Chief Executive Officer

Req Number: FT294
Location: Chicago, IL
Posted: 12/21/2021
Category: Government/Not-For-Profit : Education
Job Type: Permanent

We are assisting the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA) in their search for a Chief Executive Officer. AANA’s current budget is approximately $27 million and employs 133 staff that serve members. Relocation to Chicago-land area is not required.

Location -- Flexible
Reporting Relationship -- The Chief Executive Officer reports to the AANA Board of Directors
Website --

Organization Background/Culture

The AANA and the Nurse Anesthesia Profession:

Nurse anesthesiologists have been providing anesthesia care to patients in the United States for more than 150 years. In 1931, the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA) was founded as the professional association and today represents more than 59,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and student registered nurse anesthesiologists nationwide. The AANA promulgates education and practice standards and guidelines and affords consultation to both private and governmental entities regarding nurse anesthesiologists and their practice. Approximately 90 percent of the nation's nurse anesthesiologists are members of the AANA. The AANA is actively involved in the International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists where areas of practice and education globally are led by members of the AANA.

As advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), CRNAs are anesthesia professionals who safely administer more than 50 million anesthetics to patients each year in the United States. CRNAs are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural America, enabling healthcare facilities in these medically underserved areas to offer obstetrical, surgical, and trauma stabilization services. In some states, CRNAs are the sole providers in nearly 100 percent of the rural hospitals.

CRNAs practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; critical access hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and pain management specialists; and U.S. military, Public Health Services, and Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities. 

Nurse anesthesiologists have been the main providers of anesthesia care to U.S. military personnel on the front lines since WWI, including current conflicts in the Middle East. Nurses first provided anesthesia to wounded soldiers during the Civil War.

CRNAs are qualified to make independent judgements regarding all aspects of anesthesia care based on their education, licensure, and certification. They are the only anesthesia professionals with critical care experience prior to beginning formal anesthesia education.

Anesthesia is a recognized specialty in both medicine and nursing. When anesthesia is administered by a nurse anesthesiologist, it is recognized as the practice of nursing; when administered by an anesthesiologist, it is recognized as the practice of medicine. Regardless of whether their educational background is in nursing or medicine, all anesthesia professionals give anesthesia the same way.

In our most recent member survey, 56.4% of respondents reported that they at least sometimes work in a team model where the physician anesthesiologist medically directs the CRNA in their primary work arrangement. Managed care plans recognize CRNAs for providing high-quality anesthesia care with reduced expense to patients and insurance companies. The cost-efficiency of CRNAs helps control escalating healthcare costs. Nationally, the average 2020 malpractice premium for self-employed CRNAs was 36 percent lower than in 1988 (71 percent lower when adjusted for inflation).

Landmark findings from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) assert that expanding the role of nurses in the U.S. healthcare system will help meet the growing demand for medical services. The IOM report urges policymakers to remove policy barriers that hinder nurses—particularly advanced practice registered nurses such as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs)—from practicing to the full extent of their education and training. The report, titled “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” was released in the wake of two definitive studies leading peer-reviewed health journals that confirmed the safety (RTI study, titled “No Harm Found When Nurse Anesthetists Work Without Supervision by Physicians,” in the August 2010 issue of Health Affairs) and cost-effectiveness of nurse anesthesiology (Lewin Group study titled “Cost Effectiveness Analysis of Anesthesia Providers” in the May/June issue of The Journal of Nursing Economic$). A Lewin Group study was published (June 2016) in Medical Care: Scope of Practice Laws and Anesthesia Complications No Measurable Impact of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Expanded Scope of Practice on Anesthesia-related Complications.

The AANA has both a non-profit and for-profit arm. It is comprised of eighteen divisions, each responsible for several functions that work together to serve the needs of the membership and advance the practice of nurse anesthesiology. In addition to the internal divisions there are separate committees, for-profit entities, councils, and affiliates designated to fulfill specific roles related to furthering the practice of anesthesia and supporting as well as protecting member interests. Some of these groups are separate legal entities with agreements for staffing, services and information systems support from AANA.

As recently as August 2021, there were 128 accredited nurse anesthesia programs in the United States and Puerto Rico. 113 nurse anesthesia programs are approved to award doctoral degrees for entry into practice. Each state in the United States, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, has its own State Association of Nurse Anesthetists. The size of these state organizations varies depending on the geographic region of the country. All state associations are independent from the AANA; many are separately incorporated, and they are not considered chapters of the AANA. Members of the AANA are also members of their respective state association and state association membership is based on where the member works or resides.

AANA’s current budget is approximately $27 million and employs 133 staff that serve members.

Vision: AANA is the transformational leader driving innovation and excellence in healthcare.

Mission: AANA advances, supports, and protects nurse anesthesiology.

Organizational Values and Goals:

AANA’s organization focus is supporting our members and protecting our patients.

Core value statements include:

  • Integrity: We do the right thing, always.
  • Membered Centered: Simply stated, we put members first. We deliver world class experiences that create long lasting relationships.
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion: We seek diverse, equitable, and inclusive collaboration with our members and staff.
  • Advocacy: We shape the debate on important healthcare issues and ensure that our members have a voice.
  • Growth through Excellence: We commit to being a learning organization that delivers results through innovation, collaboration, and servant leadership for our members and staff.

