Leadership Team

Shelley Kendrick
Shelley Kendrick
President & CEO

Shelley Kendrick became Ecumen President and CEO in 2019, after serving as Ecumen’s Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Operations since 2015.

Shelley has extensive leadership and operations experience in senior housing and services. She joined Ecumen in 2012 and has led the management of the organization’s housing and care center communities, including strategic development, quality of care, operations, community relations, financial performance and innovation. Shelley has also led the ongoing expansion of Ecumen Hospice, which has grown to four regional offices, serving ten times the number of people daily than it did in 2015.

Prior to joining Ecumen, Shelley led the Minneapolis Veteran’s Home, where she advanced the quality of care for Minnesota veterans in need of housing and health care, overseeing a skilled nursing care center and memory care. Previously, she managed operations for several health care facilities in Ohio and Minnesota for more than 15 years.

As a member of the board for LeadingAge Minnesota, she actively advocates for the interests of older adults at the state and federal level and works to improve care across Minnesota. Kendrick has also served on the University of Minnesota’s Health Services Management Advisory Board, encouraging students to choose careers in senior care.

Shelley holds a Masters in Nonprofit Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a B.S. in English Language and Literature from Eastern Michigan University.

Kathryn Roberts
Kathryn Roberts
CEO Emeritus

Kathryn Roberts became CEO Emeritus of Ecumen in 2019, after serving as President and CEO since 2003 and transforming the organization into one of the country’s leading nonprofit providers of diversified senior housing and services. As CEO, Kathryn became an international thought leader on aging, rising to the role of Chair of the National Board of Directors of LeadingAge in 2016 and being named one of the 2017 Top 50 “Influencers in Aging” by Next Avenue.

As CEO Emeritus, Kathryn leads Ecumen Philanthropy and continues her work to create a more age-friendly world as she supports the CEO transition. In early 2018, she informed the board of her decision to step away from day-to-day leadership and work part-time.

Under Kathryn’s leadership, Ecumen has been recognized for its innovation, bringing new empowering technologies to seniors and their families; developing a nationally acclaimed program in dementia care; expanding housing options to new markets and creating a national senior housing development business; and shaping a workplace culture that has led to Ecumen being named 10 times as one of the "Best Places to Work" by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal and has also been named one of Minnesota’s Top Workplaces by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

Kathryn has a distinguished career in public service and leadership 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 prior zoological 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., 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.

 

Melanie (Mel) Sullivan
Melanie (Mel) Sullivan
Senior Vice President, Chief People Officer

Melanie (Mel) Sullivan leads Ecumen’s people functions, including culture, organization development, overarching people strategies and company-wide people policies and practices. Her goal is to celebrate and develop the strengths of each member of Ecumen’s team, building a network of associates that share a passionate commitment to Ecumen’s mission of purpose.

Mel has more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry with expertise in strategy, innovation, organization development and operations strategy, and has been Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer for Twin Cities Orthopedics and St. Croix Orthopaedics. She teaches as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas, in the areas of Health Management and Master of Business Administration – Healthcare.

Mel, who joined Ecumen in 2019, holds a Doctor of Organizational Development degree from the University of St. Thomas, and also has a Masters of Business Administration, a B.A. in Business Administration and Human Resources, and is a Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE).

 

Julie Murray
Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing and Chief Business Development Officer

With more than 17 years of senior housing experience, Julie brings a wealth of real estate development, senior housing sales and marketing, and market research experience to her role of Chief Business Development Officer and Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Julie joined Ecumen as Director of 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. She has led the rapid expansion of Ecumen's partnership with third-party developers to create new sites managed by Ecumen. Most recently, she has been working on new housing models to meet evolving market needs as the first wave of baby boomers are retiring, including the development of Ecumen's Abiitan Mill City, the first senior housing development in downtown Minneapolis. 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.

Bill McGarry, Senior Vice President of Business Transformation
Bill McGarry
Senior Vice President of Business Transformation

Bill McGarry is Ecumen’s Senior Vice President of Business Transformation with leadership responsibility for company-wide information systems and technology. Before joining Ecumen in 2017, Bill was a consultant at Trissential for six years, leading transformational business solutions for clients such as the Minnesota Department of Health, Xcel Energy, Hennepin and Scott Counties, and many others. Prior to that, he held several senior management positions, including CIO at St. Jude Medical, International CIO at Owens Corning, Vice President of Enterprise Applications at Medtronic, Vice President of Business Transformation at Smiths Medical and Global Integration Leader of IT e-Business at General Electric. Bill has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio.

Abby Ludens, VP Talent Strategy
Abby Ludens
Vice President of Talent Strategy

Abby Ludens is the Vice President of Talent Strategy, developing creative initiatives to support the recruitment and retention of exceptional talent across the Ecumen network. Her focus is to match the best talent with the right position in our purposed-focused organization. Abby joined Ecumen in 2018 after a 17-year career at Houston-based Mattress Firm, a 10,000+ employee national retailer, where she was Senior Vice President of Human Capital. She started as a sales manager at Mattress Firm and held several executive jobs with increasing responsibility, building a ground-up talent acquisition program, reducing turnover and improving employee satisfaction. Originally from South Dakota, Abby has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from the University of South Dakota.

