Credentials PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN Place of Employment: Capella University Organizations Involved in: Greater Cleveland Nurses Association, World Health Organization Board Positions: Greater Cleveland Nurses Association
Tell us about your journey to the boardroom – what inspired you to seek these leadership positions? I have served on the Greater Cleveland Nurses Association as a board member for 4 years and was recently chosen to be president-elect. I feel so fortunate to have this career and I like having the opportunity to give back. I work with a great variety of nurses in the Greater Cleveland Nurses Association and am able to utilize my strengths of strategy and operations to assist in making ideas a reality.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to nurses serving on boards?
We struggle at being recognized for making contributions in nursing organizations. We are continuously seen as a bedside nurse. It’s a big struggle and why it’s so important for nurses to speak up!
What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader and eventually obtaining a board position? Nurses need to be active in their professional organizations; belong to ANA, Sigma Theta Tau and if you work in a specialty area become certified in that area. Nursing organizations are a great place to begin building leadership skills and these organizations offer a multitude of opportunities to get involved.
What advice would you give someone going into a board leadership position for the first time? Listen more than you talk. We can be expert nurses, but novice board members!
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader? One of my biggest growth opportunities was participating in the Robert Wood Johnson Leadership Fellowship – I am very active in the RWJF alumni group. I also try to stay involved in the literature – I am currently reading Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. Never stop learning and believe you can learn something new every day.
Why do you feel it is important for nurses to serve on boards? We have something offer and need to offer it and give back to our community. We need to be recognized for the gift that we have and we need to help our profession gain the respect it deserves.
What impact have you had serving on a board?Example? My biggest impact through board service would be community education. We have done a lot through the Greater Cleveland Nurses Association in regards to community outreach and continue to do so.
I have also been involved with the World Health Organization (WHO) since the early 90’s assisting with a variety of projects focused on nursing capacity. The project I am currently involved in is building nurse capacity to work with non-communicable diseases in Africa.
“Board service can be rewarding to nurses both personally and professionally. It not only requires them to exercise leadership; it expands those skills and advances their capabilities and knowledge. It gives nurses the chance to meet people and enhance their professional networks. And it can be inspirational and empowering.” -Sue Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Nurses on Boards Coalition (NOBC) represents national nursing and other organizations working to build healthier communities in America by increasing nurses’ presence on corporate, health-related, and other boards, panels, and commissions.