September 18, 2023

Opening keynote: Passionate Leadership—Soaring to New Heights

Editor’s Note

"Great leaders don’t manage; they lead. They don’t motivate; they inspire. They are role models," noted Donna Cardillo, MA, RN, CSP, FAAN, The Inspiration Nurse, the opening keynote speaker at this year's OR Manager Conference. In her engaging session, Cardillo discussed four key pillars for unlocking and embracing your leadership potential.

"The best way to lead is to self-manage," she said. The two aspects of self-management she discussed were self-care and creating spiritual life and practices. "Self-care isn’t self-indulgence; it’s self-respect," Cardillo said about the first pillar of leadership. She noted that in order to be an efficient leader, you must also be responsible for your own well-being and shared some of her favorite self-care and spiritual practices, such as practicing gratitude and setting daily intentions. Cardillo even mentioned that simply taking a few deep breaths helps her connect with herself.

For the second pillar of leadership, Cardillo discussed how it is important to inspire and be inspired as a leader. "Influence is greater than power," she noted. It is an innate human trait to want to develop ourselves and reach our potential, she said, and reaching your own potential as a leader can inspire others to do the same.

As a leader, you must be able to stretch and grow, Cardillo said, "the comfort zone is a danger zone—as leaders, you’ll constantly be out of your comfort zone." When discussing this third pillar of leadership, she challenged the audience to say yes to every opportunity, "every time you reject an opportunity, you lose some of yourself," she said. Leaders must constantly stretch themselves and challenge themselves with new opportunities, even with the possibility of failure.

Cardillo concluded her talk and left the audience with the final pillar of leadership, which is to teach. As a leader, "When we become experienced and enlightened, we may pull away from the flock," she noted. "But a true enlightened person will stay with the flock and teach them until the group is as enlightened as they are."


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