KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Kevin Sowers, MSN, RN, FAAN, President, The Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine

 – The Power of Presence – 

Accountability and “showing up” both physically and mentally have a big impact on the overall success and efficiency of job performance and the positive collaboration and productivity of a team environment. Kevin Sowers will address and elaborate on this in his keynote address “The Power of Presence”. Although he was recently named the new President of The Johns Hopkins Health System and served as Duke University Hospital’s President for the past eight years, Sowers still sees himself as that oncology nurse sitting at the bedside of a mother battling stage four-breast cancer or comforting a teenager who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor.

He has achieved many illustrious accolades throughout his 32-year career but he insists that he is first and foremost a nurse.  Working two jobs at a nursing home as a teenager to pay for college, Sowers fell in love with helping people. “It was in those summer months I really found my passion for caring for human beings”, he says. “I chose oncology because while I was in nursing school my grandfather was diagnosed with glioblastoma. It was a difficult diagnosis with a difficult outcome. I remember our family did not have the best experience, so I wanted to be a nurse to make sure no other family went through what we went through.” From first year nursing student to president of an entire medical facility, Sowers will share stories and advice from his extensive medical career and how being goal-oriented and mindful of your purpose can cultivate a collaborative leadership environment.


SPEAKER: Bob Dent, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, CENP, FACHE, FAAN; Sr. VP, COO, CNO, Midland Memorial Hospital, Midland, TX.  Senior Vice President, Chief Operating and Chief Nursing Officer Adjunct Faculty, University of Texas of the Permian Basin &Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing, 2018 President American Organization of Nurse Executives

 – Building a More Positive Culture of Ownership in Healthcare – 

“Being emotionally positive, self empowered and fully engaged”. Bob Dent, a nurse and chief nursing officer for over 30 years says these are three attributes needed to create a successful, positive work culture. The author of “Building a Culture of Ownership in Healthcare” and “Pickle Pledge: Creating a More Positive Healthcare Culture – One Attitude at a Timewill speak on how to build a more encouraging and constructive work culture, something he currently says is rampant with toxicity.  “The main point in building a more positive culture of ownership in healthcare is to first recognize we have an issue within healthcare with toxic behaviors that erode teamwork, communication and ultimately outcomes. By creating a common language to remove those toxic behaviors, it will create a more positive and healthy workplace environment where people can be and perform at their best and ultimately improving all outcomes,” he says. “In my 30+ years as a nurse and nurse leader, I have seen the negative effects of toxic behaviors on individuals and teams. It is not pretty. I have also seen great things happen for individuals and teams with a more positive and healthy workplace environment. I have made it part of my leadership philosophy.”

Dent will discuss how unhealthy professional relationships and negativity impact the overall team success and ultimately patient care. He is a true believer that developing a positive mindset can change the entire dynamic of a team environment and he will provide strategies and tools to help channel that positivity “Nurse leaders set the stage for the day. If they are more positive and create that shared vision with others, it is infectious.”


SPEAKER: Paula J. Webb, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, Associate Professor, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX

 – What is the Magic Number? – 

Do you ever feel like your job role is blurred? Are unsure of how much control your job requires and how much effort you should give? Are you ever confused on whether you are over-stepping your job description or conversely, not doing enough? Paula Webb, along with a group of experienced nurse leaders will explore this topic and share strategies and tactics related to span of control, role delineation and structure within the workplace. They will provide research, answer questions and lead an interactive conversation on this ever important, yet often unaddressed topic.


SPEAKER: Stephanie Abbu, MSN, RN, Clinical Business Coordinator, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, TN

  – Utilizing Peer to Peer Mentoring to Develop Leadership Talent – 

We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” — Whoopi Goldberg

Whether you are young nurse who just graduated from college, or new to the nursing field after spending many years in a different career or an experienced nurse transferring to a new specialty, the importance of guidance and advice from a skilled mentor can make a huge impact on the positive trajectory of your career and your future leadership skills. Stephanie Abbu will delve into this paramount topic of mentorship and how it relates to effective leadership and a cohesive, successful work environment. She will explore everything from what a mentor is, the qualities to look for in a successful mentor, and how to be a good mentor yourself, just to name a few.


SPEAKERS: Lori Gunther, MS, CPXP and Laura Miller, BA, CPXP


 – Talking ‘Bout My Generation – 

Fifty-four. That is the number of years that separates the oldest baby boomer and youngest millennial, yet these two generations are working together in a professional setting more than ever before. As the two largest generations and with baby boomers living longer and therefore retiring later, there has never been a more diverse age gap across the professional landscape.

Lori Gunther and Laura Miller from the March of Dimes (both of the same generation, but opposite ends of it) will lead an interactive workshop on “how each generation is different and the SAME when it comes to communication styles, preferences and attitudes.” Using a breakout activity, they will explore how to “bridge the gap” and showcase the many differences and similarities between generations and how learning more about each other and understanding each others different and diverse backgrounds can help create a more positive and impactful work environment. “You may be challenged by some of your own biases you have about your co-workers based on their ages, but come ready to face those challenges in a fun way!” says Miller with a laugh. “We’ll dive head-long into the term “ageism” as it relates to the healthcare setting; and provide opportunities for an open discussion about how negative biases about co-workers, based on their age (regardless of their generation) impacts the work environment and its leadership.” Miller says that all nurses ultimately have the same goals in putting their patients first, but acknowledges that working with someone in a completely different generation than you can prove challenging but can also be quite rewarding. “We all have stories about a young Gen-Y/Millennial coworker who acts too entitled and doesn’t want to work on holidays, or an old Baby Boomer nurse who struggles with keeping up with the technology on the unit and has a hard time relating to the new moms… Come to this session to learn tips on how to bring harmony and perspective back to your hospital unit around the topic of the multigenerational workforce.”



 – 12 Steps to Finding Joy in the Journey – 

As the saying goes “You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at once”. Or can you? Sharon Weinstein says YES, you can!  The busy wife, mom, nurse leader and business woman has vast expertise in providing successful strategies to achieving a balanced life as evidenced in her award winning book, “B is for Balance, 12 Steps Toward a More Balanced Life at Home and at Work.” As the closing speaker, Weinstein will address “12 Steps to Finding Joy in the Journey”, and will explore the ever so difficult task of achieving balance both personally and professionally in today’s stressed, hectic, and overworked society in order to become a more efficient leader.

One of two nurses worldwide to hold both the FAAN and Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, Weinstein has over 30 years expertise in progressive clinical education, administrative and health policy, and healthcare management and clinical practice. “Balance is well within everyone’s reach; it is a personal decision that centers on the choices we make. You are only as good as you are balanced. If you do not take the time for yourself, you won’t be the best you can be,” she says. “Long shifts, long days, long weeks and multiple responsibilities pull you in multiple directions!  So much to do and so little time. Is all this a cliché or is it reality? In today’s healthcare environment, it certainly seems that it is indeed our reality – a reality of the times in which we live and our expansive scope of practice.  Self-care is the first step in the balance wheel.”

Weinstein will provide hands on strategies and tips as well as share her own personal stories on how attaining complete balance is both a feasible and rewarding endeavor. “In order to fully realize and appreciate the joy in the journey, nurses need to enhance awareness of the end result of a life in balance. From compassion fatigue to alarm fatigue, from scheduling to critical clinical scenarios, nurse participants will recognize themselves, their challenges, and their opportunities for enhancing their personal and professional lives.  I give real-life examples and actionable steps to make the shift the most important shift of their lives.”