By the very nature of their profession, nurses make natural and skilled leaders through their roles as communicators, decision-makers, and collaborators. They have also developed a strong sense of empathy, compassion, and caring that is essential to any leadership role and a valuable asset as a SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon mentor. We are fortunate to have such a leader, who began her impressive leadership career as a critical care nurse, in SCORE volunteer mentor Denise Fessler.
A diverse health care and leadership career that led from the bedside to the board room.
Denise received her Diploma in Nursing from Reading Hospital School of Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Millersville University, and her Master’s Degree in Nursing from Villanova University. She began her career as a critical care nurse specializing in cardiac care, where she helped to launch the open-heart surgery intensive care program at Lancaster General Hospital and worked in the artificial heart program at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
“I was asked to develop an education and staff development program for critical care nursing that led to academic instructor and administrative positions. It was as an administrator that I found my passion for leadership and management.”
An administrator, a consultant, an entrepreneur - the perfect mix for a mentor.
For fifteen years, Denise Fessler served at Capital BlueCross, where she participated in the strategic development of Capital BlueCross as a separate entity from Highmark Blue Shield. In her role at Capital BlueCross, Denise developed and implemented a wide range of clinical programs that eventually led to the development of a new subsidiary company, Geneia Health Solutions. She went on to serve as the vice-president of Clinical Services at both Capital BlueCross (CBC) and Geneia Health Care Solutions.
After departing Capital BlueCross and Genia Health Care Solutions, Denise moved on to a new chapter in her leadership journey. She established a healthcare management consulting business, Fessler & Associates Healthcare Management Consulting, LLC.
“Using my expertise in managed care, I support health care providers such as hospitals, post-acute care providers (skilled nursing care, home health and physician practices) develop value-based care solutions that focus on the delivery of high quality, cost-effective, patient-centered services.”
A gifted leader is a mentor throughout their career
As we are finding with many of our new mentors, Denise is still active in a vital professional career but has turned her attention, time and talent towards becoming a certified SCORE mentor.
“I have always enjoyed the mentoring experience. When my daughter was seeking assistance in setting up her business, I had recommended that she contact SCORE. I was impressed with the work that her lead mentor provided reviewing their business plan, assisting them in developing their marketing approach with a co-mentor and the wealth of information available on-line and in the community, particularly the introduction that SCORE made to the Duke Street Business Center.”
As with all SCORE mentors, Denise worked closely with her mentor “coach” and co-mentors through weeks of training for certification. The process confirmed her decision that SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon was a place where she could make a positive contribution to her community.
“Everyone is so welcoming, modest, and practice life-learning. When I attended a mixer and Edward Iovino asked folks to invite me to co-mentor, four experienced mentors invited me to join and learn with them right away. Jim Frey was my coach and provided such a great overview of the mentoring process (which I am still learning). Rich Bidgood has also been such a wonderful co-mentor, not only supporting our client but also helping me with my very first lead mentoring experience. Edward and Jeanne have been very welcoming and supportive. Finally, like most mentors, I have enjoyed the mentoring experience the most. The clients are so excited and hungry for information---makes you want to share everything you know and learn as much as possible to help them be successful.”
Denise is eager to serve with co-mentoring opportunities. She is familiar with the following:
- Banking Finance & Insurance
- Business Operations
- Business Strategy & Planning
- Health Care & Social Assistance
- Nonprofit, Public & Professional Organizations
- Professional & Business Services