December 23, 2019
TUCSON, AZ –With Watermark Retirement Communities more than three decades into its mission of helping residents thrive, it has taken another significant step to expand this focus. The company has appointed Aras Erekul, MD, MMH, to the new position of national director of integrative well-being. Erekul was most recently the corporate director of experience development at the wellness lifestyle and luxury spa resort organization Canyon Ranch. He will be responsible for bringing together a wide range of practices and programs for Watermark residents and associates to flourish in all aspects.
“The senior living profession is evolving to embrace a deeper understanding of holistic approaches to health and wellness,” Erekul said. “I look forward to serving as the lead well-being architect for Watermark, weaving innovative technology and leading- edge practices with ancient wisdom for existing and future Watermark communities.”
He will first focus on Watermark’s Élan Collection of upscale communities, which offer high-end resort-style amenities such as spa treatment rooms, lap pools, fully equipped fitness centers, movement studios, and sessions of yoga, tai chi and similar offerings. He will also ensure that across the entire portfolio of Watermark communities, residents and associates will enjoy extraordinary opportunities for enhanced well-being.
During Erekul’s tenure as the corporate director of experience development for Canyon Ranch, a post he began in 2017, he catalyzed the development, selection and improvement of all wellness-related technology and experiences provided under the brand. He originally joined Canyon Ranch as a wellness programming director in its development department in 2012.
Erekul has an M.D. from Turkey’s Hacettepe University and a Fellowship in Integrative Medicine from the University of Arizona. He also holds a Master of Management in Hospitality from Cornell University. Before switching into wellness resort and business development roles, he practiced briefly as a cardiovascular surgery resident and was a physician-in-charge with Istanbul Emergency Ambulance Services.
His appointment at Watermark is a milestone for the company, according to David Barnes, its president and CEO. “Providing environments that help people thrive has been our focus from the beginning,” said Barnes. “With Aras coming aboard to innovate and integrate leading-edge well-being programs, our mission is making an exciting advance into 2020.”
Watermark creates communities where people thrive through experiences beyond the ordinary and lifestyles far removed from the traditional concept of senior living. It was the thirteenth-largest senior living operator in 2019, according the American Seniors Housing Association, with nearly 60 communities coast to coast. Watermark has been named among the top 25 Best Workplaces for Aging Services in a national program conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute and published on Fortune.com. A privately-held company with a reputation for service, innovation, integrity and financial stability, Watermark is based in Tucson.