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Leadership

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Leadership

The Whitley leadership team is a dedicated group of professionals with diverse backgrounds devoted to providing excellent service to our residents, families, and employees. With many years of expertise and experience, our team is committed to ensuring the very best care for our residents and the very best work environment for our employees.

Mitchell W. Warren
MITCHELL W. WARREN
Chairman, CEO & Co-OwnerREAD BIO
Jessica Akaah
JESSICA AKAAH
Chief Operating Officer READ BIO

JOHN BARBEE
Chief Administrative Officer READ BIO
Schekesia Meadough
SCHEKESIA MEADOUGH
Vice President of Health And WellnessREAD BIO
Tracy Bazzell
TRACY BAZZELL
Vice President of Innovation & ITREAD BIO
Bobby Jeffrey
BOBBY JEFFREY
Associate Vice President of HospitalityREAD BIO
Randy Brown
RANDY BROWN
Treasurer and Senior Financial AdvisorREAD BIO
  • Mitchell W. Warren

    Mitchell W. Warren, Chairman, CEO, and Co-owner of The Whitley of Wheeling and Autumn Leaves, provides vision and drive, while focusing on strategy, leadership development, diversification, long-term planning, and overseeing the creation of the company goals and budgets. Mitchell also spends much of his time working with and building relationships with the residents, residents’ families, and staff at the company’s communities. With over 15 years of experience in the senior living business, he has been instrumental in Autumn Leaves’ growth and success. The dual-focused Whitley of Wheeling, which offers both assisted living and memory care assisted living, is the result of Mitchell’s continuing commitment to provide the highest quality of care for seniors in a home-like, family environment.

    Always having a passion to help others and explore new opportunities, Mitchell joined Autumn Leaves on a part-time basis in 2000 as a Project Manager. He helped oversee several of the company’s initial senior living projects. In 2003, he started full time as Vice President of Development, where he helped found the design, development, and construction divisions of the company, and created and drove the business model for expanding the Autumn Leaves Memory Care Assisted Living brand. Since then, the company has set itself apart as an industry leader, particularly in memory care.

    In 2008, Mitchell became Chief Executive Officer and Co-Owner of Autumn Leaves. While managing the smart growth of the company, Mitchell continues to follow the founding principles of always putting the resident first, along with a strongly built foundation of hiring excellent people and implementing successful systems and processes. Throughout his career, Mitchell has worked in nearly all of the company’s corporate and community positions, gaining valuable experience and insight. Under Mitchell’s leadership, Autumn Leaves has grown from 1 to over 50 properties located in 9 states including Florida, Kansas, South Carolina, Missouri, Georgia, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin; while maintaining an impeccable track record of high-quality services and care.

    Mitchell graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor of arts degree in political science (and additional concentrations in electrical engineering, business, and technical theater). Mitchell is very involved as a business, church, and community leader. He serves as a committee member at Las Colinas Country Club, a member of the CEO Advisory Board at Argentum, a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), and a deacon and life group host at GracePoint Church Coppell.

    Mitchell, his wife Kelli, and their three children reside in Coppell,Texas.

    Mitch can be reached at 214-845-4550 or at MWarren@thewhitley.com

  • Jessica Akaah

    As Chief Operating Officer for The Whitley and Autumn Leaves, Jessica Akaah is responsible for the day-to-day operations of The Whitley and also oversees the community’s healthcare, life engagement, and sales programs. As an owner of The Whitley and President of the company’s management division (TLG Family Management, dba Constant Care Family Management), Jessica also serves as a member of the Executive Leadership Team, providing organizational guidance and critical input on the strategic direction of the company.

    Jessica joined the company in 2007, opening the first Autumn Leaves memory care community in the Chicagoland area and serving as Executive Director of Autumn Leaves of Vernon Hills for two years. With the tremendous growth of the Autumn Leaves brand, she was promoted to Regional Director of Operations for the Midwest. She then progressed through several executive leadership roles before her promotion to COO in December 2018.

    Prior to joining The LaSalle Group, Jessica was a social worker for Thresholds in Chicago, a non-profit organization providing healthcare and housing to the mentally ill. She also supervised two safe haven programs at the organization. She began her career as an outreach worker serving Chicago-area homeless and mentally ill clients.

    Jessica is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and an active member of the Life Services Network of Illinois. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in social work from Michigan State University and her master of arts degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago.

  • John Barbee

    John Barbee serves as Chief Administrative Officer for The Whitley and Autumn Leaves, bringing more than a decade of experience with senior assisted living operations and 30 years in real estate development and construction.

    John, who has opened more than 45 Autumn Leaves communities since joining the company in 2006, has 30 years’ experience in real estate development and construction plus an additional decade directly in senior living operations. Promoted to Autumn Leaves president a year ago, he will continue to oversee the organization’s development, construction, and design teams, while also assuming responsibility for the daily operations of shared services teams, comprising information technology/innovation and human resources.