Key Responsibilities

As chief staff officer, the CEO provides overall staff leadership and management of Association operations, acts as a key representative and spokesperson for the AANA, and serves as Executive Secretary to the Board of Directors, President and CEO of all AANA for-profit entities, and as a member of the AANA Foundation Board of Trustees. The CEO is responsible for providing strategic, financial, and operational leadership for the company and  will closely coordinate and work with the Board of Directors and senior leadership team.

Among the CEO’s primary roles and responsibilities are the following:

Governance and Leadership

  • Collaborate with the Board of Directors in developing and communicating an organizational strategic vision and in facilitating the strategic planning and governance processes.
  • Advise the Board, staff and volunteers on Association policies, activities, and issues.
  • Ensure leadership development activities exist that support the roles of AANA leaders.
  • Serve as Executive Secretary of the AANA Board of Directors.
  • Serve as President and CEO of all AANA for-profit entities.

Administrative and Human Resource Management

  • Act as a strategic partner by developing and implementing the Association’s plans and programs.
  • Implements and enforces policies and directives adopted by the Board.
  • Oversees the support and coordination of all Board and committee activities.
  • Ensures strategic alignment of all AANA functions.
  • Analyze and make recommendation on the impact of long-range growth initiatives, planning, and introduction of new strategies and regulatory actions.
  • Create, improve, implement, and enforce policies and procedures of the organization that will improve operational effectiveness of the company.
  • Provide strategic input and leadership on decision making issues affecting the organization.
  • Oversees all administrative, management, operations, and human resource functions.
  • Communicate effectively and establish credibility throughout the organization and with the Board of Directors as a developer and solutions to business challenges.
  • Develop, lead, attract, inspire, retain, and manage a diverse, talented, and high-performing team, to ensure that the mission and values of the AANA are put into practice by holding everyone accountable for quantifiable high-quality, timely, and cost-effective results.
  • Oversees the management of all AANA sponsored meetings and conferences.
  • Ensures that all AANA policies and practices are consistent with AANA bylaws, federal and state statutes, and regulations, and support a safe and productive working environment.
  • Act as strategic advisor and consultant offering expert advice on contracts, negotiations, or business deals that the organization may enter.
  • Facilitates effective issue management.

Fiscal Management

  • Develop credibility and authority for the finance leadership team by providing accurate analysis of budgets, reports and financial trends and operational procedures to assist the BOD and executive team.
  • Evaluate organization’s financial and operational structures to plan for continual improvements and a continual increase in operating efficiencies.
  • Oversees the planning and budgeting process on a continual basis.
  • Provide expert financial guidance and advice to others within the executive leadership.
  • Create, improve, implement, and enforce policies and procedures of the organization that will improve financial effectiveness of the company.

External Relations

  • Acts as a key representative and spokesperson for the AANA to multiple publics.
  • Develops and maintains strategic professional organizational relationships.
  • Ensures strategic alignment of marketing, public relations, and communication efforts.


  • Serves as a voting member of the AANA Foundation Board of Trustees.
  • Supports AANA PAC development goals and activities.
  • Provides oversight and guidance for the development of non-dues revenues.
  • Coordinates fundraising activities between AANA and other AANA organizational affiliates.

Professional Experience and Qualifications

The successful candidate will ideally possess the following qualifications or demonstrate equivalent experience:

  • Minimum of 10 years’ experience in a C-suite, executive leadership role, or its equivalent is required. Previous CEO experience preferred.
  • Thorough knowledge of the healthcare field and demonstrated business, management, organizational, financial, technology, investment, and political acumen.
  • Considerable expertise and experience in the areas of business, strategy, innovation, association governance, advocacy, technology, and finance.
  • The ability to work effectively and collaboratively with staff and Board to advance AANA’s mission and strategy.
  • Knowledge of the role of Nurse Anesthesiology, the position of Nurse Anesthesiology in the health care arena, and the political forces that impact the current and future practice of the profession.
  • Goal driven, systems thinking, proven problem solver, team player, dynamic and energetic.
  • Highly energized to engage and respond to the perspectives of a broad range of stakeholders.
  • Demonstrate an unwavering commitment to results, possess keen business acumen, maintain the ability to lead and effect change, and motivate and develop talent within the organization.
  • Proven leadership, coaching and management skills. Track record in leading teams and achieving results.
  • Ability to establish and manage multiple priorities effectively and realistically as well as the ability to delegate effectively and appropriately. 
  • Strong presentation skills, ability to build a culture that reflects the vision and mission of AANA, and financial management skills to support the Association strategy within the capital available.
  • Personal and professional ethics beyond reproach.
  • Professional, respectful, and tactful demeanor.
  • Polished verbal communication skills, including interpersonal, presentation, writing and public speaking skills. Ability to communicate complex professional and advocacy issues.
  • Adept at thinking creatively and bringing new ideas and a fresh perspective to the Association’s leadership.
  • Relocation to Chicago-land area is not required.  


  • Bachelor’s degree is required.
  • Post-graduate degree is required.
  • Doctorate degree preferred.


A competitive compensation and benefits package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.


Korn/Ferry shall provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified candidates, and will refer candidates without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected basis.