After decades creating the current Gardant Management Solution’s legacy, on April 1, 2023, Rod Burkett transitioned from CEO to Board Chairman, turning over the reins of day-to-day management to successors within the leadership team. The succession strategy is an emerging shared leadership scenario in which Gardant Management Solution’s previous Chief Operating Officer, Julie Simpkins, and previous Chief Financial Officer, Greg Echols, are collaborating to shift-up into a shared Co-Presidency role. “I envision that this action will provide our company and our hundreds of employees with continuity and forward momentum, along with a new energy they will bring to this movement,” states Rod Burkett.
Julie Simpkins expands her role as Co-President. Julie oversees all business development, engagement, and professional leadership development. A lifelong learner, she continually seeks out trends and insights. Julie is sought out by clients needing a new and strategic perspective on growth initiatives and marketing in the service-enriched senior housing sector. She works with purpose to help clients achieve their goals and thrives when helping others become more productive.
Proven in the industry with nearly 30 years of experience in market rate and affordable senior housing, Julie is very involved. Professionally, she was appointed to the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) Board of Directors and serves on the finance and policy committee and the NCAL State Leader Chair. She serves on the Indiana Center for Assisted Living Advisory Council and the Medicaid Waiver Sub-committee. She also is on the Indiana Health Care Association/Indiana Centers for Assisted Living (ICHA/INCAL) Board of Directors and is the Indiana State Leader for NCAL.
“I enjoy working alongside other senior living leaders in an effort to impact and influence positive change and provide access to those in need of assisted living services.” said Simpkins.
Greg Echols joins Julie Simpkins as Co-President at Gardant. Greg brings more than 30 years of experience in accounting, financial management, real estate development, and the senior housing and care sector. Greg oversees Gardant’s Captive program which is an insurance company owned and operated for the purpose of risk & loss protection benefiting the company and its affiliates. It is a form of self-insurance that can create tax savings, more affordable coverage, and more control over an insurance policy. In 2022, Greg and his team established an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) to help Gardant employees achieve wealth for retirement. With an ESOP, employees accumulate ownership in the form of stock in Gardant Management Solutions without investing any of their own money. Greg provides a fresh set of eyes to enhance financial and accounting processes for the company and will lead our efforts to continue positioning Gardant for financial stability and success.
Overall, the Co-President structure is beneficial for a Mission-driven and Mission-minded organization that sees the benefits in shared responsibility, shared accountability, complementary skills, better decision making, improved communication and smooth succession planning leading to value to all stakeholders and vitality to all residents and staff.
Co-Presidency is unique and has several benefits. The shared responsibility and accountability reduce the stress and pressure on one person and ensures that decisions are made collaboratively. Co-Presidents can bring complementary skills to the table, which is beneficial to the organization. There is better decision making when there are two Co-Presidents, decision is made after considering multiple perspectives. The improved communication helps commit to communicate effectively to ensure that they are aligned around the Mission of the organization. Also, smoother succession planning with two Co-Presidents the organization is better equipped to handle succession planning.