TOP 25 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: Diane Baldi

Diane Baldi believes success is measured in how one uses his or her unique gifts to serve others.

"We each need to figure out our unique way to make the world a better place, and material or professional success will naturally follow," she explained.

Baldi is the chief executive officer (CEO) at Hospice of the Sacred Heart, a registered nurse, a wife, a mother and a grandmother. She has worked for four decades in health care in northeast Pennsylvania.

As CEO, she is responsible for an agency that spans nine counties to provide end-of-life care to terminally ill patients and their families and caregivers, caring for patients in private homes, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities and group home settings. She is responsible for overseeing the care of patients and for the management of 100 staff members spread across the nine-county territory.

"I spend as much time caring for the needs of our staff as I do for our patients and families," she said. "Without a compassionate, caring professional staff, we would not have an agency, and they represent Hospice of the Sacred Heart in all they do and say throughout their day," she explained.

Through her job, she has made connections with others in allied health care, mental health and social services agencies that have enriched her own work so much she has felt the need to participate on their board/advisory boards or in their organizations.

"Areas of interest close to my heart include children and their welfare, the safety and health of women and promulgation of health and wellness in my hometown," she said.

"If luck is where opportunity meets preparation, then I guess you could say I got here with a bit of luck," she jested. "I have always prided myself on being open to meeting new challenges."

Baldi is a graduate of Mercy School of Nursing and attended Marywood University.

"Most of my important learning took place in the rooms of the sick and dying patients in my care," she said. "There is no substitute for what you can learn from patients and families. I have been privileged to witness what unconditional love and bravery looks like."

You also have to surround yourself with people who champion your success and do the same for them, she pointed out.

Her mentors include Dr. Frank A. Bucci, Jr., the chairman of the hospice's board of directors who mentored her in an executive and business role from the beginning, and the late Bruna Cruciani RN on the critical but loving role of the nurse caring for patients as a young oncology nurse at Mercy Hospital in Scranton.

Baldi strives to understand and live out the difference between wisdom and understanding.

"Wisdom is the experience of the heart and understanding is the experience of the mind," she explained. You need both to be a leader and you need to know the difference between them to lead successfully."

She has been married to her best friend and greatest supporter, Mike, for 37 years. Together they have two daughters, a son and five grandchildren.

Baldi is on the board of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, state board of Nursing Home Administrators and Friendship House.

She also received the Community Award from the Lackawanna County Commission on Women.

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