 

Amy Korzenowski, Vice President of Operations
Amy Korzenowski
Vice President of Operations

Amy Korzenowski leads operations for Ecumen’s Housing and Nursing Home communities. Amy has extensive experience in strategic management and leadership of total quality of care initiatives in senior services.  She joined Ecumen in 2017 from Prime Therapeutics, a Minneapolis pharmacy benefit management company, where she was Assistant Vice President of Clinical Operations. Previously, she served in multiple operations leadership roles with Extendicare Health Services and Volunteers of America National Services. Amy has a Master of Science degree in Health and Human Service Administration from St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Aging Services from the University of Minnesota. 

Brett Anderson
Vice President of Nursing Services

Brett Anderson leads Ecumen-wide healthcare services with responsibility for ensuring quality, consistency, and regulatory compliance. Brett began his career at Ecumen in 2014 as the Clinical Director at Ecumen Centennial House in Apple Valley after serving as an Ecumen graduate student intern. He was promoted to the role of Regional Nursing Consultant in 2016. Before joining Ecumen, Brett served as an Adjunct Instructor at Minnesota State University in Mankato and as an Instructor at Saint Paul College. He also previously worked for CareLogix Nursing Solutions and Minnesota State University. Brett was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Minnesota State College & Universities System from 2011-2013. He has a Master of Science degree in Nursing Leadership and Management from Metropolitan State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Minnesota State University in Mankato. He is a Registered Nurse, a certified Public Health Nurse and board-certified Nurse Executive.

Dena Meyer
Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Client Relations

Dena leads the Ecumen Sales and Marketing Team in supporting owned and managed business lines, including all Senior Housing, Zvago Cooperative Housing, and Ecumen Hospice as well as leading Ecumen’s third-party relationships. Dena joined Ecumen in 2010 as Director of Sales and Marketing at Seasons at Apple Valley.  In 2013, she became Director of Business Development where one of her first projects was management of the renovation and expansion of the Ecumen Detroit Lakes campus. In 2015, she was promoted to Senior Director of Business Development, and in 2016, she was recognized on the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Business Journal’s “40 under 40” list of business and community leaders as “one of the state’s leading developers and marketers of senior housing.” Dena has been instrumental in launching Ecumen’s Zvago cooperative housing brand and leads the Zvago sales. Additionally, she manages Ecumen’s relationship with Michigan developer Edward Rose and Sons. Dena was one of the first Ecumen leaders to complete the St. Kate’s Masters in Organizational Leadership and is a fellow in the National Leading Age Leadership Academy.

 

Cindy Mowan, Vice President of Finance
Cindy Mowan
Vice President of Finance

Cindy works closely with the CFO to manage all financial matters of Ecumen, including financial reporting, treasury, financial planning and budgeting, capital structure, internal controls, external financial audit, governance and operations and project development. Cindy joined Ecumen in 2006 as controller and was promoted to vice president of finance in 2013. She started her professional career as an auditor with Arthur Anderson in 1985 and then spent almost 20 years working in financial reporting for large, publicaly held companies and specialized in SEC reporting. She graduated from the University of Montana with a BS degree in accounting. She is a Montana native but has lived in Minnesota for the past 28 years.

Carolyn Perron
Carolyn Perron
Vice President of Organizational Development

Carolyn Perron is the Vice President of Organization Development. Her work supports and strengthens Ecumen’s employee education, development, succession planning, talent assessment and performance management. Carolyn joined Ecumen in 2007 as an Interim Human Resource Director and soon became the company’s first Director of Training and Development. In this role, she has launched many innovative and progressive training programs to support brand/culture, emerging leaders, new team members and ongoing development. Carolyn has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources from Metropolitan State University.

 

Sue Sorensen Lee
Sue Sorensen Lee
Vice President of Communications

Sue leads Ecumen’s corporate communications functions, including internal and external communications, social and digital media, brand strategy and issues management. Sue is a highly experienced corporate affairs and communications strategist. Before joining Ecumen in 2018, she operated her own firm, Lee Public Relations, working with clients such as Cargill, Hormel, Best Buy, Polaroid and Coca-Cola to create integrated marketing and communications programs. Previously, she was a Partner and Senior Vice President at Fleishman-Hillard International Communications, one of the country’s top public relations firms, and was Chief Communications Officer for Dayton’s, Hudson’s and Marshall Field’s.

 

Heidi Freisinger
Heidi Freisinger
Vice President of Philanthropy

Heidi Freisinger leads Ecumen’s philanthropic fundraising efforts through major and planned gifts, foundation and corporate giving, government grants and special events. She joined Ecumen in 2019 from the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, where she was Senior Director of Annual Giving. Heidi began her career at the YMCA and held several key jobs, including Director of Events Planning and Business Manager. She has a B.S. degree in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota and brings over 15 years of fundraising experience to Ecumen.