Nurse Leader Master Class

The Nurse Leader Master Class (NLMC) is ONL's signature leadership development program designed especially for nurse leaders already established in a leadership role. This three-day, virtual program offers rich, interactive, cohort-based professional learning features a balance of content and facilitated discussions designed to help established nurse leaders reenergize, refocus, and renew their leadership practice while also building connections with a peer network across organizational boundaries.

What Participants Can Expect

  • Experience a 3-day, highly interactive cohort-based leadership development program, delivered via Zoom
  • Learn from our faculty of distinguished nursing leadership experts
  • Build relationships with fellow nurse leaders and expand your network
  • Gain knowledge and insights that deepen your leadership capacity

Who Should Participate

  • Nurse leaders already in formal leadership roles (for a year or more), including Nurse Managers, Nurse Directors, Educators, Clinical Nurse Leaders; past Leadership Academy graduates are welcome as well!

Program Details

  • Attendees participate in all three full-day sessions.
  • 5 Contact Hours are awarded each day, or 15 for the full program. Participants must participate in the full program each day to be eligible for Contact Hours.
  • Registration fee: $999 per person

Program Faculty and Session Descriptions

Session 1: Leading Yourself

Session 1, led by Dr. Barbara Mackoff, focuses on each individual as a leader. Key components of leadership are discussed, including motivation, personal mission, self care and trust. This interactive and reflective session equips leaders with new insights for aligning personal values with organizational mission, addressing trust among colleagues and teams, and tapping into the grit and fortitude needed to meet the current moment in nursing.

Barbara Mackoff 

Barbara Mackoff, Ed.D.

Dr. Barbara Mackoff is a consulting psychologist, author, and leadership educator. She is a Fulbright specialist and a senior faculty member at The American Organization of Nursing Leaders (AONL). She is the author of The Inner Work of Leaders and Nurse Manager Engagement. Dr. Mackoff has held educational and clinical appointments at the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the schools of nursing at Adelphi University and Molloy College in New York.

Session 2: Advancing Diversity and Inclusivity

Creating inclusive work environments, caring for racist patients, and addressing bias are central to nursing leadership roles. Led by Dr. Leah Gordon and Dr. Marie Borgella, Session 2 explores the impact of racism in health care and in nursing and equips leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to reduce bias and advance inclusivity. 

Leah Gordon

Leah Gordon, DNP, RN, CNP, FNP-C

Dr. Leah Gordon is the Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence, Diversity, and Belonging as well as an Associate Professor of the Practice at the Boston College Connell School of Nursing. Dr. Gordon has worked as a staff nurse at Brigham and Women's Hospital and has been a chemotherapy infusion nurse at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). As a Nurse Practitioner, she has worked as a nurse and nurse practitioner in medical oncology at DFCI and MGH. She currently works one day a week as a nurse practitioner in the Department of Radiation Oncology at MGH.

Dr. Gordon's career in nursing academia includes serving as adjunct faculty at various Boston area schools of nursing, at Simmons University as a mentor to diverse nursing students in the Dotson Scholars Program, and an Academic Advisor to nursing students at the MGH Institute of Health Professions. In February 2019, Leah served in the role of the Assistant Director of Multicultural Programming and Inclusion at the MGH Institute of Health Profession.  In January 2020, she served as the track coordinator for the UMass Boston Family Nurse Practitioner program. From June 2021 to just prior to arriving at CSON, she served as the Diversity Director for Nursing and Patient Care Services at MGH.

Dr. Gordon received her Associate’s degree in nursing from Massachusetts Bay Community College in 2003. She went on to pursue her Bachelor’s, Master of Science and Family Nurse Practitioner degrees in nursing from Regis College. In 2017, she earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice (Nursing Education Track), also from Regis College, with a focus on culturally competent and attentive nursing education.

