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American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)


During a two-year period beginning in late 2011, the AANA found itself with a string of key staff openings. These included Director of Development & Marketing, Senior Director of Professional Practice, COO, Senior Director of Finance, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications, and Senior Director of Educational and Professional Development.

Three of these were existing vacancies but growth within the organization had created three new opportunities. These new positions posed a particular challenge for the AANA’s limited administrative resources, and each demanded a niche set of skills.

The AANA was firm in its desire for candidates who had experience in healthcare for all placements. Additionally, the organization was migrating critical software systems, and it wanted expertise in that as well.


With this assignment, the Campbell & Company Executive Search team found itself in a unique situation. Many emerging skills were beyond the team’s usual networks, requiring us to respond to the project with a new approach.

We first conducted in-depth research into the nurse anesthetist profession to better understand the field. Our findings, which identified how corporate and/or academic leadership could be translated into healthcare association leadership, helped formulate our search.

Great care was taken to develop job definitions that would set AANA up for its long-term strategies. Reporting structures needed to be defined. Job descriptions needed to be written. Competitive benefits packages needed to be designed. In the case of the COO, that meant presenting three different types of COO models to AANA’s leadership. In the end, a hybrid position was designed.

“The Campbell & Company Executive Search team took the time to understand our work style, our expectations, and our organizational practices. They seemed to get us right away. Ultimately, this led us to the right people.”

– Wanda Wilson, Executive Director / CEO, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)

Our Executive Search team guided the AANA through the seach process, providing one-on-one guidance to ease concerns and focus the search. By building consensus, we were able to help place new, capable leaders onto the executive team.