As 2004 Jeanne Mance Award-winner Ginette Lemire Rodger once said, “Things don’t change by themselves. You have to be active to mould the environment in which you are going to practise.”
Through her visionary commitment to professional practice, Donna Mendel, RN, MScN, lives Ms. Lemire Rodger’s challenge through every thread of her work and life. Twenty years of practice in emergency, frontline nursing grounds her leadership skills.
Donna’s influence on patient safety is woven into organizational, provincial and national practice standards. A courageous advocate, her reassuring presence makes others feel valued and welcomed. She sees and respects the true essence of each person she knows. Authentic and faithful to collaboration, she gracefully balances caring, engaging others and strategic decision-making to advance practice.
Colleagues describe Donna as kind, loyal, dedicated, accomplished, sophisticated and respectful — a magnanimous leader who, with humility and humour, strives to inspire success in others. She quietly gives credit when it is due and consistently frames successes around team contributions rather than her own.
Donna’s influence and wisdom is sought and invited, never imposed. She is a consummate professional, invariable in her integrity and admired as leader, nurse, mentor, citizen, friend, wife and mother. She galvanizes confidence in individuals and teams across professions by recognizing and eliciting the greatness around her. Her leadership moves other professions to celebrate nursing. It is captivating and refreshing to walk alongside and learn from Donna’s servant leadership, moulding practice environments we can feel proud of, whether as care provider or recipient.