    John oversees the Company’s development, construction, and design teams. Appointed Chief Administrative Office in December 2018, he also holds responsibility for the daily operations of shared services teams of information technology/innovation and human resources.

    Prior to his tenure as CAO, John served as Executive Vice President of Real Estate, Vice President of Design and Development, and Vice President of Construction.

    From 1986 until joining Autumn Leaves, John was a business owner and general contractor, specializing in both commercial and high-end residential projects. His commercial projects included over 30 renovations, additions, and new builds at mid-tier and upscale hotels, retail strip malls, and office buildings.

    Since 1999 and prior to coming on board at Autumn Leaves, John was president of Barbee Enterprises, providing commercial general contracting and custom home building services. The company’s commercial projects included medical/office plazas and professional buildings, and its customers included the City of Terrell, Texas; and Trinity Valley Community College. John attended Taft Community College in California and Steven F. Austin State University.

  • Schekesia Meadough

    Schekesia Meadough, BSN, RN, CDP, is Vice President of Health and Wellness for The Whitley and Autumn Leaves. In this role, Schekesia oversees all aspects of nursing services at The Whitley, as well as for 40+ Autumn Leaves stand-alone memory care assisted living communities nationwide.

    Her role involves strategic planning to ensure seamless delivery of comprehensive, coordinated health services for Autumn Leaves residents. Key responsibilities include expansion of clinical education and quality programs while also overseeing compliance with state regulatory bodies in the nine states where the company operates. She has also developed formal nurse leadership training to assess and measure quality improvements and drive Alzheimer’s and dementia care knowledge for all team members.

    Schekesia joined the company in 2015 as a regional director of healthcare, bringing more than two decades of clinical practice, education, and regulatory experience to the role. Her prior assignments include nurse surveyor for the State of Texas Health & Human Services (formerly Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services – TX-DADS); regional program director and faculty member for Kaplan Higher Education; and evaluator for the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). She began her career as an emergency room/trauma nurse at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center.

    A registered nurse, Schekesia holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and is a certified dementia practitioner (CDP). She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in nursing with a specialization in clinical nursing education.

  • Tracy Bazzell

    Tracy is Vice President of Innovation and Information Technology, overseeing the development and implementation of technology strategies for The Whitley and Autumn Leaves. Over the last two decades, he has held key strategic roles, including Chief Information Officer for a national medical products company and as Director for a leading digital transformation consulting firm serving Global 2000 and enterprise customers.

    Tracy earned his master of business administration degree from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin with a focus on information management. He received his bachelor of business administration degree from Eastern New Mexico University.

  • Bobby Jeffrey

    As Associate Vice President of Hospitality, Bobby Jeffrey oversees all aspects of culinary and hospitality services for The Whitley and Autumn Leaves. This includes innovative menu planning to meet/exceed dietary and nutritional standards; budget development; and selection and management of food and equipment suppliers across the country. He is also responsible for training in-market culinary teams, as well as providing operational oversight for our regional maintenance teams.

    As a chef, he is equally accomplished and creative, with a special flair for the art of presentation. Bobby is known to dine with residents and families, listen to their requests and suggestions, and introduce special dishes and new takes on regional cuisines.

    Bobby’s lifelong love of the culinary arts began in his family’s kitchen, where he observed and helped his chef-mother from a very young age. As a teen, his first job was a cook at Luby’s, during which time he earned his degree in hotel and restaurant management. He subsequently studied at the Culinary Institute of America. His nearly four-decade career includes an apprenticeship at Sodexho Marriott, as well as many culinary positions throughout the hotel and health care industries.


    Bobby joined Autumn Leaves in 2004. He is a member of the American Culinary Federation, Texas Chefs Association, Argentum’s Chef Roundtable, and Intalere.

  • Randy Brown serves as Treasurer and Senior Financial Advisor for The Whitley and Autumn Leaves. In this consultative role, he provides financial counsel to the CEO and CFO, while ensuring compliance with financial controls and reporting.

    With senior executive experience spanning 30-plus years, Randy’s background includes all facets of commercial real estate, from senior housing, office, industrial, and residential properties to hospitality, retail, and restaurant operations.

    Randy began his career in public accounting at a regional accounting firm. He developed an interest in real estate while working for Trammell Crow Company, where he gained experience in both tax and real estate operations. His expertise includes finance and accounting for property management, leasing, development, construction and acquisitions. He previously served as Autumn Leaves’ CFO, retiring from the role in 2018.

    Randy earned a bachelor of science in business administration and accounting at Texas A&M University. A certified public accountant, he is affiliated with various professional organizations, including the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.