YSN Alumna Teaches Negotiation

Mary C. Geary ’74 MSN, RN teaching a class on Negotiation
May 8, 2019

Senior healthcare executive Mary C. Geary ’74 MSN, RN visited campus on April 23 to help Yale nurses enter the job market with confidence, providing career advice and negotiation best practices.

Geary was first inspired to start sharing her experience several years ago.

“When I learned what a high level of debt the students had, I felt a need to help out. I am not in a financial position to create an endowment that would erase that problem, but I am able to help students negotiate better so that they improve their own financial situation when they are negotiating compensation and benefits.”

Geary has extensive experience negotiating healthcare contracts, and her expertise also extends to operational leadership and individual and team coaching and development. During her on-campus meetings with 21 students in small groups, Geary made resume recommendations and discussed job search strategies.

Later that evening, she also gave a presentation on negotiation skills at the Watson Center to a crowd of more than 40 people and participated in an alumni career panel. Geary is a Yale School of Nursing Alumni Association (YSNAA) Board Past President and has also served as a representative to the Yale Alumni Association (YAA).

Geary encouraged students to recognize negotiation as an everyday occurrence, not a foreign language of which they have no knowledge. Her presentation guided the audience through multiple scenarios, such as negotiating a higher salary with an employer that uses a fixed pay scale and securing a personalized onboarding process.

Do the job you are hired for, and learn to do it very well,” Geary said. “But always be on the lookout for ways to contribute and learn above and beyond the role you are in. For me and for many others I have observed, this is a great way to develop yourself and your career in such a way that others see you as a ‘doer’ and an asset. This kind of reputation can bring opportunities to you whether or not you are seeking them out,” she said.

For anyone looking to hone their own negotiating skills, Geary’s recommended reading list includes Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, Bill Ury, and Bruce Patton; The Power of a Positive No: Save the Deal, Save the Relationship—and Still Say No, by Bill Ury; and The Art of Negotiation: How To Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World, by Michael Wheeler.