpton Hotels, to lead operations of the company’s senior living brand, Revel.
However, Leondakis’ tenure was short; she left Wolff in early 2020 and is now CEO of CorePower Yoga.
Yoga is a personal passion, and the opportunity to lead CorePower — the largest studio chain in the United States — was an opportunity she could not pass up, Leondakis told Senior Housing News.
“The time I spent with the Wolff Company and the Revel Senior Living brand was absolutely wonderful and also highly purpose-driven, and I can’t say enough positive things about the experience I had with the company and the team,” she said. “In the senior living industry, I think there’s incredible potential and deep need to provide [for] the increasing number of seniors looking for a lifestyle experience that matches their current way of living … I think Revel is in a unique position to serve those needs.”
Leondakis played a role in hiring her replacement at Wolff, Danette Opaczewski, who holds the title of executive vice president, resident experience and COO of Revel Communities. Opaczewski also comes to senior living from the hospitality world. She most recently was CFO of Sydell Group, which creates and manages boutique hotels such as NoMad and the LINE. Her resume also includes roles with Denihan Hospitality Group, The James Group and Morgans Hotel Group.
In 2015, Scottsdale, Arizona-based private equity, development and management firm Wolff announced plans to enter the senior living arena. Its Revel brand of high-end independent living communities has grown quickly, with nine locations currently open and several others under development.
Wolff has not been afraid to innovate, including by embracing offsite construction for its senior living projects. At first, the firm was working with Clearwater Living as its operating partner, but brought operations in-house and hired Leondakis to lead that effort.
As a pioneer of the boutique hotel movement, Leondakis spoke about the opportunity for senior living communities to adapt many of the strategies of these hotels in order to create more unique and meaningful experiences for residents.
“It’s about having the courage to say, ‘This is who we are. This is who we’re going to serve,’” she said last spring at SHN’s inaugural BUILD conference. “There’s not an operating model or design theme or design identity or an experience — a lifestyle programming experience — that can be all things to all people.”