Laura Ferrio

Laura Ferrio, MSN, RN, CRRN, NEA-BC

Position Chief Advancement Officer & Senior Vice President; Keystone Board President
Phone Number Description Phone

Telephone Number


About Me

About Me

Laura Ferrio is a creative executive with vast clinical, managerial and executive experience.

For more than 35 years, Laura has served Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, the global leader in physical medicine and rehabilitation for adults and children with the most severe, complex conditions. In her current role as Chief Advancement Officer and President of the Keystone Board, she leads philanthropy and development efforts for the organization, increasing annual direct contributions, endowments and restricted funding. Funds support research and specialized programing within the state-of-the-art Shirley Ryan AbilityLab — the first-ever “translational” research hospital in which clinicians, scientists, innovators and technologists work together in the same space, 24/7, surrounding patients, discovering new approaches and applying (or “translating”) research real time.

Laura began her career with the organization as a Nurse Intern, eventually working her way up to Chief Nurse Executive and Vice President of Patient Care and Services. In that role, she influenced decision-making in every clinical area, including patient-care units, therapy and research laboratories and ancillary departments. She also spearheaded efforts that resulted in Shirley Ryan AbilityLab receiving the Prestigious Magnet® Recognition — the first rehabilitation hospital in the country to secure this designation in recognition of its nursing professionalism, teamwork and superiority in patient care. The extensive process for application that Laura developed and implemented laid the groundwork for the hospital to receive four successive Magnet® designations, a distinction achieved by only 3 percent of all U.S. hospitals for nursing care.

With philanthropic seed funding, Laura co-founded Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s LIFE Center, which now houses the largest collection of patient education and consumer health resources for people with functional impairments.

Laura holds a BS in Nursing from Northern Illinois University, as well as an MBA and MS in Nursing from Loyola University Chicago. She also completed a Fellowship for Nurse Executives at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. A lifelong champion for nurses, Laura serves on the board of the American Nurses Foundation. She is the past president of both the Illinois Organization of Nurse Leaders and the Illinois Coalition for Nursing Resources. She was named the Illinois Nurse Leader of the Year in 2004 and received a governor appointment to serve on the Illinois Board of Nursing, a role she held for a decade (2004-2014). In addition, Laura received the 2009 Outstanding Alumni Award for the College of Health & Human Sciences at Northern Illinois University.


Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

355 East Erie

Chicago, IL 60611

Education & Professional Associations



    1982 - 1986
    Nursing, Northern Illinois University
    1990 - 1993
    Nursing Administration, Loyola University of Chicago
    1990 - 1993
    Business Administration, Loyola University of Chicago


  • Board Member
    Illinois State Board of Nursing, 2004 - 2014
  • Board Member
    DePaul University School of Nursing Advisory Board, 2016 - Present
  • Board Member Learning, 2002 - Present
  • Board Member
    Loyola University of Chicago Niehoff School of Nursing Alumni Advisory Board, 2000 - 2007

Honors & Awards

  • Outstanding Alumni Award for the College of Health & Human Sciences
    Northern Illinois University, 2009 - 2010
  • Illinois Nurse Leader of the Year
    University of Illinois College of Nursing, Institute for Healthcare Innovation, 2004 - 2005
  • Nurse Traineeship
    Loyola University of Chicago, 1991 - 1992
  • Scholarship
    Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, 1991 - 1992

Work History

  • 1996 - Present
    Vice President, Patient Care Services and Chief Nurse Executive
    Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  • 1993 - 1996
    Nurse Manager
    Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  • 1989 - 1993
    Clinical Nurse Educator
    Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  • 1986 - 1989
    Staff Nurse
    Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  • 1985 - 1986
    Nurse Extern
    Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago