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Michelle Davies |The Journal Gazette
Chris Forcucci, second from left, discusses new programs with staff in her office at Aging & In-Home Services.
IN The Lead/ Chris Forcucci

Advocate leads by example

Nurse, executive at Aging & In-Home Services prefers to stay involved

Forcucci

Chris Forcucci, 55, is a registered nurse and senior vice president for Integrated Services & Research at Aging & In-Home Services of Northeast Indiana.

Community and leadership involvement: Member, Northeast Indiana Organization of Nurse Executives; member, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Xi Nu-at-Large local chapter); chair, Northeast Indiana Caregiver Coalition; member, Fort Wayne Community Research Consortium; member, The Pain Workgroup, Center for Nursing Excellence in Long-Term Care, a national partnership of professionals who work in geriatric care.

Most recent accomplishment: Being selected as one of 12 nurses nationwide to be a Fellow in the Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy sponsored by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. The program pairs Leadership Mentors and Fellows in a curriculum designed to empower nurses to lead their organizations through challenging times regarding elder care. “My program goal is to develop a stakeholder group and work with them to identify gaps in services to Family Caregivers, and then identify collaborative opportunities to fill those gaps,” Forcucci said in an email response.

What makes a leader: Passion. “You must believe in and value your mission to effectively encourage others to participate in it,” she said. “I also believe a leader must be willing to get in the trenches with their team, to truly know and understand the details of how the mission will be accomplished and to know and best utilize the skills of the team members.”

Leadership traits you most value: Teamwork, allowing others to shine, active listening, taking informed risks, and a sense of humor.

Best leadership book you’ve read: “The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations” by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. “I just really liked the way they lay things out and the process of looking at leadership in five different categories. … It was easy for me to visualize, and it’s a very positive approach to leadership,” Forcucci said.

Best ways to overcome self-doubt: “For me, seeing my mentors have moments of self-doubt has helped me realize that we all suffer at times from “impostor syndrome” – feeling like we are in over our heads,” Forcucci said. “Some research suggests that women and nurses may be especially prone to this feeling.

“When I face a situation that has me questioning myself, I acknowledge the feeling, stop the negative thoughts, focus on the situation and how best to approach it, and on what I can learn from it.” Each situation offers a chance to build character and learn, she said.

Time-management tips: Start early. Forcucci likes to arrive at work when it’s still quiet and she can focus with fewer chances for interruption. Delegating is also important. “I believe in getting team members what they need to do their jobs – tools, training, etc. – and then letting them do it,” she said.

Role model(s) and why: Her current CEO, Connie Benton Wolfe, at Aging & In-Home Services of Northeast Indiana. Forcucci said the CEO’s vision of seeking partnerships in the changing world of health care brought her to Indiana as part of the Aging & In-Home Services translational research team.

A second role model is Keela Herr, a professor at the University of Iowa College of Nursing, who is her Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy Mentor and previous supervisor whose academic leadership in geriatric pain management is internationally recognized.

Lastly, she cites her late grandmother, Lillian Canfield. Forcucci said her grandmother taught her the value of positive reinforcement, which she hopes she can emulate now that she is a grandmother.

Describe one leadership challenge and how you resolved it: Moving to a new community in a new state after spending the previous 30 years in the same location. Forcucci said she did not consider “the amount of knowledge,” such as contacts and processes, she was leaving, and the time required to rebuild her professional network. She has spent about nine months meeting co-workers and people in the local community. “With those meetings,” she said, “I have begun the process of building long-term collaborative relationships necessary to success in my job.”

What are your goals: To help Aging & In-Home Services continuing to develop quality, evidence-based programming to serve northeast Indiana. “I want to continue to work with other health care providers to develop collaborative efforts that will provide support to older adults, individuals with disabilities, and their caregivers,” she said.

Hobbies: Gardening, reading.

Family: Husband, Tony Forcucci; son and daughter-in-law and grandson in Florida and daughter and son-in-law in Iowa.

In the Lead is a monthly profile of Fort Wayne area residents in various leadership roles.

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