By Megha Shah, BSN, RN, OCN®, social media chair for the Chicago Western Suburbs ONS Chapter

Exhilarating Chapter Leadership Weekend Was the Perfect Combination of Learning and Fun
Chicago Western Suburbs ONS Chapter leaders pictured from left: Heather Pruim, Chair of Community Outreach; Megha Shah, Chair of Social Media; and Julie Thomas, Awards Chair

One word comes to mind to describe the 2019 ONS Chapter Leadership Weekend (CLW): exhilarating. As a chapter board member attending for the first time, I learned new information, networked and met with dedicated chapter leaders, and of course got to eat some delicious food while in Pittsburgh.

This year’s CLW weekend was hosted at Wyndham Grand in Pittsburgh, PA, at the end of July. Friday evening kicked off in the ballroom of the hotel with dinner and the Ninth Annual Parade of Chapters. Leaders from each chapter held banners with their chapter names and paraded through the ballroom while other leaders cheered on. It was a fun, exciting spectacle that made me proud to be a part of ONS chapter leadership. The parade also raised more than $55,000 for the Oncology Nursing Foundation (ONF) that will be used for the various scholarships that ONF offers

After an energizing yoga session ONF sponsored on Saturday morning, I was thrilled to listen to a truly inspirational speaker, Dr. Diane ‘Dee’ Flaherty, talk about claiming leadership through defining leadership, management, and qualities of good followers. She also spoke about emotional intelligence and how self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills affect it. In a town hall session, ONS President Laura Fennimore, Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation President Diane Otte, and ONF President Tracy Gosselin talked about each organization’s goals and future steps. Leadership Development Committee (LDC) Chair Margaret Hansen Frogge shared what the committee does and how it can help chapters grow. ONS CEO Brenda Nevidjon about preparing for ONS’s future.

For breakout sessions, I attended “Engaging Student Nurses and Schools of Nursing” led by Patrick Flynn, Erin Dickman, and Mary Kate Eanniello and “Train the Trainer” led by LDC. Speakers in the engaging student nurses session discussed ONS student memberships and their benefits, strategies of getting a student member connected to your chapter, and other ideas for student nurses. The trainer session dug deep into what makes someone a good leader, resources for chapters, and how to get involved at a higher level.

Sunday morning, I attended how-to sessions on “Using Technology for Member Engagement” led by Shannon Holzer and “Chapter Operations 101” by Brian Taylor. Shannon Holzer, the chapter activities coordinator, talked about how to navigate the ONS chapter website, WebEx, and new Board communities website. Brian Taylor, manager of chapter relations, discussed chapter requirements and the chapters’ relations to the national ONS organization.

The best part of the whole weekend came after the Sunday breakout sessions, when I had an opportunity to tour ONS headquarters. The multistory building offers amazing perks such as a giant cafeteria looking out to an equally large patio, onsite gym, library, ONS store, and conference/planning rooms. The building’s walls are decorated with artwork by employees and flyers from past ONS Congresses. If I was living in Pittsburgh, I would definitely apply to work at ONS headquarters.

My exhilarating weekend ended with an unfortunate 5-hour flight delay, but the time allowed me reflect on my wonderful experience over the last few days. Information on all sessions is available on online if others want to reflect as well. I would love to hear your thoughts and tips on what your chapter is doing to increase the use of technology and encourage new membership. Email your feedback at