Ecumen’s new Chief People Officer leads employee development


Melanie Sullivan, Director of Healthcare, is focused on developing employees to meet future growth as Senior Vice President and “Director of Human Resources” at Ecumen, the Shoreview-based senior care provider.

Sullivan, whose nickname is Mel, has more than three decades of experience in healthcare strategy, innovation, organizational development and operations.

At Ecumen, Sullivan oversees employee training, organizational development and talent acquisition by leading the organization’s human resources professionals.

Sullivan takes on a newly created role as Ecumen, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit housing and service providers, gears up for a rapid and continued growth in the aging population.

“There are 10,000 people turning 65 every day,” Sullivan said. “There is so much enthusiasm in this area for innovation, strategy and technology and how we are going to build on the people who serve in this area.”

Ecumen, which started out as a relief organization in 1862 in Mankato, offers services such as independent living, assisted living, short-term rehabilitation and long-term care as well as home care and palliative care.

The organization operates in 40 communities in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Idaho, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee.

“Developing our people is key to our success and serving our mission in the future,” said Shelley Kendrick, President and CEO of Ecumen, in a statement. “Mel’s expertise in healthcare is a huge asset to us, as is her commitment to recognizing the individual strengths of team members and developing training to help them perform at their best. “

Sullivan previously worked at Constellation, a collective of medical insurers and health services organizations based in Minneapolis.

She also worked as CEO and COO for Twin Cities Orthopedics and St. Croix Orthopedics.

Sullivan received a Doctorate in Organizational Development Education from the University of St. Thomas and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas.

Q: What led to the creation of your position at Ecumen?

A: I have known (CEO Emeritus of Ecumen) Kathryn Roberts for quite some time and have also known (President & CEO) Shelley Kendrick and know her long-standing focus has been to help overcome obstacles to help the team members do the best job they can and create a culture of purpose, which really resonates with me. So when they talked about creating this role, it was an honor to be a part of this conversation because they are committed to the people of Ecumen.

Q: How will your healthcare experience help you at Ecumen?

A: Understanding health care, knowing how it is delivered, understanding that it is constant change, having done it for a long time in multiple settings and working with great teams, all of these things to me. will help tell the difference as quickly as I possibly can. As caregivers or as the people who serve those people, we can be the stability, we can be that comfort.

Q: What are your priorities as a director of human resources?

A: The biggest compliment an organization can get is when someone recommends someone else to work for it. A year from now, if I could hear this message consistently, not that they are not now, but if I were to hear it as a new person in the organization, it would be a success.

Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His email is [email protected]


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