Elis Fernandez Payne (formerly Salamone)

Business owner/Veteran/Nurse Practitioner at The Entrepreneur's Source

Women Empowerment

Education: AAS/BSN - Marymount University - MSN, Leadership in Health Care Systems - Regis University; MSN - Women's Health NP - Virginia Commonwealth University
Seattle, WA, USA


Born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, I emerged into this world as a beacon of hope for my teenage mother, becoming the eldest of three sisters. My journey began amidst the sun-soaked streets of Puerto Rico before transitioning to the frosty embrace of Bridgeport, Connecticut, in February 1975.

As a high school senior, I found inspiration in the television series "China Beach," where the character Dana Delaney's compassionate care for wounded soldiers ignited a fire within me. Enthralled by the allure of adventure and driven by a desire to escape the confines of Connecticut, I enlisted in the Army straight out of high school, bypassing a nursing scholarship offer from Bridgeport University School of Nursing, knowing deep down that I wasn't quite ready.

Arriving at Fort Jackson Army Base in South Carolina, I quickly shed my illusions of a vacation-like experience, confronting the stark realities of Army Basic Training head-on. Yet, I not only survived but thrived during my three-year enlistment, navigating assignments to less-than-glamorous locales like Fort Dix, New Jersey, and embracing my first taste of overseas living in Korea.

Following my military service, I pursued nursing school, eventually earning my bachelor's degree from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. Commissioned briefly in the Army Reserves before transitioning to active duty in the Air Force, I embarked on a distinguished 27-year military career as a Lieutenant Colonel and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner.

Throughout my journey, I've achieved numerous professional milestones, including a combat tour to Afghanistan with Army Special Forces, all while earning multiple advanced degrees. Since retiring from the military, I've dedicated myself to serving others in both federal and civilian roles, specializing in coaching and support for transitioning veterans, nursing professionals, and women.

As a leader within the Lean In organization, I've empowered women to unlock their full potential and become agents of change. My passion for public speaking spans a wide array of topics, from resilience and entrepreneurship to women's health issues and accountable leadership in the workplace. Join me as we navigate the complexities of life, forging intentional connections in an age dominated by social media and embracing the power of authenticity and compassion.


As a seasoned storyteller, I've mastered the art of weaving personal experiences into powerful narratives that ignite inspiration and drive transformation. From triumphing over adversity to harnessing the momentum for change, I've dedicated myself to empowering others to embark on their own journeys of growth and success.

With a focus on women, especially women of color, women veterans, and nursing professionals, I serve as a dedicated coach and mentor, guiding individuals to unlock their full potential and seize every opportunity that comes their way.

My dynamic speaking engagements cover a range of topics, from business ownership and leadership lessons to resilience, diversity and inclusion, and the art of reinvention. I delve into the complexities of overcoming failure, navigating challenges, and persevering in the face of adversity, leaving audiences inspired and empowered to take on the world.

Beyond the stage, my passions extend to personal and professional development, travel, fashion, and interior design, infusing my talks with a unique blend of creativity and insight.

Join me as we embark on a journey of transformation, fueled by the power of storytelling and driven by a shared commitment to empowerment and growth. Together, we'll unlock new possibilities and embrace the boundless potential that lies within each and every one of us!"

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I am willing to travel

More than 100 miles

When it comes to payments

Everything is negotiable


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Best Story

Deployed to Afghanistan with the Army Special Forces, I found myself in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, tasked with a mission that lacked clarity or direction. Yet, amidst the turmoil of war, I discovered a strength within myself that I never knew existed.

As a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, I navigated the challenges of deployment with courage and determination, embracing each obstacle as an opportunity for growth. Through the crucible of adversity, I forged bonds with my fellow soldiers, honed my skills as a leader, and unearthed a newfound sense of purpose.

But returning home was just the beginning of another battle—a battle for reintegration, both within my family and my professional life. Faced with the harsh realities of divorce and the transition to civilian life, I found myself at a crossroads, grappling with the daunting task of reinventing myself.

Yet, from the ashes of adversity, I emerged stronger and more resilient than ever before. Retiring from the Air Force, I embarked on a journey of reinvention, transforming myself into a business owner, advocate, mentor, educator, and sought-after speaker.

Through it all, I've learned that true strength lies not in avoiding adversity, but in embracing it as an opportunity for growth and transformation. Join me as I share my story of resilience, reinvention, and the unwavering belief that with courage and determination, we can overcome any obstacle that stands in our way.

