Women Inspiring Women: Encouraging Words from Female Leaders at Stamford Health

Published: March 21, 2024

Women Inspiring Women: Encouraging Words from Female Leaders at Stamford Health

Authored by: Kathleen Silard, MS, BSN, RN, FACHE, President and CEO

Women have a long history of challenging societal norms, overcoming barriers and enacting change. Throughout my career, I have been extremely humbled to work alongside many brilliant and dynamic women. I have looked to superiors and peers alike to uplift, mentor, and guide me through challenges, both personal and professional.

To celebrate Women’s History Month, several of my fellow female colleagues shared their stories of career development and advice. I hope their words inspire other women looking to become leaders of today and the voices of tomorrow, I know they inspired me!

“I have been blessed with several mentors throughout my career and have gained so much knowledge from their wise advice and counsel. But finding a mentor comes with a responsibility to be a mentor as well. A second piece of advice is to pursue opportunities when they come, even if it is not the “right time.” I was presented with my first leadership promotional opportunity when I returned from maternity leave with 3-month-old twins. I was reluctant to take it, but my family encouraged me to go for it and I’m glad I did. – Ruth Cardiello, RN, Senior Vice President, Chief Risk Officer and Corporate Compliance & Privacy Officer

“My greatest inspiration has been my three surgical mentors, who always had patience for their students, inspired others to be better, and treated their patients with love and compassion. Watching them in action inspired me to be a surgeon and taught me what kind of surgeon I wanted to become.” – Sarah Cate, MD, FACS, Chief, Division of Breast Surgery

“My Critical Care Unit (CCU) attending during residency had a profound impact on how I developed as a physician. She combined grace, patience, and compassion with incredible clinical insight and knowledge. She was always accessible and took great care and attention in teaching and mentoring. I think of her when I hear these lyrics from "Humble and Kind" by Tim McGraw: "When you get where you're goin, don't forget to turn back around and help the next one in line." Now I turn around and help the next one in line.” – Evelyn Cusack, MD, Director, Women's Heart Program, Stamford Health Medical Group

“Much of the great advice I’ve received over the course of my career relates to the way we communicate. One of the most important lessons I have learned is never to present a problem without also presenting a possible solution. And remember, there is always at least one possible solution.” – Beth Davis, Senior Vice President, General Counsel

“I was very lucky in my career to work with a female Vice President who mentored me. She was a wonderful role model who took time to coach me on how to be a successful woman in Management. My advice to future female leaders is to take chances by taking jobs or projects out of your comfort zone. You will surprise yourself with how much you are capable of!” – Kathryn Duras, Vice President, Human Resources

“I have been lucky to have wonderful mentors in orthopedics, both male and female. I have learned that not every mentor needs to provide mentorship in every aspect of your life or career, but I have always tried to learn as much as I can from everyone to continue to improve every day.” – Cynthia Kahlenberg, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon, HSS Orthopedics with Stamford Health

“I had many mentors who supported my leadership career and encouraged me to take on new and advanced roles. The best advice I received was to be authentic and inspiring, to support excellence in clinical care and outcomes, and to continually encourage professional growth.” – Ellen Komar, RN, Senior Vice President, Patient Care Services & Chief Nursing Officer

“When I started my career as an ED nurse, it never even occurred to me to career plan for an executive level role. But I liked taking risks, learning new things and I was open, so each time an opportunity presented itself, I took it. I was very fortunate to have been surrounded by a diverse group of healthcare leaders who exposed me to all aspects of health system operations and provided me with opportunities to grow.” – Elizabeth Longmore, MS, RN, Chief Operating Officer

“As a woman who is also a minority, I am grateful to have been surrounded by folks who saw potential in me and elevated me. I quickly realized it is important to vocalize your goals and aspirations to your bosses so they can support you in your career journey. I focus not only on my own professional growth but find it important to be a mentor, coach, and sponsor. My goal is to uplift others who aspire to grow as I climb.” – Irene Ondieki, DNP-RN, NEA-BC, Vice President, Patient Care Services

Empowering, inspiring, driven and kind. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think about Stamford Health’s many female leaders. They all play a pivotal role in our organization’s daily functions and make a dynamic impact on our patients and colleagues alike. Happy Women’s History Month, and I will leave you with this –

“At the end of the day, we are all human, no matter your gender. Give yourself grace if you make a mistake, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward. Show empathy in your daily interactions and be kind to yourself and others.” – Kathleen Silard, MS, BSN, RN, FACHE, President and CEO

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