Management Team

Wesley Durkalski
President & Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Durkalski became CEO of Sendero Health Plans in September of 2014, after serving as COO since March of 2014. He originally joined Sendero as CFO in February 2012, and helped lead the company through the 2012 launch of its Texas STAR & CHIP products. Later he led the successful implementation of its Federal Marketplace IdealCare products. As COO, Mr. Durkalski repositioned Sendero’s presence in the community, supporting closer working relationships with providers, community partners, and area residents.

Sendero is a non-profit health plan started by Central Health, the Travis County Healthcare District, to coordinate healthcare coverage for those with need in the local community.

Prior to joining Sendero Health Plans, Mr. Durkalski was the Chief Financial Officer for Amerigroup in Austin and San Antonio. During his tenure, he delivered the best performance in the state against budgets and assisted in the turnaround of the lowest performing market in the company. Earlier at Amerigroup, he developed and implemented the company's first successful company-wide provider profiling program, which utilized quality, acuity, and financial data to improve evidence-based care delivery.
Tierra Thomas, MHA
Chief Operations Officer

Tierra Thomas joined Central Health in February 2010 as an Administrative Assistant after relocating from Kansas City, Missouri to Austin, Texas. When Central Health created Sendero Health Plans, Inc., a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Tierra decided to join the new company as a Provider Network Representative. After her assistance with building a Provider Network for the Medicaid and CHIP programs, Tierra moved on to Member Services where she helped build a team to help resolve member and provider concerns. In 2014, she transitioned to Vendor Relations, and gained expertise to obtain the Senior Director of Operations position.

Tierra has a B.S. Degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Administration from Missouri Western, and a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Phoenix.

In 2019, Tierra was named Sendero’s Chief Operating Officer. Her performance in all roles have been key in navigating Sendero through the years.

John LaCouture
Chief Compliance Officer

John is an experienced health care lawyer and compliance officer serving the legal, compliance and regulatory needs of health care systems, health plans, academic medical centers, specialty hospitals, life sciences and research institutions and non-profit, mission based entities. John promotes a pragmatic and innovative approach to problem solving by striking the proper balance between operational compliance and mission driven business imperatives.

He served as Chief Legal Officer for Children’s Hospital Colorado, a large multi-campus pediatric specialty system, Vice President of Legal Services at Centura Health, a regional faith based integrated health system, the University of Colorado Hospital and the University of Texas System in addition to private practice and consultancy. In these roles, John worked to refine compliance methodologies, innovative contract and vendor management, and simplify critical legal/risk processes across complex organizations.

John has in-depth and broad based experience with complex health care transactions, provider relations, acquisitions, divestitures, regulated activities, enterprise risk management, litigation, privacy, information security, mergers, contracts and contracts management, procurement, audit, compliance, privacy, data protection, and governmental investigations.

A native of Texas, John spent much of his education and career raising his family in Colorado. His depth and breadth of experience brings considerable practical knowledge and insight to navigate our challenging health care environment.

Highly collaborative and versatile, John thrives supporting those dedicated to improving the quality of and access to reliable health care resources, using innovative strategies like accountable care organizations, value based care models, population health, remote patient monitoring and aligning incentives that focus on healthy communities.

John joined Sendero Health Plans as Chief Compliance Officer in June 2019.
Dr. Mary Carol Jennings, MD, MPH
Chief Medical Officer

Mary Carol Jennings, MD, MPH is the new chief medical officer of Sendero Health Plans, where she will contribute to our mission of delivering high-quality, equitable health care to the County’s under-served and uninsured. A board-certified preventive medicine physician with a special focus on communicable disease prevention and health equity, Dr. Jennings grew up in small-town rural South Carolina. She joins Sendero’s executive leadership team from the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she directed international research and policy initiatives across multiple departments, and served as a core faculty member and Academic Director of the school’s preventive medicine residency training program.

Dr. Jennings’ implementation research and public health practice focuses on using theoretical frameworks of participation and community organizing to engage the end-user in improving vaccine and health service delivery programs, with special attention on serving neglected and low-resourced populations. For the past 4 years she ran a multi-country vaccine access collaborative in partnership with the U.S. CDC and the US-based global NGO, JSI, and she most recently served as the Director of Reproductive and Maternal Health Initiatives for the school’s International Vaccine Access Center.

Dr. Jennings completed her undergraduate degree in neuroscience from the College of William & Mary and received her medical degree from the University of South Carolina, where she focused on rural medicine and primary care. She completed two years of clinical training in obstetrics and gynecology before leaving to serve as a senior fellow in women’s health for a policy think tank based in Washington, DC, overseeing regulatory and safety programs and initiatives. She went on to complete a residency in preventive medicine and obtained a master of public health degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she continues to serve on the faculty and as an advisor on community health and disease prevention issues.

Dr. Jennings joined Sendero as Chief Medical Officer in July 2020.
Elizabeth Barreneche
Chief Financial Officer