Origin Story

Growing up in a Puerto Rican single-parent household, adversity was woven into the fabric of my daily life. As the eldest of three girls, leadership became second nature to me, a trait honed by the challenges we faced together.

After dedicating 27 years to the military, accumulating a trove of awards, medals, degrees, and life experiences, I made the monumental decision to retire from the Air Force in 2014, embarking on a journey of profound transformation.

Yet, this new chapter has been far from smooth sailing. It has been marked by moments of reinvention, encounters with failure, and the bittersweet sting of both personal and professional growth. Through the highs and lows, I've learned to embrace every experience as an opportunity for learning and self-discovery.

Driven by a relentless desire to live life to the fullest, I approach each day with a spirit of resilience and determination. Like a skilled mixologist crafting the perfect mojito, I strive to take life's lemons and turn them into the most exquisite concoction imaginable.

Join me as I navigate the twists and turns of this remarkable journey, determined to make every moment count and savoring the sweetness of life's most unexpected flavors.

Example talks

Transform Trauma into a Story of Strength

Has a past traumatic experience consumed your life, leaving you feeling powerless? This empowering presentation will help audiences learn that they have everything they need to gain their power back by simply changing their trauma narrative to a power narrative.

Attendees will discover the hidden power within themselves to rise above adversity by reframing their trauma narrative into a tale of empowerment. Taking your power back is the first step in healing and stepping into the life you deserve, even after facing the most challenging experiences.

Transformational Principles to Ignite a Growth Mindset

Feeling trapped and overwhelmed by your current situation? In this electrifying presentation, audiences will learn how to turn setbacks into stepping stones with a simple mindset shift. They will discover how to swap complaints for forward movement, believe in abundance, build their empowering cheer squad, and begin to see life through a new lens.

This empowering talk will make audiences realize that the power to change their life is already within.

The Deep End: 5 Secret Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs -

Have you ever thought about entrepreneurship but fear you don't “have what it takes” to be successful? In this presentation, audiences will gain confidence in their pursuit of business ownership and discover what’s holding them back: lack of self-confidence, consistency, mindset, perseverance and the courage to push away from the shallow end of life.

This inspiring talk will give the audience the motivation to finally embark on their entrepreneurial journey.

Unleashing Your Inner Warrior: Conquering Self-Reinvention After Disruption

In this electrifying speech, we delve into the essential trademarks of triumph: self-care, the backbone of resilience; a robust support system to weather life's storms; effective stress management techniques; and a mindset primed for success. But it doesn't stop there. We explore the power of action plans, inspiring conversations, and unwavering accountability—the very essence of reinvention.

This speech isn't just about sparking change—it's about igniting a fire within your audience, motivating them to seize control of their destinies and carve out their own paths to greatness. So, if you're ready to leave a lasting impact and inspire transformation at your next event, look no further. This is the speech that will set your audience ablaze with passion and purpose.

Real Connections Unleashed: Elevating Online Contacts to Authentic Relationships

In the era of social media saturation, it's easy to get lost in the virtual world. But how do you ensure that your digital network translates into genuine, impactful connections offline?

Join us for a captivating talk that unveils the secrets to cultivating meaningful relationships beyond the screen. Discover how to bridge the gap between online interactions and real-life connections, transforming acquaintances into allies, and contacts into comrades-in-arms.

Get ready to revolutionize your networking game and unleash the full potential of your personal and professional relationships. Don't miss out on this opportunity to turn virtual connections into tangible, lasting bonds!"

Elevating Leadership: Fostering Accountability and Compassion in the Workplace

Amidst the relentless demands of the healthcare realm, leaders and managers can easily lose sight of the essence of their roles: serving the people. Join us for an enlightening session where we delve into the fundamental aspects of leadership, centered on humanity and relationship-building.

In this engaging discussion, we'll emphasize the significance of forging genuine connections and embracing the human element of our work. From understanding oneself to cultivating deep understanding of our staff, we'll explore the keys to effective leadership.

Discover the power of accountability and the vital role it plays in fostering trust and growth within your team. Learn the importance of prioritizing self-care amidst the chaos, ensuring you're equipped to lead with clarity and compassion.

Above all, we'll underscore the importance of embodying the kind of leader you'd aspire to follow, creating a culture of respect, empathy, and excellence. Don't miss out on this opportunity to reignite your passion for leadership and elevate your impact in the healthcare arena!