Ecumen Leadership Team Members
Kathryn Roberts President and CEO
Kathryn Roberts was named president and CEO of Ecumen in 2003. In that time, she has led the Shoreview-based non-profit company’s transformation from being a nursing home provider to a diversified senior housing and services company working to shape the future of aging and living.
Under her leadership, Ecumen has become known for innovation, bringing new empowering technologies to seniors and their families; developing initiatives such as "Awakenings," which is reducing the use of antipsychotic medications among people with Alzheimer's; expanding housing options to new markets, creating a national senior housing development business; and shaping a workplace culture that has led to Ecumen being named 7 straight years as one of the "Best Places to Work" by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.
Kathryn has a distinguished career in public service and is one of the few people to be appointed to leadership positions by a Democratic, Republican and Independent Governor. The Minneapolis Star Tribune once called her "state government's #1 management doctor." She led the transformation of several Minnesota state agencies, including the Minnesota Zoo, which she was appointed to lead at age 34.
Kathryn, who had no zoo experience, became the country’s first woman to lead a major zoo. Through entrepreneurial approaches, the zoo’s attendance and revenues reached all-time highs. One of several innovative partnerships that occurred under her leadership was the creation of the only environmental studies high school located within a zoo.
As chairwoman of Minnesota’s professional sports agency, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, she led efforts to sue Major League Baseball and successfully stop contraction of the Minnesota Twins.
In 2008, Kathryn was appointed by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty to a five-year term as chair of the Minnesota Veterans Health Care Advisory Council. She also served on the Governor’s Veterans Long-Term Care Advisory Commission.
She was recognized by the University of Minnesota’s College of Education as one of its "100 Distinguished Alumni" for the College's first 100 years. She also was named in 2008 as one of the Twin Cities’ "Best Brains" by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine. Kathryn serves on the boards of LeadingAge in Washington, D.C., Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, and VocalEssence in Minneapolis.
Prior to joining Ecumen, Kathryn served as vice president of the Minneapolis Foundation, where she administered a $30 million annual grant program. Kathryn earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, her M.S. in Special Education from Mankato State University and her Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Minnesota.
Dennis Johnson Sr. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Dennis leads Ecumen’s accounting operations, financial budgeting, planning and reporting, and investment management. Before joining Ecumen, he was vice president and controller of International Multifoods, a multi-national Fortune 500 company.
As a member of International Multifoods’ senior leadership team, Dennis oversaw International Multifoods’ Securities and Exchange Commission financial reporting, internal management financial reporting, planning and budgeting, financial due diligence for acquisitions, corporate tax planning, and corporate financial policies and procedures.
Dennis helped negotiate and structure a number of major transactions, including the acquisition of the $400 million Pillsbury and related brands business from General Mills in 2001.
Dennis is a graduate of the University of South Dakota, where he received a B.S. in Accounting.
Steve Ordahl Senior Vice President of Business and Fund Development
Steve has guided a number of senior housing communities development and repositioning efforts and led the largest housing development expansion in Ecumen history. He has more than 30 years experience as a leader in business, philanthropy, government and the military. Before joining Ecumen in 2003, he was chief executive officer of two major entertainment venues, the Texas Aquarium, Corpus Christi, Texas, and Underwater Adventures at the Mall of America. At the Minnesota Zoo, he led business and fund development efforts, including development of the Zoo’s IMAX Theater, Discovery Bay and the popular Amphitheater Concert Series. Steve also served more than 28 years in the United States Army and Army Reserve, holding a variety of command and senior staff positions.
Larry Jorgensen Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Larry leads Ecumen’s information technology (IT) function, existing IT investment and assures that Ecumen’s technology infrastructure supports our operations and growth.
Larry joined Ecumen from Green Tree Servicing (formerly known as Conseco Finance), where he served as vice president of application development and support. He has vast experience helping both small and large businesses overcome IT challenges and realize new opportunities. At Green Tree, he was responsible for the organization’s technology strategy and technology services that supported corporate and divisional operating groups.
Larry received his B.A. in organizational management and communications from Concordia College in Saint Paul.
Robin Dunbar Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Strategic Alignment
Robin leads Ecumen’s human resources practice and is responsible for aligning Ecumen’s strategic initiatives. She leads Ecumen’s annual planning process to fulfill the goals of our 5-year strategic plan and works closely with other members of senior leadership to continually challenge the status quo and move our vision forward.
People are at the core of innovation, and her leadership is key to making Ecumen a great place to work by attracting, developing and retaining top talent. During Robin’s leadership tenure, Ecumen has been recognized seven times by the Minneapolis - St. Paul Business Journal as a Best Place to Work and also has been recognized as a top workplace by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Monthly Magazine.
Robin joined Ecumen from Safetran Systems, where she served as head of human resources. She has a diverse generalist background providing human resources strategic support to national companies. At Safetran, she was responsible for developing corporate human resources practices and delivering HR consultation to their United States and Canadian divisions.
Robin received her B.A. in human resource management from St. Thomas University.
Shelley Kendrick, Vice President of Operations
Shelley brings extensive leadership and operations experience to her role as Ecumen's new Vice President of Operations. Shelley leads a team of Regional Directors in both Housing and Care Center/Campus communities, where she oversees the operations, strategic development, financial performance, quality, and product innovation.
Prior to joining Ecumen as Vice President of Housing in January 2012, Shelley was the Campus Administrator at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Minneapolis. In that role, Shelley was responsible for leading campus operations, including a skilled nursing care center, memory care, and domicillary care for the more independent veterans. Serving our community's most vulnerable veterans was a humbling and rewarding mission for Shelley.
Prior to joining the Minneapolis Veterans Home, Shelley served in Executive Director positions for 15 years, leading the operations of both small and large health care facilities in Ohio and Minnesota. Shelley began her career in human resources, soon discovering a passion for health care operations.
Shelley received her Bachelor of Science Degree in English Language and Literature from Eastern Michigan University and achieved a Master's Degree in Nonprofit Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame.
Eric Schubert Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
Eric Schubert leads Ecumen's communications, branding and public affairs strategies. Before joining Ecumen, he was a member of the leadership team of the Minneapolis-based public affairs firm Himle Horner. Earlier in his career he worked in marketing communications with the public relations firms Manning, Selvage & Lee in Atlanta and Weber Shandwick in Minneapolis.
He is a past recipient of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal's "40 Under 40" award and the Citizens League's Civic Leadership Award. In addition to contributing to Ecumen's Changing Aging blog, he authors a blog for the Minneapolis Star Tribune on aging and innovation. Eric received his B.A. in English from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., and was a policy fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
Julie MurrayVice President of Sales, Marketing & New Ventures
With 14 years of senior housing experience, Julie has been a valued member of Ecumen's Business Development team for the past five years and brings a wealth of real estate development, senior housing sales and marketing, and market research experience to her new role.
Julie joined Ecumen as Director Real Estate Development in 2007 and guided the development of new Ecumen housing in Apple Valley and Maplewood, both winners of the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal's "Best in Real Estate" award for senior housing communities.
Prior to joining Ecumen, Julie worked for Greystone Communities, Inc. in Dallas, Texas where she was responsible for the sales and marketing of multiple entry-fee continuing care retirement communities as a Regional Director of Sales and Marketing. Julie is a graduate of Texas Tech University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management.