General Adams-Ender rose from a staff nurse in the army nurse corps to become the chief executive officer for 22,000 nurses, a brigadier general and director of personnel for the Army Surgeon General. She was vice-president for nursing at the prestigious Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the largest health care facility in the Department of Defense. In 1967, she became the first female in the Army to be awarded the Expert Field Medical Badge. General Adams-Ender also commanded an army base, a position equivalent to city manager, magistrate and mayor of a city. She was responsible for a $90-million budget while providing quality customer services to 85 different constituent groups. She is an educator, lecturer, consultant and leader who has given over 500 presentations to audiences of health care professionals, community leaders, businessmen and women, lawyers, credit union managers and staffs, veterans groups and students both at home and abroad.
General Adams-Ender is President and Chief Executive Officer of Caring About People With Enthusiasm (CAPE) Associates, Inc., a management consulting and inspirational speaking firm. The agency specializes in health care management and health care reform, leadership issues and leader development, cultural diversity, women in the workplace and conflict management and resolution. She is a charismatic, knowledgeable and inspiring speaker and one never leaves her presence without being impressed by these qualities.
General Adams-Ender is Past Chairperson, Board of Directors of the Andrews Federal Credit Union, a Charter Member, Board of Visitors, U.S. Marine Corps University and a former member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS). She has received many awards for her community work and service, including the Roy Wilkins Meritorious Service Award of the NAACP, Gertrude E. Rush Award for Leadership from the National Bar Association, Distinguished Service Medal with Oakleaf Cluster and the Regents’ Distinguished Graduate Award from the University of Minnesota. In 1996, she was named by Working Woman magazine as one of 350 women who changed the world from 1976-1996.
Looking back, it’s still hard to believe I was in the Army during the Vietnam War. Soldiers were forty to a ward, heads wrapped, limbs missing. The terror of my first time surrounded by war’s havoc remains indelible.
Thankfully, there was, as there often is, a saving grace. Her name was Major Clara Adams.
Back then she was our Medical Surgical nursing instructor at Walter Reed. From the moment she walked us onto those wards, her modeling was our greatest gift. Forty-plus years later, I feel fortunate to have been her student during such a crucial time.
She showed us how to not be afraid, lighting up the ward whenever she entered. Not only was she an incredible medical-surgical nursing instructor, she was also an all-around great role model. Her story will show you exactly what I mean by the importance of learning from mentors.
I believe in my heart of hearts that the world is better in countless many ways, because of the spirit and work of this one remarkable leader!