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Pepperdine University


David Hebert 

Caruso School of Law | JD 1982
Chief Executive Officer, American Association of Nurse Practitioners

David Hebert is recognized for his work in merging the American College of Nurse Practitioners with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Despite a global pandemic, his efforts have helped membership grow in 2020.

David Hebert

What does being an honoree of the Outstanding Alumni in Healthcare campaign mean to you?

It is a distinct honor to be recognized for my achievements in health care by Pepperdine. It means a lot to me that my alma mater would favorably acknowledge my work over the years.

Describe your road to success.

As they say, nothing in life comes easily. My journey after graduating from Pepperdine Caruso School of Law took me to Capitol Hill where I became a legislative assistant for a Member of Congress. I later became a Legislative Director for another Member of Congress and health care issues became a part of my portfolio. Thereafter I accepted a position as Counsel, Government Affairs for the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors where my focus was on health insurance issues and how legislation affected the industry, essentially my first job as a healthcare lobbyist.

Several years later I was asked to become Director of Government Affairs for the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) and head of the Washington office for the Chicago-based organization. I was pleased to help build the AANA's Washington presence and substantially enhance their political action committee (PAC). About eight years later, I was asked by then House Majority Whip Roy Blunt to become his Chief of Staff. Working for the third-ranking Republican in leadership in the House of Representatives gave me a front row seat in watching health policy being made. In fact, I was on the House floor during the early morning hours when Medicare Part D was passed by the House.

Following my tenure with Congressman (now Senator) Blunt, I decided to take my experience to a major law firm, Alston & Bird's Washington office where I worked as a healthcare lobbyist handling both legislative and regulatory issues as part of the firm's health care practice. A couple of years later, I decided to head back to association life when I was offered the position of Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, at the American Health Care Association (AHCA), representing the issues of the nursing home industry. I later became Chief Executive Officer for the American College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP). Only a few weeks into the job, we were approached to merge with the larger American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) where I would become the CEO of the newly merged organization in 2013.

Since that time, I have worked to expand the public persona of what is the nation's largest organization representing America's nurse practitioners. In 2019, I was pleased to have led the team of our staff, architects, and construction company when the new AANP Headquarters was completed in Austin, Texas. It has been quite the journey.

Who has helped you achieve success in your career?

A special shout out to Dean Ron Phillips for encouraging me to stay in law school when I was thinking that perhaps it was not right for me. Thanks Ron Phillips! My Pepperdine law degree has helped immeasurably.

Describe a lesson you've learned from a challenging time in your career or life.

I have learned that defeats or downturns in one's life are only temporary. As it has been said, when one door closes another door opens. The challenge is recognizing that any setbacks are temporary. It's the ability to get up and dust yourself off and move along to the next challenge.

How do you prepare for a busy day?

I prepare the night before so that I'm ready for the busy next day. Review of schedule, making sure that I'm ready for cancellations of meetings, change of meetings, or being ready to clear the decks in case of emergencies.

"As it has been said, when one door closes another door opens. The challenge is recognizing that any setbacks are temporary. It's the ability to get up and dust yourself off and move along to the next challenge."

David Hebert (JD '82)

What's next for you?

I am retiring from AANP at the end of 2020. What comes next, I'm not sure, possibly teaching, writing or consulting -- or all three. In any case, I'm ready for the next chapter.

What is your mantra or favorite quote?

"To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is to be forgotten."