Diverse background helps Garrard find career calling

Memphis Standout profile for The Memphis Daily News

Oct. 25, 2013

Mike Garrard has popped the top on a new career as executive director of the Silvercreek Senior Living Center in Olive Branch.

For many years, during school at the University of Memphis and after, Garrard worked in the food and beverage industry, first for a chain of grocery stores and then a decade in sales for national food brokerage firms Acosta Sales & Marketing and Advantage Sales and Marketing.

Garrard segued into sales with industry leaders such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, at one point in management overseeing seven states for Pepsi alone.

Though he would remain in management, the switch to a different industry in October 2011 came through networking. A spiritual man – Garrard attends Central Church in Collierville – he said he “sent out a basic prayer request-slash-networking to all our family and friends through email, text, phone calls, whatever it may be, and just said, ‘please pray for us, please pray for vision for an opportunity in a whole different industry.’”

The message was sent out on a Friday and by Monday morning his future boss at Silvercreek, who happened to get that message, called and offered him the job only 10 months after the facility had opened.

“It was just an unbelievable opportunity and has hopefully been my last career update, to be honest with you, because I love it here,” Garrard said.

He had come from management where he was working with teams of up to 180 employees, and would continue in such a capacity, initially managing 20 when he first began with Silvercreek.

“The main thing, I think, was getting to understand taking care of senior adults,” Garrard said. “So the curve in the road for managing this building, managing people, was no problem. Managing senior adults, yeah, that’s a new industry and that was a 180-degree turn.”

It was a challenge Garrard jumped into headlong, calling on his years of experience to learn quickly and to excel in his new position . . . (read more)