ONS Leadership

ONS is governed by our President Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN, NEA-BC; an elected Board of Directors; and Chief Executive Officer Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN. These dedicated representatives set our strategic direction so that we can best influence oncology nursing and the care of patients with cancer. Each leader has a long history of involvement with ONS, and together, they combine decades of experience in nursing practice, research, administration, and nonprofit leadership.

Laura Fennimore

Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN, NEA-BC

Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, is president of the Oncology Nursing Society. ONS is a professional association of more than 39,000 members, including more than 225 local chapters and advocates for oncology nurses at the national level. Dr. Fennimore is an accomplished leader and educator with more than 30 years of experience in health care management. She brings her real-world experience and executive knowledge to the classroom for both master’s and DNP students in the Health Systems Executive Leadership program as a professor of nursing at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. In her faculty practice, she serves as a consultant for UPMC Health Plan, where she served as the Director of Clinical Programs responsible for case management services for vulnerable populations, including children and adults with complex physical and behavioral health care needs, as well as pregnant women. With other members of the executive team, Dr. Fennimore developed case management strategies and clinical programs to achieve strategic business and financial goals.

She earned her BSN from West Virginia University School of Nursing and both her MSN (with a specialization in oncology nursing) and her DNP (in nursing administration) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.

Dr. Fennimore held several leadership positions at UPMC Presbyterian including clinical instructor, nurse manager, director of oncology disease management, director of nursing, and the director of organizational development and nursing education and research. She served as the ONS Director of Education from 1999-2006.  Dr. Fennimore serves as a faculty member for the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Summit. She has published in the Journal of Nursing Administration, the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, Nursing Clinics of North America, the Journal of Emergency Nursing, and the Journal of Nursing Care Quality.  She has presented her research on oncology nursing and palliative care at the ONS Annual Congress and the Scripps Cancer Care Symposium.

Dr. Fennimore was selected by the ONS Board of Directors to serve as the ONS President from 2018-2020. She previously served as a director of large and treasurer for ONS from 2009-2012. In addition, she is an active member in the American Nurses Association; the American Organization of Nurse Executives; the Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders; the Council on Graduate Education in Nursing; the American Case Management Association; and Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing.

Brenda Nevidjon, RN, MSN, FAAN

Chief Executive Officer
Brenda Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN

Brenda Marion Nevidjon, MSN, RN, FAAN, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS).  Prior to joining the ONS staff, she had an extraordinary nursing career of leadership in service and education.  Through diverse clinical and administrative experiences in Canada, Switzerland, and the United States, she has devoted her energy to bridging practice settings and academic environments to advance patient care, creating innovative work environments, promoting scholarship in practitioners, and developing leaders.  After two decades in oncology clinical and administrative settings, she transitioned to health care executive practice, culminating with her being the first nurse and the first woman to be chief operating officer of Duke University Hospital. Immediately prior to her position at ONS, she was a professor at Duke University School of Nursing.   

Nevidjon has helped develop professional nursing organizations at the local, national, and international levels.  She is past president of ONS and the Oncology Nursing Foundation.  Other board service has included the Association of Community Cancer Centers, the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care, and the National Cancer Policy Forum. Her bachelors is from Duke University School of Nursing, masters from University of North Carolina School of Nursing, and doctoral study at the Fielding Graduate Institute and Duke.  In addition to being a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, she completed the Johnson & Johnson - Wharton Fellows Program in Management for Nurse Executives and the Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Executive Program. Among her awards are the Duke University School of Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award, the ONS Trish Greene Quality of Life Memorial Lectureship, and the American Nursing Association’s Honorary Recognition Award for sustained contribution to the nursing profession.

2019 ONS Board of Directors.

Board of Directors

The ONS Board of Directors is a dedicated group of professionals who serve three-year terms and meet monthly to guide the strategic direction of the Society. Together, they represent decades of experience in oncology nursing clinical care, education, research, and leadership.

To contact members of the Board, please email onsboard@ons.org.

Laura Fennimore, DNP, RN, NEA-BC
President (2018-2020)
Director-at-Large (2017-2020)
Pittsburgh, PA 15218

Heather Thompson Mackey, MSN, RN ANP-BC, AOCN®
Secretary (2019-2021)
Director-at-Large (2018-2021)
Kernersville, NC 27284

Kristin Ferguson, DNP, RN, OCN®
Treasurer (2019-2021)
Director-at-Large (2019-2022)
Washington, DC 20009

Nancy Houlihan, MA, RN AOCN®
Director-at-Large (2019-2022)
New York, NY 10065

Anne M. Ireland, MSN, RN, AOCN®, CENP
Director-at-Large (2018-2021)
Duarte, CA 91010

Susan D. Bruce, MSN, RN, OCN®, AOCNS®, CTTS
Director-at-Large (2018-2021)
Raleigh, NC 27616

Julie D. Painter, MSN, RN, OCN®
Director-at-Large (2017-2020)
Indianapolis, IN 46219-4137

Martha (Marty) Polovich, PhD, RN, AOCN®
Director-at-Large (2019-2022)
Jonesboro, GA 30236

Maggie A. Smith, DNP, MSN/Ed, RN, OCN®
Director-at-Large (2017-2020)
Frankfort, IL 60423

Susan M. Schneider, PhD, RN, AOCN®, FAAN
Immediate Past President (2018-2020)
Durham, NC 27710

Leadership Development Committee

The Leadership Development Committee consists of seven members, appointed by the ONS Board of Directors, who oversee all of ONS's leadership development initiatives. The committee's objectives are to:

  • Identify potential and emerging leaders within the ONS membership 
  • Support and mentor members interested in national leadership 
  • Provide leadership and governance resources 
  • Recruit and slate candidates for the ONS Board of Directors 
  • Oversee the ONS election process according to the operating procedures

Additionally, the committee is an advocate of voting among our membership and continuously looks for innovative ways to increase voting during our national elections. Get more information about the ONS Election and the candidate materials.

Committee Members

Margaret Hansen Frogge, RN, MS
Committee Member (2018-2021)
Chair (2019-2020)
Kankakee, IL 

Connie H. Yarbro, RN, MS, FAAN
Committee Member (2017-2020)
Destin, FL 

Bertie A. Ford, RN, MS
Committee Member (2018-2021)
Westerville, OH 

Anna Liza Rodriguez, MSN, MHA, RN, OCN®, NEA-BC  
Committee Member (2018-2021)
Franklin, TN 

Donald “Chip” Bailey, PhD, RN, FAAN
Committee Member (2019-2022)
Durham, NC 

Michele Gaguski, MSN, RN, AOCN®, CHPN, NE-BC, APN
Committee Member (2019-2022)
Somers Point, NJ

Susan Newton, MS, APRN
Committee Member (2019-2022)
Dayton, OH