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Susan O’Leary Giordano ’99 MBA

Chief Nursing Officer, Hackensack University Medical Center at Pascack Valley

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As an adult student pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration, Susan O’Leary attended Montclair State University at nights while also juggling a full time career and family. The New Jersey native received her BSN from the University of Delaware, and then decided to relocate to Manhattan where she worked as a staff nurse in the neurosurgical department for the Cornell Medical Center. After putting her nursing and clinical education to practice she decided to return to New Jersey where she could advance her education and pursue a management position in a hospital environment.

In 1999, she graduated from Montclair State with her MBA and concentration in International Business and in April 2014 became the Chief Nursing Officer at Hackensack University Medical Center at Pascack Valley. Giordano returned to school as an adult student with a specific focus and enjoyed being in class with students who represented a wide variety of fields, which gave her a unique educational experience.

“While working full time and going to school, initially I was hesitant to work on group projects which required me to stay after class, but luckily the collaboration I had with my classmates taught me a lot about how diverse the students are at Montclair State,” she says. “By working with my peers I met people who worked on Wall Street or commuted from Manhattan and I found that their perspective really enhanced the program.”

Going to Montclair State ended up being one of the best educational experiences she could have had in order to gain exposure to a diverse community. It’s this awareness that she now takes to her own work in the medical field.

“Every day I’m faced with people from all different backgrounds and I’m grateful for my education from Montclair State. The campus is a true representation of the people that I work with in the real world and with the line of work that I’m in, this prepared me well,” says Giordano.

Also while at Montclair State, she spent a summer semester abroad, visiting Belgium, France and other areas of Europe. She says that this time abroad taught her a lot about cultural differences that are now a part of her everyday life.

“Looking back, I don’t think that when I studied abroad I realized how valuable that experience would be to me, but doing what I do today, I’m eternally grateful for the time spent and experiences received from Montclair State – both in and out of the classroom,” she says.