President's Page
Login  |  My ASPAN |  View Cart |  Search

President’s Page

Leading with Knowledge – Serving with Heart: Growing Each Other, Community and ASPAN

November/December 2018

Regina Hoefner-Notz, MS, RN, CPAN, CPN, FASPAN
ASPAN President 2018-2019

The holidays are upon us and with them come the bustle of traditions and frenetic gift giving. I was trying to think about a gift we could give to each other within the framework of servant leadership for this holiday season. What could I share with each person as we travel down this road together? Then it came to me: commitment to the growth of people and building community. These are two important qualities of servant leaders.

What if we all took a moment and committed to the servant leadership quality of commitment to the growth of all people? This is a basic tenet of servant leadership. Robert Greenleaf, who coined the phrase servant leadership, challenges us with the question, “Do those served grow as persons; do they while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?”1

Growing Each Other
What an incredible gift to give another in a quiet and humble way. Who can you grow? Who would you like to step into your life and grow you? Sometimes, I believe it is easy to think about growing another person: “I have experience, let me share it!” But, can I humble myself and let another grow me? I think this is just as important, and maybe more so, on various levels. Amazing relationships can be created in the mutual sharing of information. 

I was struck by a recent pop song that continues to roll through my head. I think the ultimate meaning is so empowering and I almost want to shout it from the rooftops. Alessia Cara sings the song, “Scars to Your Beautiful.” The release and chorus haunt me: 

“She don’t see her perfect, she don’t understand she’s worth it  
Or that beauty goes deeper than the surface
So to all the girls that's hurting
Let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer
The light that shines within
There's a hope that's waiting for you in the dark
You should know you're beautiful just the way you are
And you don't have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful”

Value in Each of Us
Each of us is worthy to lead and speak the truth about our thoughts and feelings. Each of us needs to be that mirror helping others see their value to our organization and supporting the growth of our members as they share something of themselves. That is bravery in the truest sense and we must grow it and respect it. So, who will you grow? 

How do we encourage the world to change its heart? No small task, but again, it starts with each one of us. We create a culture that embraces the nurses coming towards us with new ideas and the potential to solve age-old problems, whatever they might be. Don’t you just cringe when you hear a colleague say, “We’ve tried that, it won’t work.” It’s time to hear each other out. Maybe we have tried something like that, but this idea might have found the right moment and be just different enough to work.

Growing Community
When we commit to growing people and creating a positive environment we also begin to build community. This is another characteristic of servant leadership. We need to take the time to share a space and get to know each other. We need to understand it is essential to develop a shared purpose, helping each other to create something better for our members by working together and sharing our stories. We recount our success and discuss things that could have gone better.   
Servant leaders commit to growing community within their organization. Greenleaf learned that “no organization could be oriented to serve if it lacked its own sense of internal cohesion and purpose…the first challenge is to seek the community within.”1 As leaders at every level of ASPAN, we must take time to show the way to others by our actions and examples. We look to our national organization and components, and build it from within, elevating all members, recognizing all levels of involvement and sending the invitation to serve in varying capacities.

Growing ASPAN
We want to build ASPAN and its component community. We desire member growth and increased activity that engages others and supports ASPAN’s ideals. We cannot accomplish this without understanding we build our community one person at a time, commit to growing positive relationships, and decrease negativity.

“And you don't have to change a thing,
The world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, 
We're stars and we're beautiful”

Be a star and be beautiful as you lead with knowledge and serve with heart.


  1. Burkhardt J and Spears L. Servant leadership and philanthropic institutions. In: Spears L, Lawrence M, eds. Focus on Leadership Servant Leadership for the 21st Century. New York, NY: Wiley & Sons; 2002: 239,241.
  2. Caracciolo A, Felder W, Tillman C, Wansel A, Frank E DJ. Scars to my beautiful. [Recorded by Alessia Cara.] On: Know-It-All [CD]. 2015. New York, NY: Def Jam Recordings.

President's Page Archive

Copyright 2019 by ASPAN   Legal Notices   Privacy Statement