Hometown Heroes: Ellen Sullivan

Ellen Sullivan RN
Ellen Sullivan RN

Although her current day job as business manager of The BairFind Foundation has nothing to do with nursing, Ellen Sullivan of San Marco has always kept her hand in by keeping her RN (Registered Nurse) license active. Desiring to answer a call to former nurses to assist with COVID-19 testing, she became a hometown hero of sorts by finishing up a three-month, 176-hour clinical refresher course in December. The course was offered by Florida State College Jacksonville, the official provider for the Board of Nursing.

“There was a call for former nurses with the sheer volume of testing for COVID-19,” said Sullivan. “I’ve always maintained an active RN license, however, it was a long time since I’ve provided direct patient care,” she said, noting the course through FSCJ Workforce Planning was comprehensive and thorough. To complete the refresher course Sullivan was required to devour 1,000 pages of text, answer 4,050 questions, take part in 25 clinical simulations and labs, successfully pass five timed-comprehensive exams, and study pharmacology. “I loved it. I highly recommend it,” she said. “Now, I am prepared to help in my community should the need arise.”

Before she began her work with The BairFind Foundation, a nonprofit that helps search for missing children, Sullivan was an entrepreneur, who had crossed over the sectors of nursing, healthcare, and nonprofits.

Ellen Sullivan RN
Ellen Sullivan RN

As an RN, she began her career as a critical care nurse.  She then gained broad corporate experience in healthcare quality and compliance by working over 20 years at Florida Blue. Eventually, Sullivan left her executive role to invest in the first Doctors Express Urgent Care clinic in Florida. Later, after she successfully sold her business, she became CEO of BairFind in its national expansion as an official charity partner of Minor League Baseball. Although she stepped back as BairFind’s CEO when she took on a role to help Jacksonville Women’s Business Center as its former director, she continues to serve as BairFind’s business manager. She also currently serves as a consultant on innovation projects.

Sullivan has served on many boards of directors, including ATHENA International, JAX Chamber Board of Directors and Board of Governors, the Chamber Health Council, the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center, Women Business Owners of North Florida, and Theatre Jacksonville. 

Her passion is the health and wellbeing of children and teens, and she is a longtime supporter of Safe Harbor Boys Home. A member of Leadership Jacksonville, she volunteers for its youth program.

Sullivan has received numerous awards and recognition including Family Foundations “Asset Award for Wise Money Week” and the Small Business Leader of the Year from the Chamber’s Health Council. She was named one of Advantage Magazine’s “Top 50 Business Influencers” and “Up and Coming Entrepreneur” Finalist at the Women in Business Awards. Also, she has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and on CNBC. Ellen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Iowa and a Master of Science degree in administration from Central Michigan University.

She is married to maritime attorney Rod Sullivan and has two children, Brendan, a category buyer for Southeastern Grocers, and Jacqueline, a professional performing artist.

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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