Opening Keynote:
                                                               JIM DAVIDSON
                                                    A resilience expert and New York Times best-selling                                                      co-author of The Ledge: An Inspirational Story of                                                          Friendship and Survival, Davidson has been a                                                                climber and expedition leader for over 37 years,
                                                    climbing high peaks on five continents. During his                                                        first Everest attempt in 2015, Jim and his team were t                                                   trapped at Camp 1 by massive earthquakes and                                                              avalanches.

After recovering from this huge setback, he trained even harder and returned in 2017 to summit Mt. Everest. With his teammates, Jim has conducted multiple rescues of sick and injured climbers. Jim has been recognized twice by the US National Park service for his successful volunteer rescue efforts. He survived earthquakes and avalanches on Mt. Everest in 2015.

Jim’s spirit was also tested by a tragic mountaineering accident that forced him to climb alone up an overhanging ice wall to escape from an 80-foot deep glacial crevasse. Jim’s survival epic was made into an episode of the hit TV series
 “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” (Discovery Channel).

In his thrilling keynote presentation, Everest Resilience: Overcoming Adversity and Reaching High Goals, Jim shares hard-won resilience lessons on how you can adapt to change, face uncertainty, overcome challenges and recover from setbacks. Jim distills how to:

  • Cultivate a resilient mindset

  • Leverage your personal resilience

  • Increase your resilience through post-traumatic growth

  • Persevere and become more

Learn more about Jim at

Closing Keynote:                                                               

                TIM CUNNINGHAM

Vice President of Practice and Innovation
at Emory Healthcare, will close the conference delivering
empathy and encouragement with his presentation
Post Traumatic Growth While the Waves Keep Crashing:
Nurse Educators Keep Us Afloat.

Cunningham will engage the audience in storytelling, narrative medicine, and laughter, reflecting with conference attendees on the essential work of nurse educators through this pandemic, while gaining an understanding of the next steps needed to take to care for our teams as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With his performing arts background, Tim performed with Clowns Without Border in more than 20 countries with and served as their executive director (and now board member). It was working in a pediatric ward in pre-earthquake Haiti that inspired Tim to study nursing. He graduated from the Clinical Nurse Leader program at the University of Virginia in 2009 and then worked an emergency/trauma nurse at the UVA Health, Children’s National Medical Center and New York Presbyterian, Cornell. He has worked internationally as a clinician in post-earthquake Haiti; Sierra Leone, during the Ebola outbreak with the organization Partners in Health; and with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. His work as a clown and nurse keeps bringing him back to the central question: What keeps people resilient? 

He completed his Doctorate of Public Health at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. His dissertation focused on psychosocial support of expatriate Ebola aid workers in West Africa, with an emphasis on Narrative Medicine. In 2016, He joined the faculty at UVA with a joint appointment in the School of Nursing and Department of Drama.

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