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Leader spotlight: Holly Nickerson, RN

She began her career at Asante as a CNA fresh out of college. Now she occupies an office in the corporate building, where she oversees Asante’s quality and patient safety efforts.

Nickerson began her career with Asante in 2006 like many others, as a certified nursing assistant. Over years, she expanded her education and advanced within the organization to become Asante’s first vice president of Quality and Patient Safety. Beneath her friendly nature and quick laugh, Nickerson has gained a reputation for meeting challenges and getting results.

How do you see your new role? My new role is very exciting. I have the privilege of serving an organization that is known for its high quality and outstanding care. My role is to continue that work through engagement and team collaborations. Strategically, it is important for me to understand key drivers for internal and external performance in quality.

How do you define leadership? A close mentor once defined the different spaces in which one leads. You can lead from the front, the side and from the back. During your leadership journey it’s necessary to understand when and where you take on those roles. Each of those leadership space have great value in a team.

Nickerson’s happy place: a Portland Timbers game.

What is your leadership style? Authentic, vulnerable. I like to connect and understand people. I remember taking my first leadership test and I ranked off the charts in affiliative leadership style. While it is true that connections and relationships are very important to me, I place high value on open and honest feedback.

What made you want to move from nursing to management? A role became available and no one else wanted it. I was early in my nursing career and very scared, but I have no regrets.

How do you prefer to communicate? Text is the easiest way to get a hold of me. I prefer in person communication.

When do you have time to hold a busy job, raise a family and pursue higher education? Education is so critically important. Whether it is formal or informal you should never stop taking opportunities to learn. In life you make time for what you want.

Who has taught you the most at Asante? The list of people is too long. I value the mentors I have within the organization. So many people willing to give me the gift of their time and critical feedback.

As a child, what did you see yourself doing when you grew up? I wanted to be history professor. I loved watching The History Channel with my dad and thought I would grow up and teach history.

Magic Nickerson

What would surprise people about you? I have significant social anxiety. I get very anxious presenting or speaking in front of people.

Favorite movie: Anything with Tom Hanks. I find him very cathartic.

Favorite book:  Brene Brown’s “Braving the Wilderness.”

Favorite music: 1970s classic rock.  I really love Bachman-Turner Overdrive – BTO, Stealers Wheel, AC/DC.

Favorite hobby: I love the Portland Timbers and Thorns. We have season tickets. Going to live professional soccer games is the best. We also love camping and floating down a good river on a hot summer day.



  • BA in nursing, Oregon Health & Science University
  • MBA in health care management, OHSU and Portland State University
  • DNP in executive nursing leadership, Baylor University (2021)

Past roles at Asante

  • Director, Quality Management and Accreditation
  • Coordinator, Continuous Improvement
  • Clinical coordinator, Cardiac Intensive Care
  • RN, Critical Care
  • CNA


Husband, Joel; children Jack and Harper; bull terriers Magic and Sugar

Community involvement

  • Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, quality and safety committee
  • Northwest Safety and Quality Partnership’s CNO and Quality Leader Learning Collaborative, chair
  • Rogue Valley Timbers Soccer Club board member and soccer coach
  • DNV GL Healthcare Advisory Board’s strategic committee
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If you need answers for a personal work matter, please contact the author or department directly instead of leaving a comment.

2 Comments. Leave new

  • Mickey Slack
    March 9, 2021 11:02 am

    Holly is definitely a Rock Star!

  • Rochelle Webster
    March 9, 2021 4:30 pm

    Amazing leadership demonstrated with the COVID response & vaccine program! Seemed like Holly was in the front, sides & back all at the same time.


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