Expert advice: Nursing for Life keynote speaker Donna Cardillo

We’ve invited Donna Cardillo, the inspirational nurse, Athena Award winner and former New Jersey Business Woman of the Year, to help us kick off National Nurses Week at our first Nurses for Life conference.

The event, which takes place May 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at BlueCross BlueShield’s downtown Buffalo headquarters, is open to all local nursing professionals and students.

“Nurses don’t just take care of sick people, we are also wellness warriors,” Donna says. “This event will help nurses feel inspired, reenergized and be able to recommit themselves to the important work they do every day.”

Donna, who is celebrating 20 years of inspirational speaking, has an extensive nursing background.

Talking with Donna: Celebrating nursing’s past, present and future

“The keynote will be a reminder of where we came from.” Donna says, “We’re going to look at all we have going on for us right now and what we have left to do.”

donna cardillo

Her talk, “Nursing – The Future is Ours!,” will discuss the radical changes in healthcare and how nurses have a greater opportunity than ever to positively impact the field.

Participants will learn:

  • What’s in store for the healthcare delivery system over the next 20 years
  • Why nursing must reinvent itself
  • How nursing will evolve into a superpower in healthcare
  • Which behaviors, mindsets and patterns no longer serve us
  • How to get in shape to meet the challenges – and opportunities – of the future

“I want to remind nurses of their own greatness and give them a plan to move forward in their career,” she says. “I’m going to share with them how to maximize their potential.”

In addition, Donna promises an afternoon of inspiration, entertainment and humor.

“We need to step back from everyday work to look at and appreciate our value,” she says. “And have some fun too!”

Donna will be around before and after the talk to speak one-on-one with any personal questions or comments. Her three books will be on sale and she will be available for signing.

The road to becoming the Inspiration Nurse

While working as a registered nurse, Donna earned a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management and a master’s degree in corporate and public communication.

donna cardillo“Nursing is one of the greatest professions on the planet,” she says. “It’s one career where you can use your heart and your head every day. It’s both high tech and high touch.”

After years of working in the field, she took a chance and began her own speaking business.

“I worked in a hospital during a time where the industry was seeing a lot of changes,” Donna says. “My boss had me doing a lot of public speaking to educate other nurses on these changes. I was reluctant at first, but then I began to get a lot of positive feedback. Ten years later and I started my own business!”

Donna has been named New Jersey Business Woman of the Year, has earned the Athena Award, a national leadership award for women and has been designated a Diva in Nursing by the Institute for Nursing in New Jersey, among many other achievements.

“Although I don’t work in a traditional nursing role, I definitely still consider myself to be a nurse,” she says. “I am still a healer, teacher and nurturer in everything I do.”

Aside from speaking, she currently gives daily online career advice as “Dear Donnna” at and is an expert blogger at

Donna welcomes your questions. Feel free to contact her at

Visit our website to register for the conference or contact Mario Hicks, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, at for more information.