NAWBO :: The “Ann Landers” of Nursing, Donna Cardillo, Continues to Grow Her Business in a Niche Market

The “Ann Landers” of Nursing, Donna Cardillo, Continues to Grow Her Business in a Niche Market

In an economy where jobs are lost each day, the need for qualified nursing professionals continues to grow. This week is National Nurses Week, which begins on May 6 and honors the field of nursing. Enter NAWBO member Donna Cardillo whose organization Cardillo and Associates has been working with nurses since the ‘90s.

Donna is also known as The Career Guru for Nurses, because she helps them explore the many opportunities available in their profession as the demand for nurses continues to grow. “The highly publicized shortage of nurses has made nursing one of the hottest career opportunities today,” she says. “It provides excellent job prospects, career longevity and the chance to make a lasting difference in the world.”

In recent years, nursing schools have reached full capacity, with thousands of students being turned away or waiting up to three years for admission. “A growing number of those entering the nursing field are men, who are finally realizing that nursing offers a good salary and benefits, meaningful work and opportunity for advancement,” says Donna. “Other new entries into the field include vast numbers of people choosing nursing as a second career, coming from such diverse professions as banking, electrician, sales, entrepreneurship, technology and more.”
Starting in 1995 with six seminars in NJ, Donna began her business by giving advice on a variety of issues to nurses. Today, Donna is a leading expert on career development for nurses and is a professional keynote speaker, author, consultant and columnist. Her career combines more than 20 years of clinical, managerial and business experience. Known as “Dear Donna,” she gives daily online career advice to nurses at and writes a monthly column for Nursing Spectrum and NurseWeek magazines. She’s also author of the book, “Your First Year as a Nurse—Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” from Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses,” from the Gannett Healthcare Group.

“When I started my business, joining NAWBO was one of the smartest things I did. I attribute a large part of my success to it. The education, networking, mentoring, support and resources have been invaluable,” she says. “I became active in my chapter early on and that helped to accelerate my business growth by gaining visibility, credibility and closer association with other members, the media, politicians and community leaders.”

It wasn’t long before Donna got more involved by becoming the Education Chair for her chapter. In her first year, she established a lending library consisting of more than 50 professional and personal development books and tapes that members can borrow at meetings. She also established pre-meeting programs at monthly dinner meetings, allowing members to share their expertise while gaining public speaking experience. Additionally, Donna established a youth outreach program. Members would go into local high schools to speak about business ownership, developing a work ethic, and delivering a message that it is possible to achieve anything you put your mind to. Chapter members were regularly asked to address Future Business Leaders of America clubs, general high school groups, and Girl Scouts. After two years, Donna became chapter president. During her two-year term, chapter membership increased by almost 50 percent, making it the largest chapter in New Jersey with almost 145 members. Donna was also integral to the founding and coordination of The President’s Club, which brings together past presidents, the current president, and the president-elect of the NAWBO-Central Jersey chapter. The club exists to keep past presidents engaged in the chapter and to serve as an advisory board to the current and incoming president.
You can learn more about Donna and her business at or