June 1, 2022
Dear OADN Members,
On June 1, 2015, I had the distinct privilege of becoming the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of OADN. Serving as your CEO over these past seven years has been the highlight of my professional career and has made a profound impact on my life in many ways. My journey with OADN began in the late 1990’s when I was the Director of Nursing Education at Lewis and Clark Community College, and I became involved with the Illinois Chapter of OADN. It was evident from the start that OADN was unlike other associations, it was special. I discovered a tight-knit community of trusted colleagues and supportive friends all of whom shared my passion for associate degree nursing education. Little did I know then this sense of community and belonging that I was fortunate to find would catapult my professional nursing career to leadership roles beginning with the Illinois OADN Chapter, and ultimately at the national level from my term as President to the first CEO. It has truly been the most remarkable journey, all of which began by taking a simple step to become involved thanks to encouragement from respected peers.
OADN has been on a truly remarkable journey as well. Formerly operated by an association management company, OADN became an independently operating association with its own operations team in 2018. This transition was a milestone for OADN as the organization skyrocketed to national prominence. I am extremely proud of the significant strides OADN has made over the last several years growing to a highly respected, national nursing organization. OADN is a pillar in the nursing community and the strongest voice for associate degree nurses and ADN educators in the country, a true embodiment of our mission as “the national voice and a pivotal resource for community college nursing education and the associate degree pathway.”
During my tenure as CEO, OADN was called upon by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to offer its expertise for a national dialogue on nursing and the future direction of nursing academic progression, which later led to the establishment of the critically important National Education Progression in Nursing Collaborative (NEPIN). Another memorable and meaningful accomplishment was the initiation of the Academy of Associate Degree Nursing by OADN. It was a highlight of my career to be awarded the distinction of Fellow of the Academy of Associate Degree Nursing (FAADN), the only such honor reserved exclusively for associate degree nursing education. It has been a privilege to oversee our membership growth, develop strategic relationships with valued sponsors and partners such as CastleBranch and the ACEN, initiate the Alpha Delta Nu Nursing Honor Society, the COVID-19 Task Force and DEI Committee, and most recently the launch of the OADN Leadership Institute. I have seen firsthand how OADN has evolved to meet the needs of our members and become a beacon for nurse educators around the country and throughout every stage of their professional development.
Over these challenging past two years of a global pandemic, in collaboration with the OADN Board of Directors, I have endeavored to guide OADN with an innovative and resilient spirit to support our members and elevate our collective voice and impact for community college nursing education. At the same time, like many others, I have reflected on my own personal goals and now more than ever, I realize time is a finite treasure. Therefore, it is truly a bittersweet moment that I formally announce my retirement from OADN, effective December 31, 2022. The decision to step down from my role as OADN CEO was not an easy one, but with the support of my wonderful family and dear friends, I look with excitement to the future as I contemplate the next steps in my personal and professional journey. I will always remain a passionate advocate for associate degree nursing, however, I truly believe a good leader recognizes when the time comes for new leadership. I have no doubt that OADN will continue to grow and flourish under the new CEO’s direction because its greatest strength remains unchanged, and that strength is you. You are what drives OADN to pursue excellence. You are the fiercest advocates for associate degree nursing. You are what makes OADN so special. As such, you are also the reason why my decision to retire was so difficult. This extraordinary opportunity to serve OADN has allowed me to meet so many of you amazing, inspiring, and talented individuals over the years. I have been humbled by your call to serve and grateful for your loyal friendship and support. You are the foundation and heart of OADN. I thank each of you, our wonderful OADN members, for your dedicated support of my leadership over the years and your steadfast commitment to our profession, our students, and the communities we serve.
I would also like to express my gratitude for all of the dedicated volunteers who have served with me, and supported me, on the OADN Board of Directors over the past ten years, first in my role as President and then as OADN’s CEO. Thank you to the exemplary operations team at OADN as well, consisting of Bryan Hoffman, Mary Dickow, Amy Owens, and Harriet McClung. They have been by my side supporting OADN and me personally, and I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by such gifted individuals. While I am stepping away from OADN as CEO, I am not going far. I am very pleased to announce that I will begin my term as an OADN Foundation Board member beginning January 1, 2023. I am excited to be able to support OADN in this new role and direction.
I hope you will join me in New Orleans this November 18 -20, 2022, for my final OADN Convention as your CEO. It is fitting that my first OADN Convention as President was in 2012 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans. We are once again returning to this exact location, and so my remarkable journey with OADN, one that all began by taking a simple, first step of getting involved, has now come full circle. I look forward to reminiscing over the last ten years while embracing the bright future ahead for OADN, together.
With immense gratitude,
Donna Meyer, MSN, RN, ANEF, FAADN, FAAN
Chief Executive Officer, OADN