Marie Borgella

Marie Borgella, DNP, RN

Dr. Marie Borgella currently serves as Nursing Director for General Medicine on Bigelow 7 at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a position she has held since 2019 and in which she was instrumental in establishing a new unit, ensuring a successful opening, and overseeing implementation of operational best practices and clinical policies. She also currently serves as Interim Nurse Director for an Oncology unit, where she manages day-to-day operations and oversees recruitment, performance, and retention of 200+ nursing staff members. Since 2020 she has held the role of Chair of the Nursing Director Combined Leadership Team, a position to which she was nominated and elected by all nurse directors in the organization.

Prior to joining MGH, Dr. Borgella held numerous nursing leadership roles as the Inpatient Neuroscience Nurse Manager at Boston Children’s Hospital, Nurse Manager at St. Elizabeth’s Comprehensive Addiction Program, Utilization Review Manager at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, and Nurse Manager at Arbour overseeing a psychiatric care unit and a dual diagnosis unit. She gained experience as an RN at the Neurosurgical/Neuroscience Acute Care Unit at MGH.

Throughout her career, Dr. Borgella has exhibited a dedication to continuous learning, participating in prestigious programs such as the Virtual Chief Nursing Officer Academy by AMN Healthcare and the Next Generation Leadership Fellowship.

Beyond her clinical roles, Dr. Borgella's dedication to nursing education is reflected in her roles as DNP Faculty Mentor at Boston College, Adjunct Clinical Faculty at Emmanuel College and Endicott College, and Online Course Faculty at various institutions, including Harvard Medical School where she teaches the course “Advancing Health Equity: Skills for Health Care Providers.”

In addition to her professional commitments, Dr. Borgella is involved in numerous MGH committees and initiatives, such as the Women in Leadership Committee, the Dorothy Terrell Fellowship Committee, and the Black Excellence Committee. She is a dedicated member of the American Nurses Association, the New England Black Nurses Association, and the Organization of Nurse Leaders – MA, RI, NH, CT, VT, where she has participated on multiple committees. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Nursing Advancement in Massachusetts and on the Board of Directors for Ethos. She is also actively engaged in community service and outreach, including serving as a Nurse Auditor/Monitor at Cambridge Family and Children’s Services and participating in the MGH Community Messenger program.

Dr. Borgella holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice, Executive track, from the MGH Institute of Health Professions, a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Business Management, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Session 3: Coaching through Change

In the final session, Deb Gerardi guides nurse leaders to deepen their connection to self, their values, and their unique perspective. Participants will learn how to use a coaching approach to move through disorienting dilemmas, lean into conflict and crucial conversations, and expand their ability to step into uncertain and chaotic situations.

 Debra Gerardi

Debra Gerardi RN, MPH, JD, PCC

Deb Gerardi is a Professionally Certified Coach (PCC) credentialed by the International Coach Federation, a certified Hudson Institute Master Coach, and a proud member of the Hudson Institute of Coaching Leadership Team. She is also an affiliate member of the Institute of Coaching professional association at McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, and an ICF Certified Mentor Coach.

Deb brings to her coaching practice deep expertise and perspective as a licensed Registered Nurse with over 30 years of experience working in and with healthcare organizations. She is also a licensed attorney in the State of California and an experienced mediator who has taught as adjunct faculty for multiple schools of law in teh areas of leadership development, negotiation, dispute resolution, bioethics, and well-being. Her breadth of experience also includes her membership in the Applied Improvisation Network where embracing emergence and possibility is a way of being. 

Participant Testimonials

  • "This program helped me develop some different leadership skills, I especially appreciated the guidance on listening for meaning and coaching through conflict. Focusing on coaching more instead of trying to fix things for others all of the time."
  • "This was a great program! I was quite impressed at how well this program ran, given the Zoom forum. The break-out sessions were clever, and well organized, and the content from faculty was great!"
  • "The program content was really helpful. The past two years have been exhausting and nurse managers' emotional support and tools to make us more resilient so that we can be there to help our team. I also loved the concept of sharing "patterns" of behaviors with staff and giving them opportunity to self-reflect and decide if these behaviors are how they want to portray themselves/the unit."
  • "There were so many great takeaways from this program. I am excited to listen more and partner with staff to find solutions."


Register for an Upcoming Program


 Patient Care LinkAmerican Organization for Nurse Leadership