Firm News


Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, Inc. Grows Team by 20 Percent

Firm expands across all practices as healthcare providers endure significant communications challenges

National healthcare communications consultancy Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, Inc., expanded its full-time team by 20 percent over the course of 2020, President and CEO David Jarrard announced in a year-end recap. With 12 new hires, plus the addition of five of-counsel professionals, the firm’s growth and acquisition by The Chartis Group highlighted the critical communications needs hospitals, health systems and health services companies experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two vice presidents and two associate vice presidents headline the new team members. They are:

Emily Shirden

Emily Shirden
Vice President, National & Academic Health System Practice

Shirden joined Jarrard from Finn Partners, where she led thought leadership, issues management and integrated communications programs with a strong focus on analytics and measurement.

Kristen Nicholson
Vice President of Business Development, Growth Services Team

Nicholson has 20-plus years in the healthcare industry where she has focused on growth and development for an array of companies. Immediately prior to joining Jarrard Inc., she was senior vice president of account management for Shearwater Health.

Teresa Hicks

Teresa Hicks
Associate Vice President, National & Academic Health System Practice

Hicks is a former journalist who most recently led communications strategy for Ballad Health, taking the organization through a groundbreaking health system merger and subsequent integration, helping achieve regulatory approval in two states and marshalling community support.

Dan Schlacter

Dan Schlacter
Associate Vice President, Health Services Practice

Schlacter has more than 15 years of integrated marketing and communications agency experience. His background includes work with clients in health IT, life sciences, healthcare consultancies, provider services, industry organizations and patient advocate groups. Prior to joining Jarrard Inc., Schacter was a senior account supervisor with MP&F Strategic Communications.

“This year, perhaps more than any other, has reinforced the value of clear and strategic communications for healthcare providers of all types,” Jarrard said.

“We know how difficult it has been for executives and Marcom teams as they’ve been faced with relentless pressure and questions from policy-makers, the media and an often-skeptical public, all while working to fulfil their mission of delivering care under extraordinarily challenging circumstances. We have been proud to work alongside so many of these organizations to develop the strategies needed to bring people together as society confronts the coronavirus.”

Expansion occurred across the firm’s National & Academic Health System Practice, Regional Health Systems Practice and Health Services Practice as well as its Growth Services Team and client-focused Digital Services Team.

“Healthcare has changed in so many ways this year, and yet, our experience indicates that the foundational principles and underlying trends have not – they’ve simply accelerated,” said Jarrard. “Our new colleagues bring a wealth of experience in everything from marketing strategy to crisis communications, allowing us to help clients lead and shape the future of healthcare as we emerge from the pandemic and take stock of the many lessons learned.”

Additional New Team Members:

  • Jon Hughes, Senior Managing Advisor, National & Academic Health System Practice. Hughes is a licensed psychotherapist and change management expert who most recently led the workforce health and safety team at Northwestern Medicine.
  • Yolanda James, Senior Managing Advisor, National & Academic Health System Practice. James has a deep background in issue navigation and public relations. A veteran of several hospitals and health systems, she joined Jarrard Inc. following time as director of the Nashville Health Care Council’s Fellows program and PR director for the Tennessee Hospital Association.
  • Kristen Stocker Holder, Managing Advisor, National & Academic Health System Practice. Stocker Holder is a change management specialist who came to Jarrard Inc. from roles in community advocacy.
  • Josh Byrd, Senior Graphic Designer, Growth Services Team. Byrd is a digital communications specialist who brings videos, websites and designs to life for Jarrard Inc. and its clients. Byrd previously served as an art director and director of media production at advertising firm Maris, West & Baker.
  • Will Roberts, Senior Advisor, Regional Practice. Having represented academic medical institutions, community-based healthcare providers and health policy strategists, Roberts brings a strong background in policy and regulation to his work in change management and media relations. Prior to joining Jarrard Inc., he worked in the health practice of DVL Seigenthaler/ Finn Partners.
  • Allie Gross, Advisor, National & Academic Health System Practice. An award-winning journalist, Gross applies her background in media, writing and communications to help steer national and academic health systems through challenging transitions and change management initiatives. Gross most recently worked as a reporter at the Jackson Hole News&Guide.
  • Chelsea Schulz, Advisor, National & Academic Health System Practice. Schulz focuses on strategic planning and content development. She comes to Jarrard Inc. from several competitive internships, including HCA’s Sarah Cannon Cancer Research Institute, where she worked on strategic implementation plans and process improvement initiatives.
  • Hilary Sloan, Advisor, Health Services Practice / Digital Services. Sloan brings a media background to her role coordinating digital projects for the firm and its clients. Prior to joining Jarrard Inc., Sloan served as the operations intern for Velocity Collective LLC, a leadership business consultancy in Nashville, Tennessee.

New Of-Counsels:

  • David C. Pate, M.D., J.D.: Pate is an accomplished internist, lawyer and health system executive who is the immediate past president and chief executive officer of St. Luke’s Health System in Boise, Idaho where he led the evolution to clinical integration, accountable care and a physician-led delivery system. He joined St. Luke’s in 2009, following executive positions with St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System in Houston.
  • Denise Venditti, DNP, RN: Venditti joined Jarrard Inc. with 25 years in patient experience, nursing leadership and hospital operations. Prior to joining the firm, she served as the vice president of patient experience for Geisinger Health System. In her time at Geisinger, she also worked as associate vice president of nursing, direction of operations, and operations manager.
  • Pete Lawson: Lawson has spent four decades in healthcare and served as CEO at multiple hospitals. Prior to founding his own healthcare operations consultancy and joining Jarrard Inc., he was managing director and co-lead of hospital M&A for Raymond James.
  • Ryder McNeal: McNeal is a 30-year veteran of healthcare sales. Prior to his affiliation with the firm, he served as chief growth officer for Physicians Equity Resource Advisors, LLC., a boutique consulting firm headquartered in New York, and had roles in development with TeamHealth, DaVita and Sound Physicians.
  • Eric Hoffman: Hoffman is an award-winning public affairs professional with a career that includes more than 20 years at Edelman and Weber Shandwick, plus time on Capitol Hill working for political candidates and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jarrard Inc.
ourthinking@jarrardinc.com