Award of Excellence: Leadership

The Leadership Award of Excellence recognizes one AWHONN member each year who made a significant individual contribution to the specialty of women’s health, obstetric or neonatal nursing. The awardee will demonstrate leadership efforts within a division, system, or community setting in order to effect change in alignment with AWHONN’s mission and standards. The award is presented at the national convention each year.

The category recognizes leadership efforts in which system or policy changes are developed, implemented, and/or advocated. These leadership efforts impact the population health of women and newborns and are implemented at the health systems level, or the chapter/section/national level. Leadership efforts target a wide scope of nursing professionals, health professionals, or the public/population. Examples of eligible candidates may include: nursing department directors; nursing administrators, or nurses with demonstrated political activity beyond employment requirement. Current members of the Board of Directors may identify potential applicants although they are not authorized to nominate or submit reference letters for candidates.

The candidate must be nominated by an AWHONN member. Applications will be processed and considered when a completed application is received. See pre-application worksheet for additional details.


  • Registered nurse; current or retired
  • Full AWHONN member for at least three years prior to nomination
  • In the year of nomination, full or specialty membership is required


  • Advocates for optimal care of women and newborns through leadership efforts, which translate to system change.
  • History of individual contribution to promote the profession of women’s or newborn’s health nursing within a system, culture, or division.
  • Describe the advocacy or leadership contribution which promotes AWHONN’s mission.
  • History of individual contribution to promote women’s or newborn’s health nursing on the local, state, or federal political arenas beyond employment requirements.
  • Integrates AWHONN’s mission and standards in their contribution to women’s and newborn’s health through advocacy efforts.
  • Ability to mobilize colleagues in support of a legislative or health policy issue that is reflective of AWHONN’s mission and standards.
  • Enhances colleagues’ ability to influence health policy through mentoring and educational activities.
  • Demonstrates the following leadership attributes:
    • Visionary and passionate regarding AWHONN and health promotion of women and newborns
    • Models professional behavior
    • Motivates excellence in others encouraging opportunities for growth, change and development
    • Inspires confidence and celebrates the success of others above one’s own success
    • Communicates complex ideas in simplistic manner
    • Lives the message: creative, resourceful, confident and passionate

Components necessary for completion of application.

  1. Application Form completed by the candidate
  2. Uploaded current resume/Curriculum Vitae of candidate
  3. Personal essay of 300 words or less from the candidate describing the contribution made in the leadership award category utilizing the delineated criteria.