Being Part of Synova: Leading the Way for Perinatal and Neonatal Leaders

Stepping into a nurse management position is a rewarding experience that brings a unique set of challenges. While it can feel isolating to no longer be friends with staff members, you are also trusted with a significant load of new responsibilities. With smaller support systems, the need for leadership support becomes even more essential. The right amount of guidance will help managers reach their full potential and empower others to achieve their professional goals.

This is where Synova Associates comes in. Synova’s vision is dedicated to creating a culture where the leadership experience is rewarding and desirable. Synova helps support neonatal and perinatal leaders by providing education, offering a networking community, and hosting events that revitalize and transform leadership teams. Managing COVID-19 has demanded even more community support, which provides additional opportunities for leadership growth through the Synova network. Through Synova’s Executive Nurse Advisory Board, perinatal and neonatal leaders from around the country offer insight into current events from the frontline experiences of management teams.

Whether you are a veteran nurse or just beginning your leadership journey, Synova’s passionate energy, engaged community, and profound ideas provide the support needed to be successful as a leader. The following two leaders are members of Synova’s Executive Nurse Advisory Board with different levels of leadership experience, yet both have tremendously benefited from all that Synova has to offer.

Nicole Dixon

Nicole Dixon, MSN, RN, RNC-LRN

Nicole Dixon is one of the newest members of the Executive Advisory Board with more than 22 years of experience. She currently works as the nurse manager for a labor and delivery and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Charlotte, North Carolina. Nicole learned about Synova through a partnered fellowship program, the Emerging Leader Fellowship, with the Neonatal Association for Neonatal Nurses. Through her involvement, she experienced an enhanced level of confidence and increased access to supportive resources for pursuing the nurse manager position she currently holds. This fantastic program is a jumpstart and foundation for early career nurses interested in preparing for leadership roles through support and education with other nurse leaders. This valuable experience was a starting point for Nicole to gain the skills and confidence necessary to achieve her goals of becoming a nurse manager and an effective leader.

As a new board member and face of leadership, Nicole feels that she provides “fresh eyes and a current pulse” of what is going on in her hospital to help guide future initiatives. The monthly webinars, journaling prompts, town halls, and virtual conferences have supported her growth as a leader. Her experience presenting at events has also made her “more comfortable with public speaking.” Her active involvement inspired two of her assistant nurse managers to join Synova as well. Overall, Nicole believes that the biggest benefit of Synova is the instant support system that helps make successful leadership feel more attainable.

When asked about new perinatal and neonatal leaders who are considering the benefits of joining Synova, Nicole responded, “Like Nike, just do it! I wish we could be in person to experience the joy and knowledge [of networking in person,]… but the virtual format is interactive and engaging with plenty of ice breakers.” Nicole’s experience gave her a first-hand look at the instrumental role that Synova plays in supporting new leaders.

Emily Hirsch, MSN, MHA, RNC-NIC

Recently retired after 47 years of incredible nursing leadership, Emily Hirsch continues to help transform perinatal and neonatal leadership by serving on Synova’s Executive Nurse Advisory Board. Through her long history with Synova, Emily is able to draw on a plethora of experiences when mentoring newer nurse leaders. With her passion for education, attending Synova conferences has been an enjoyable and unforgettable experience.

Joining Synova gave Emily “a brand new perspective on leadership and how different my role was as a leader when I reflected on my impact.” Emily first attended a Synova conference because she received the March of Dimes Excellence in NICU Leadership Award. “Getting that award from Synova and the March of Dimes was a highlight of my professional career,” Emily said. “When I attended that event, I remember being so grateful to be surrounded by my peers and even after so many years in nurse leadership there is still so much room to improve your own skills and practice.” The experience of winning that award was momentous in Emily’s career because it acknowledges the hard work of leaders inspiring other leaders. Nurses have the power to impact another NICU Leader’s career by nominating fellow neonatal and perinatal nurse leaders for the March of Dimes Excellence in NICU Leadership award.

A quote that sums up Emily’s Synova experience is “Empowered women empower women.”  She explains that it has made a lasting impact on the way she guides nurses through their nursing professional goals and focuses on a family-centered approach. It also represents her approach for supporting mothers in recovery and new mothers who are facing the unique challenge of caring for a NICU neonate.

By offering the opportunity to engage with other leaders on solving specific issues, Emily emphasized that Synova has helped broaden her world view. She explains that the ability to exchange both personal and professional experiences “just fills your cup.” When reflecting on the people at Synova, Emily said that she loves the “energy and care provided in every encounter.”  Even though Emily is retired she continues to guide the owners with difficult decisions they face with her board position and she also makes it a point to attend all Synova events “as Synova is a community that benefits from all levels of experience and practice.

Emily Hirsch
4 women in front of conference banners

The Support System You Need

Regardless of their level of experience, all leaders need support from other leaders. Both Emily and Nicole emphasized the importance of developing friendships, and support systems across the country that can be beneficial in the challenging roles they experience as a leader. They were grateful for the educational opportunities, the chance to learn from others’ experiences with similar problems, and the overwhelming benefit of being involved in a like-minded community that understands your situation. Overall, they loved their experiences with Synova and felt all perinatal and neonatal leaders had the opportunity to benefit from this incredible community.

Synova offers opportunities for community guidance, networking, and professional growth by holding valuable and energetic educational forums and conferences. This ultimately empowers perinatal and neonatal leaders to expand their skills, transform their teams, and feel confident in their management abilities.


Are you ready to enhance your leadership experience with Synova? Join MySynova, an online community of nurse leaders from around the world.