General Session Speakers

Get ready to learn and be inspired by our expert, nationally-acclaimed speakers and facilitators.

Opening General Education Session
It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy

Mike Abrashoff 

Mike Abrashoff 

Don’t miss this inspiring story of innovative leadership and organizational transformation.

When Mike Abrashoff took command of the USS Benfold, the ship’s performance ranked at rock-bottom. Worse, the crew didn’t feel safe should they be called into action. Determined to improve performance, but without the power to hire, fire, or promote personnel, Abrashoff focused on what he could change: the ship’s culture.

His innovative approach broke from the traditional command-and-control leadership style and sought to see the ship from the eyes of his crew. He created a guiding set of principles he calls Grassroots Leadership. The result was an empowered and engaged team that turned the ship into the Navy’s top performer.

People at every level in business relate to Abrashoff’s dilemma being held accountable for results without having the ability to make the rules.

His results-oriented approach equips organizations with:

  • Strategies, tactics, and tools necessary to unleash innovation

  • Lead significant change

  • Increase operational performance

Publications from Fast Company to the Harvard Business Review have heralded this remarkable story and Abrashoff’s first book, It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, is a best seller with nearly one million copies in print.

FL!P: Creative Strategies for Turning Challenge into Opportunity, and Change into Competitive Advantage

Peter Sheahan 

Peter Sheahan 

Are you looking to exploit the opportunity that change brings?

  • Embrace change and break free from thinking that made you successful in the past, but could undermine your success in the future

  • Re-think competitive advantage; leverage intangibles to manufacture tangible points of difference in the market Improve your margins by driving non-sexy innovation, and finding new and better ways to do what you do

  • Turn chaos into opportunity by leading the market in response to new regulation, customer expectations and technology Be inspired to take the intelligent risks required to innovate and drive change

Peter is a successful entrepreneur and CEO in the trenches known internationally for inspiring innovative business thinking and creating lasting behavior change. Peter is recognized internationally as a leading business thinker and has advised executives and leaders for clients that include Google, Goldman Sachs, Hilton Hotels, Harley Davidson and GlaxoSmithKline through his thought leadership practice.

AORN Foundation Day General Session

Paula Graling, DNP, RN, CNOR, CNS, FAAN

New Edutainment Format
Facilitator: Paula Graling, DNP, RN, CNOR, CNS, FAAN 

Are you ready to laugh, have fun, and learn? Attendees will be divided into four huge teams. This fast-paced session will pit your team against other teams in the room. Cartoons, questions, and real-life situations will be presented, and each team will respond. Listen carefully, there may be some twists and turns. During this session, you will walk away with three best practices for use in the perioperative setting, and apply your knowledge of best practices to case scenarios.

Closing Session: Striving for Excellence in the Perioperative Arena

Vivian Watson, RN, CNOR

Vivian Watson, RN, CNOR 

With over 50 years of nursing practice, Vivian has seen it all! Vivian will explore her journey as a perioperative registered nurse with us. You will be inspired to think about your professional career and the need for dedication/rededication to the critical role every perioperative nurse plays in the delivery of safe patient care. She will challenge each of you to be the very best you can be for each patient and their family.

Vivian C. Watson, RN, CNOR, is a retired registered nurse who spent more than 50 years in nursing practice, including emergency nursing, critical care, and perioperative nursing. Watson has spent more than 30 years in the OR as staff nurse, director, and an educator. Watson speaks regionally and nationally on motivational subjects. She functions in the role of consultant, teacher, and mentor to a host of organizations and facilitates management retreats for various organizations. Watson has served on the AORN Board of Directors and currently serves as the AORN Ombudsman. She received the national mentorship award, an honor bestowed by her peers, for unselfish giving of her time, knowledge, and experience to inspire nurses. In 2008, Watson received the Jerry G. Peers Distinguished Service Award at the 55th Annual AORN Congress in Anaheim, California. This award recognizes an individual's significant contribution to the growth, progress, and welfare of AORN.

Don’t miss Vivian’s book signing on Tuesday from 9-11am! Her book, titled A Passionate Journey: Overcoming Adversity – Realizing a Dream can be purchased at the bookstore onsite at the conference.


Guidelines for Perioperative Practice


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