Skip to main content

Consultancy grows team by 20 percent in Q2 as evolution of healthcare accelerates

In response to the increasing client demand for organizational optimization and digital strategy, national healthcare strategic communications consulting firm Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, added staff members across all client-facing practices in the second quarter of the year.

“Healthcare providers are facing concerning headwinds today,” Jarrard Inc. President David Jarrard said. “The financial landscape is complicated and not particularly favorable to hospitals and health systems, while investors are highly focused on optimizing existing portfolio companies and being selective about new investments. As a result, healthcare organizations of all kinds are working to optimize their teams, make the most out of existing resources and develop creative ways to attract and retain talent. Our new colleagues have been brought to our firm with exactly those mandates in mind.”

Award-winning organizational development strategy expert Kevin Kearns, PsyD, PMP, headlines the new hires, joining as vice president in the firm’s National & Academic Health Systems Practice. With a doctorate in organizational psychology, Kearns has an extensive background in leadership development and organizational effectiveness. He previously served in related roles at Kaiser Permanente and the University of Colorado Health System. At Kaiser Permanente, his team’s work won multiple Learning Elite Awards from Chief Learning Officer Magazine, along with the publication’s editor’s award.

The firm also added notable expertise in digital strategy through the hire of Thomas Barbee, associate vice president of Digital Services. Barbee has more than 14 years of experience helping healthcare organizations expand their digital footprint and integrate channels to deliver efficient, consistent messages to help accelerate growth. He most recently served as the national director of digital strategy at Compassion & Choices, a Denver-based hospice care organization.  He brings to clients a rich background in integrating digital systems and using business intelligence to inform strategic campaigns.

“A significant element of the optimization we’re observing across the industry is cementing the lessons learned through the pandemic in terms of using technology and digital tools as effectively as possible,” said Jarrard. “There’s no room for waste. Strategic efforts need to be perfectly aligned with the tactical work, requiring new levels of integration, project management and clear communication across teams and with external stakeholders.”

Additional new hires are:

  • Courtney Kelsey, associate vice president, National & Academic Health Systems Practice. Kelsey has nearly a decade of focused experience in strategic healthcare communications, public health, organizational development, complex issue navigation and experience design. She returns to Jarrard Inc. from Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health. There, she served as a director of communications, leading communications strategy and execution for the $11 billion system’s culture, change, well-being and leader development efforts.
  • Kerry Burke, senior managing advisor, Health Services Practice. Burke is an expert in both internal and corporate communications who has worked across the healthcare industry. Her career includes prior work with business communications at Cigna, internal communications at the Medical University of South Carolina and communications strategy at HCA Healthcare.
  • Laura Sanders, senior managing advisor, Regional Practice. Sanders brings to Jarrard Inc. more than 15 years of experience in communications strategy for M&A, organizational restructuring and operational changes in healthcare and higher education. Most recently, Sanders served as director of communications for Baton Rouge-based Amedisys.
  • Courtney Tedesco, RN, MSN, senior managing advisor, National and Academic Health Systems Practice. A clinician with more than 15 years nursing and nurse leadership experience, Tedesco offers clients unique experience driving innovation, efficiency and change. She previously served in various roles at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, including direct leadership of multidisciplinary teams and cross-functional programs.
  • Heather Honeycutt, project manager, National & Academic Health Systems Practice. Honeycutt brings deep expertise in operations and project management to the firm’s clients and National Practice. Prior to joining Jarrard Inc., she served in several roles at Franklin, TN-based Ramsey Solutions, where she led development and execution of events and built and implemented a new HR system, among other projects.
  • Susan Gleiser, managing advisor, Regional Practice. Gleiser most recently served on the Stewardship Communications team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Office of Development, where she created and implemented stewardship plans for donors. Previously, Gleiser served as finance director and call time manager on two U.S. House of Representatives campaigns in southern Illinois.
  • Caroline Oakley, senior advisor, Health Services Practice. A specialist in public relations, internal communications, social media and project management, Oakley comes to Jarrard Inc. from TogoRun, a Nashville communications firm specializing in healthcare, nonprofits and medical aesthetics.
  • Elly Woods, senior advisor, Health Services Practice. Woods brings to Jarrard Inc. a background in change management, stakeholder engagement and content development, with an eye towards using communications to drive growth. Previously, she served in the Chicago-based regulatory affairs, advertising and promotion department at AbbVie.
  • Drew Do, senior graphic designer, Digital and Design Group. Do comes to Jarrard Inc. with more than eight years of print and digital design experience across the healthcare, wellness and financial industries. Prior to joining the firm, he served as a creative specialist at Texas Children’s Hospital. There, he worked for Texas Children’s Health Plan, the hospital’s managed care organization, developing strategic campaigns and marketing materials.
  • Savannah Ray, graphic designer, Digital and Design Group. Ray is an environmental branding, photography and print and packaging design expert. Previously, she served as lead designer of wallpaper and murals for WallsNeedLove, a Nashville-based wall covering company, and as a packaging designer with Lowe’s.
  • Lena Stephens, graphic designer, Digital and Design Group. Stephens is an award-winning Nashville-based graphic designer with experience across web and print platforms. Prior to joining Jarrard Inc., she received training in user experience/user interface (UI/UX) design, leading to a specialization in website solutions.
  • Gladis Valdivia, advisor, National and Academic Health Systems Practice. A specialist in media and legislative research, Valdivia has served in roles across education, non-profit healthcare and government relations. Prior to joining Jarrard Inc., she worked as a strategic communications intern at global CEO advisory firm Teneo.

About Jarrard Inc.

With offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Chicago, Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, Inc. is a U.S. Top 10 strategic communications consulting firm for the nation’s leading healthcare providers experiencing significant change, challenge or opportunity. Founded in 2006, the firm has worked with more than 600 clients in over 45 states and served as a communications advisor on more than $75 billion in announced M&A and partnership transaction communications. The firm specializes in M&A, change management, issue navigation and strategic positioning. Jarrard Inc. is a division of The Chartis Group, one of the nation’s leading healthcare advisory firms.

For more information, visit or follow us on LinkedIn.

Subscribe to Jarrard Insights & News