1. Hultman, Todd PhD, APRN, ACHPN, HPNA President

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"They always say that people reap the benefits of the seeds that have been sown and that is the best statement I can make because what Madalon Armenta started is what I am reaping the benefits from." When asked to reflect on her time as chief executive officer (CEO) of HPNA, a time of extraordinary accomplishment, Judy's first impulse was to express humble gratitude to those who preceded her. Let us suspend that sensibility for a moment and reflect on all that Judy has contributed to HPNA during her tenure as CEO. Judy's blush and embarrassed smile will be the only price paid. And know that it would be impossible to capture all the contributions that Judy has made to HPNA in the past 12 years. Here are a few early highlights. If you, as the reader, recall more, please hold on to these memories as your gift to Judy.

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In June 2000, Judy Lentz was hired by the HPNA Board of Directors to assume a position that had just been vacated by Marty Ayres. Judy was leaving her beloved Sewickley Valley Hospital where she had devoted many years of service. At the time, the recently renamed HPNA had 2815 paid members. The staff included the executive director, the administrative assistant, a part-time database manager, a contract bookkeeper, and a very part-time webmaster.


The office space was located in what can best be described as a dodgy section of Pittsburgh. Staff had to knock on a locked door, announce who they are, and wait to have the door opened. The board had entertained the idea of relocating the office to the District of Columbia but felt that HPNA was embedded in Pittsburgh. As one of her first acts, Judy and her staff investigated new office space, with all staff being asked to give feedback before making the final decision of One Penn Center West Office Park. This inclusiveness would serve as a hallmark of her management strategy.


At the time, the board of directors viewed itself as a working board, with board members filling all committees, producing educational products, and overseeing all aspects of HPNA and with the staff providing regular verbal reports on day-to-day operations. Judy, in collaboration with the board, began to revise the workings of the board, an effort that also reshaped the practices of HPNA in the national office. Committee work was to be completed by members of HPNA, not just by the board. Judy and her staff would oversee operations and activities of HPNA, with the board providing governance as needed. Such collaborative efforts remain in place today.


Judy's other early vision was that a nursing team includes more than the registered nurse. The nursing assistant to the advanced practice nurse are all key members of the nursing team. Hearing feedback from membership, she revised fees to support membership of all the members of the nursing team. She advocated to develop certification examinations that provide opportunities for all members of the team to demonstrate their professionalism. This model of the nursing team remains admired and emulated throughout the field of specialized nursing.


Recognizing the need, Judy began hiring for newly created positions to manage membership and certification, then as now, overseen by two separate boards. The national staff now stands at 15 members, with well-qualified individuals overseeing membership, education, research, chapter development, public policy work, certification, and the work of the HPNF. Her inclusive management style extended to collaboration with other national hospice and palliative care organizations and national nursing societies to identify and develop areas of mutual interest and benefit. This vision and style created the way for advancing palliative nursing politically and scientifically while supporting the education and training of members in the field.


Her staff members in Pittsburgh remain a part of her legacy, and they will serve to carry on the culture that she created during her tenure. These people, nearly all of whom she has hired over the past 11 years, have come to see her as a leader with a vision of increasing access to quality palliative care, including hospice, for all. Judy would confidently state that she has hired the best people for the job. They in turn feel honored to have worked with her. The work environment she created, quite naturally on her part, is one of warmth and mutual support, a true team effort. Each of her staff was coached supportively to always advance to new levels of professionalism. Her queries would begin with "what did we learn from this?" as she searched for critical opportunities for growth. Although never given salary, her husband was also a part of the team, often drafted into action on short notice.


And as for teams, those who know her know that "a die-hard Steelers fan" does not begin to describe her exuberance for Pittsburgh football. On critical days, she would report to work in her favorite black and gold jersey. When relaxing, she would muse about life, family, and the Steelers over a cup of her favorite peach tea.


Her diligence in advancing the field scientifically and politically has taken on the quality of a crusade. The metaphor she has often used is that HPNA is the little engine that could. With each advance for the society, she would remark that one more car is over the hill. And now, with the momentum she has provided, this little engine is accelerating.


Judy would share a brief poem with others, a poem that her staff members now note reflects their sentiments of her. "Some people come into our lives and quietly go. Others stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same." It is quite true; we will never be the same. Thank you, Judy, for planting new seeds.


Todd Hultman, PhD, APRN, ACHPN, HPNA President


With gratitude to Joy Buck, RN, MSN, PhD