October 26, 2012
By Bob Romantic
GCU News Bureau
The gesture spoke volumes about who Dr. Anne McNamara is as a person.
"Raise your hand if you've ever been touched by a nurse," McNamara told the crowd at a luncheon Thursday afternoon at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa.
Hands everywhere shot up in unison.
McNamara, you see, considers herself a nurse first, not the dean of the College of Nursing at GCU. And certainly not an Athena Award winner.
The latter, however, is now part of McNamara's impressive resume as she was chosen for the prestigious award Thursday by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce at the 25th annual Athena Awards luncheon.
|"I really did not expect my name to be called," said McNamara, who was surrounded by her GCU colleagues at the event. "I am truly amazed."
The Athena Awards honor women who strive toward the highest levels of professional accomplishments, excel in their chosen field, and have devoted time and energy to their community. Nominees are judged on leadership and achievement, community service, and support for the professional development and mentorship of women.
McNamara fits that description to a tee.
In a career spanning more than three decades, she has helped shape legislative policy and lead the nursing profession through various roles for organizations such as the
Maricopa Medical Center, Maricopa Integrated Health System, Arizona Nurses Association, American Nurses Association, American Nurses Credentialing Center and, of course, Grand Canyon University.
More than job titles and accomplishments, however, McNamara has made her mark through community service and mission work throughout the world, and by touching the lives of countless people - not just as a dean or administrator, but as a nurse and mentor.
"Some mentors only allow themselves to look at you as a student," former GCU student Crystal Erickson said in the nomination letter for the Athena Award. "Anne took the time to get to know me as a person and to be interested in my life, intuitively showing me how to build character, focus on my dream of being an outstanding nurse who doesn't cut corners, and never stop believing in myself."
Erickson, with support from McNamara and the College of Nursing, adopted a nursing family in Joplin, Mo., after the deadliest tornado in the U.S. since 1947 devastated that community in 2011, killing 158 and injuring about 1,000 people.
Marla Weston, CEO of the American Nurses Association, wrote in the nomination letter that McNamara "truly embodies the spirit of this award."
"Dr. McNamara is a shining example of a nurse who sets the gold standard in her profession and serves as a role model for success for the next generation of nurse leaders."
Other finalists for the 2012 Athena Award in the private sector were Kelly Barr, senior director of environmental management policy and compliance at Salt River Project; Deborah Bateman, executive vice president and director of wealth strategies at the National Bank of Arizona; and Tammy Weinbaum, senior vice president and general manager of American Express.
McNamara is the first woman from the nursing profession to be nominated for the award since its inception in 1987.
"Nursing is a profession that impacts so many people," McNamara said. "I feel so blessed to be able to bring up the next generation of nurses."