• Nancy Eckert

    Nancy Eckert

    President & CEO, LifeSouth Community Blood Center

    As a Gator alum who received her degree in medical technology, Nancy Eckert worked at UF Health Shands Hospital specializing in blood banking. She served as a hospital transfusion supervisor and manager before joining the LifeSouth Community Blood Centers team as president and CEO. Eckert is motivated by her hard-working team and inspired by the ability to help all of the local patients in need of blood.

    “Success is an interesting word and is measured differently depending on who you ask,” said Eckert. “I’ve never really worked to be successful. I work to achieve and accomplish what needs to be done. I am blessed with a few talents and abilities that have served me well. I strive not to waste those given talents and success means I haven’t.”

    What does it mean to be Fierce?

    Fierce means you have the courage to defend and act on your beliefs and convictions. Fierce means persistence and the willingness to take on the difficult. Fierce means not afraid to accept responsibility.

    What does success, achievement and accomplishment mean to you?

    Success is an interesting word and is measured differently depending on who you ask. I never really worked to be “successful.” I work to achieve and accomplish what needs to be done. I am blessed with a few talents and abilities that have served me well. I strive not to waste those given talents. “Success ” means I haven’t wasted those talents.

    What motivates you in the morning?

    The wonderful team I work with everyday motivates me. Some I have worked with for decades and some for just a few years. Working with a team is necessary but can be extremely complicated in the ever- changing environment we find ourselves in today. However, mutual respect and humor makes it possible.

    What or who is inspiring you right now? Why?

    Our mission, here at LifeSouth. The blood center has always been providing for the patient needs. Patient needs are met every day by the continued willingness of the volunteers who donate blood. So, the patient is my focus, but the blood donor is my inspiration.

    What was the best decision you’ve made? What’s the worst?

    Marrying my husband. He has been my best friend for as long as we have known each other. It wasn’t a difficult decision. In fact, I don’t think it was a decision at all. It was just meant to be.

    What has been your biggest obstacle and how have you overcome it?

    I’m a shy person around people I don’t know. I haven’t overcome it. I recognize it and work with it.

    How do you address negativity in your life and in business?

    Recognize it and hit it head on. That’s true no matter where the source, which can be me. I try to determine if frustration is the bases for the negativity. If so, address the issue and solve the problem if possible.

    Is there a particular instance or occurrence that you credit for building your confidence and self-esteem?

    In my mid-20’s, I realized I was doing it. I graduated from the university, I was succeeding at my job and I was a good wife and mother. I concentrated on what was important.

    How do you empower other women?

    Remove as many barriers as possible and give encouragement. Nothing promotes success like having success. I try to allow lessons to be learned from their mistakes.

    What change do you want to see in your industry?

    The end of the “boys club” at the executive level. The problem with the informal social club is that those in it don’t even know there is a barrier. As a society we are making headway, but it takes time. It takes generations.

    Do you have any advice for young women as they try to achieve their goals?

    Persistence and flexibility. Life is a marathon and there are many roadblocks. Find the detours and get back on track. My mother would frequently remind me with the phrase, “Who told you life was fair?” She would let me complain and even cry, but not for long. Just get on with it.

    What do you want to be remembered for?

    My staff surprised with the following words. “Thanks for converting our mistakes into lessons, pressure into productivity and skills into strengths. You really know how to bring out the best in us. ”

    How to you defy the current stereotypes, stigmas and double standards that women have today?

    I guess I have defied stereotypes, stigmas and double standards, but I never set out to do so. I just accepted them as one of those things. I didn’t let them stop me. Sometimes I had to go around them or find a way to use them if possible. The best way to defy them is to be successful.