Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 34(2) June 2021 : 10-10.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2021.26561


It was not long after I took on the role of chief executive officer of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) in May 2017 that Dr. Marcy Saxe-Braithwaite contacted me to talk about the future of nursing leadership and specifically of the Academy of Canadian Executive Nurses (ACEN). I had known Marcy since we worked together in Neurosurgery at Sunnybrook a lifetime ago and when she contacted me, she was president of ACEN. We soon entered a lengthy conversation about the challenges of sustaining volunteer-membership professional nursing associations, and about our plans at CNA to establish a leadership hub for the country.

In the absence of any other national structure for affiliation around nursing leadership, CNA established the Canadian Academy of Nursing in Fall 2019. It is the first pan-Canadian organization dedicated to identifying, educating, supporting and celebrating nursing leaders across all the regulated categories and all domains of practice. The Academy is designed to educate, empower and support nurses to lead, advocate, innovate and influence public policy that leads to sustainable change. With that structure in place, and executive nursing leadership one of the five inaugural communities of practice, it soon became clear that the original intentions of ACEN could be migrated to the Academy, creating space for executive nurse leaders to affiliate in a sustainable way without the mounting challenges of operating a stand-alone association.

I thank the members of ACEN in the organization’s final year for joining the new Canadian Academy of Nursing as founding members. Your participation allowed us to be affiliated with established and respected nurse leaders from the first day. Many thanks to the ACEN Board members who helped us nail down all the details regarding the closure of ACEN and for the tremendous gift of the Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership ( CJNL), which will continue to be published by Longwoods but now under CNA’s banner. It will maintain its independent editorial and publishing status, working with an editorial board under Longwoods.

I want to offer special thanks to Marcy Saxe- Braithwaite and Jody Layer, both of whom did a lot of the heavy lifting to confirm details of the corporation’s history as we all did our due diligence together. ACEN was “purchased” in a legal sense by CNA on January 5, 2021, at which time ACEN agreed to cease operations and transferred CJNL to CNA. We reached an agreement with Longwoods on February 8, 2021 , and work is now under way to make the journal available to our members.

These are landmark events for both of our organizations, and we were pleased to have Marcy, as well as Matthew, Rebecca and Dianne from Longwoods join our board meeting for a thank-you in March 2021. Dr. Lynn Nagle, the journal’s current Editor-in- Chief , and Dr. Ruth Martin-Meisner, who will take over as Editor-in-Chief in the fall of 2021, also joined us for a round of thanks from the CNA Board.

These historic events pay respect to the founders and members who built ACEN over many years, and to the strong and respectful relationship with the Hart family and the larger Longwoods team. We are thrilled to have the energy and leadership of ACEN members with the Academy , and I anticipate a long and productive relationship with the entire Longwoods team. In a year that has been so difficult for the world, it has never been more important to share good news and organizational wins – this is a very important one , and I thank all who have helped bring us to this day! 

About the Author(s)

Michael Villeneuve, MSc, BScN, RN, FAAN, Chief Executive Officer,


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