Career Partners International

Alumni Feature: Mike Donovon – A career of change that takes one candidate full circle

Meet Mike Donovan

Mike Donovan dedicated the beginning of his career to Curbell Medical. He spent over 30 years growing his professional career in the medical device industry, where his responsibilities ranged from sales and marketing to business development. Mike was so dedicated to his company that he wanted to make himself “bulletproof;” instead of going back to school for an MBA, he rounded out his credentials by pursuing an RN degree in 2012. Undoubtedly, the combination of a medical degree and decades of sales and marketing experience would make him an indispensable asset to the company.

Introduction to Career Partners International

In 2015, he learned the hard way that no one was bulletproof in Corporate America, and he became a casualty of the company’s restructuring. Despite his experience and education, Mike was left looking for work for the first time in his career. This was when the door opened to Career Partners, and Mike began to learn and grow. Little did he know, though not right away, this introduction would change his life in the not-so-distant future.
Anyone who has gone through a career transition like Mike’s knows there are many stages to the process. Mark and Dottie, along with the rest of the staff at CPIBN, carefully guide clients through each step, helping them understand the different career paths available. They help you determine whether you want to continue in the same line of work or if it would be advantageous to make a more significant change? Given that Mike had teenage kids and was still drawn to Corporate America, he put his interest in nursing on hold and utilized CPI to land his next job.
Mike’s sales experience meant juggling many clients and always putting them and their needs first. Doing so was not only beneficial for the client, but it also rewarded him as well. During his time at Career Partners, something unexpected happened. His strong desire to help people came even more into focus—and not for any credit he may have been given—but simply because he enjoyed seeing others move forward. At CPI, Mike was surrounded by other successful professionals from all areas who were seeking new opportunities as well. CPI helped surround him with other great professionals in all business areas moving towards the next step in his career. During that time, he made great friends and enjoyed helping them reach their next destination. He earned a reputation for encouraging others and opening up his personal network to help out anyone who needed it. Mike was drawn to giving, and that feeling of selflessly helping others stuck with him.

Lessons Learned

As you know through your lessons at CPI, to be successful, you focus on what helps fulfill you personally, without being swayed by the promise of money and benefits from a prospective employer. You spend time digging deep and seeing what fills all your buckets. In Mike’s case, as the years passed and after he was re-employed, his children grew independent, he was financially secure and realized that making money through Corporate America wasn’t as fulfilling as it once was.
2020 was an adjustment for all of us. It caused us all to stop in our tracks. We were now open to time at home, time to think, time to ponder. During these times, many had a chance to reevaluate everything. Being in the medical field for as long as Mike was, he immediately noticed the nursing shortage and began considering making a change. He felt drawn to Hospice, an organization that captured a place in Mike’s heart; in 2008, his dad received care and died under Hospice in 2008. He thought back to a lecture during his RN program given by Kelley Clem, a VP at Hospice Buffalo, where she talked in detail of the “glamorous” part of Hospice.
It became abundantly clear that Hospice work was the exact opposite of everything Mike spent his professional career doing. He excelled at making his company even more money to add to its billion-dollar worth but never felt the personal fulfillment. Though he enjoyed the work and the clients, he became disillusioned with its management and their priorities. Mike felt compelled to do something that was more meaningful and lasting; money was no longer a driver. As he thought back to his father’s Hospice journey, he realized he didn’t want to end up on his own deathbed, asking himself why he didn’t pursue the field his heart was drawing him to a career as a Hospice nurse.

Where Fate Meets Opportunity

Throughout the skills he learned and the network he nurtured at CPI, Mike secured an opportunity to interview at Hospice (with Kelley Clem, who, as fate would have it, was the lecturer all those years ago). For the first time in 10 years, they were offering a nurse residency program for new nurses. Mike, along with four others, were now “New Nurses” in this program.
Through the residency program, Mike was trained in the many types of services Hospices offers: palliative care for patients with chronic but not life-ending illnesses; home care, where people under Hospice care are treated at home, with the help of their family; and the HIU, or Hospice Inpatient Unit, for patients with severe symptoms that need to be managed or receive general treatment for a short period of time. After the residency program, the nurses are placed in one of these areas and finish their training on the job. Mike is now working at the Hospice Inpatient Unit in Buffalo at the main campus.
Every person has his or her own journey. Today, Mike has no regrets about his decision. His success is not salary-based; it is derived from helping patients and their families at the most critical stage of life.
CPI helped Mike at different stages along his career path, from finding an immediate corporate job to building a strong network that would eventually connect him to his life-changing career.


Mike shared with us a recent moment of reflection as he packed his wardrobe of nice suits and expensive watch away to make room for his medical scrubs. He had spent the better part of 30 years selling hospital equipment, traveling the world, making million-dollar deals, and wining and dining executives world-wide. The people in that network, though they liked Mike, quickly replaced him and continued moving the company forward. Now, the people Mike finds himself surrounded by need him more than ever. He is with them in their greatest time of need, and his compassion and love for the job have an unforgettable impact on not only his patients but also their families.
Mike is an excellent example of how it never too late for a fresh start.

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