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Verni Selected for Inaugural ELAN Fellowship

Verni Selected for Inaugural ELAN Fellowship

Year-long Program Helps Nurses Develop Leadership Skills 

Christine Verni, EdD, was 1 of just 38 professionals across the nation selected by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) for its inaugural Elevating Leaders in Academic Nursing (ELAN) program. 

ELAN is part of AACN’s new leadership development portfolio, AACN LEADS, and is specifically designed for aspiring deans and senior faculty in leadership roles. 

I’m so humbled to have been chosen to be a part of the program,” says Verni. “Originally, I was interested in learning more about nursing academics. My background in leadership has been in a clinical setting, so this was a way for me to learn more about it all while networking with other aspiring nursing leaders. 

The year-long fellowship provides participants with a focused assessment experience, a range of content and exercises related to successful executive leadership, and the opportunity to establish a peer network that fosters long-term partnerships and collegial support. 

The program kicked off with a week-long retreat held on July 28-August 2 in Chaska, Minnesota. While there, the group was able to identify their strengths and opportunities to grow as a leader. 

“From evaluations provided by my peers and supervisors I was able step back and see how my performance and ability as a leader are perceived both by myself and by others here at D’Youville,” adds Verni. “Seeing all of that allows me to focus on what’s important to me, to others, and allows me to grow as a leader.” 

As a participant in the program, everyone is assigned a mentor who is able to guide each fellow in improving on a weakness they have identified.  

“One of my areas I chose to develop is that I have a hard time letting things go,” she reflects. “So daily, I sit and try to explore the ways I can choose my battles. I just take the time to consider options before jumping into making important decision or respond to individuals. Being able to see the different viewpoints from others, working with each other to agree or come to a middle ground is so important. Not everything needs to be fixed in 5 minutes.” 

Taking part in national fellowships and programs allows D’Youville to put its name on the map alongside other top schools in the nation. “Having a strong leader will only enhance the successes of the school and the College as a whole,” says Verni. “You want a leader who is visionary, can communicate with partners, and one who can look at the big picture of the impact that we have on our students, faculty, staff, and our community.” 

Verni believes that the biggest impact that her involvement in ELAN will have won’t necessarily be on her career, but on her faculty and students.  

“I think the impact I’ve had in my role so far is that I’m helping push a student-centric view for the school to follow while supporting faculty development as educators,” she says. “We’re driven by student success to ensure our long-term growth.” 

“As I grow through these trainings and other professional opportunities, I plan on paying it forward to those mentees in our school so that others can benefit from similar opportunities.”