Member Spotlight | Carla Stanley

Sep 10, 2022 | Articles, Member Spotlight

Chief Nurse Executive with Cal Corrections Health Care Services.

Carla Stanley was honored with a 2022 Service Award at this year’s CAHL Annual Meeting, held in August 2022. 

Carla learned servant leadership at an early age; her father was a Pastor who started his church in their kitchen. She takes joy in serving as both a formal and informal mentor to colleagues and peers at all levels as they work on their leadership roles. Give a book, she suggests, share a contact – there are many ways to be a resource.

“I’m just driven to help other people get to where they’re trying to go,” she says. 

A lifetime member of the National Black Nurses Association and past president of the Central Valley Black Nurses Association, she’s passionate about the advancement of Black nurses and the health and wellness of BIPOC people, and all residents of her home city of Fresno. As a 2022-2023 American Nurses Association Fellow for Advocacy and Policy, she supports the need to address the issue of Racism in Nursing (RiN) to ensure there are culturally competent nurses in every community and in every healthcare setting – but most importantly, to bring the voice of nursing to the table in government. “If you’re not at the table,” she quotes, “you’re on the menu.”

Carla is currently working on her PhD as a full-time student at USCF – in part because she wants to encourage and inspire other nurses of color. “If you can see me, you can be me,” she says. “I want to stay relevant in my education, in my profession, and in healthcare leadership. The only way that continues to happen for me is if I continue to learn and grow.”

Could you share a “CAHL Moment” with us?

“In 2018, I received an ACHE Executive Program Scholarship (which greatly enriched my personal and professional life). While there, I met and made a life-long friend of Kris Drake (who is also a Fellow). Fast forward, Kris Drake and I have shared contacts, resources, and even job opportunities. A few weeks ago, Kris informed me that he would be vacationing in California and asked, “when we could connect?” I happened to mention the CAHL event recently held in Walnut Creek. He did not know that I had invited another colleague, and they both arrived before I did. When I got there, my friend, Ike Umuna, RN, was walking around being introduced to other attendees by Kris, who had seen him seated alone and went up to introduce himself. My invitation sparked an interest in Ike, and he is now looking into CAHL membership and other leadership events to attend. 

This is the type of CAHL experience that I dream about and would like to see more of – this type of warm welcoming of strangers in a group of professionals wherever there is a CAHL Event. There have to be more Kris Drakes of the world who approach the Ike Umonas of the world.”

Call her if you need …

Carla is open to being a resource to CAHL members in multiple ways: 

  • Clinical expert. She has 30+ years as an RN in acute critical care and has been licensed in 7 states. She’s served in every role from the bedside in the inner city of Gary Indiana, to division director, senior VP of clinical services, chief nursing officer, and now chief nurse executive with California Corrections Health Care Services
  • Expert panelist. She’s multi-board certified: FACHE for healthcare management. NEABC (nurse exec advanced board certified), and NEBC.
  • Culturally diverse board of director positions. Her firsthand, clinically-rich lived examples can help in the pursuit of equitable delivery on the AHRQ 6 domains of care. “I want to be on the front lines of that continuing to happen, because it will continue to impact not only our communities, but our country as well, if we allow any marginalized group to suffer with health care while we are the richest country on earth.”

What motto or quote resonates with you as a leader?

  • “Evil prevails when good men or women do nothing”
  •  “It’s ok to fall as long as you fall forward”
  •  “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
  • “If not now, when? And if not you, then who?”