Nancy Brinker

Former Ambassador to Hungary and founder of Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

Nancy Brinker is the Founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Race for the Cure and was U. S. Ambassador to Hungary from 2001 to 2003.

Nancy established the Komen Foundation in 1982 to honor the memory of her sister, Susan, whom she had lost to the disease in 1980. The Race for the Cure was created the following year in an effort to raise community awareness and funding for breast cancer education and scientific research. Today it is the world’s largest 5K race series, with almost one million people participating in 109 cities nationwide. Since its inception, the Foundation has raised more than $750 million for breast cancer research, education, and screening treatment programs across the country. The Komen Foundation is active in over 15,000 communities across America. Nancy has taken an active political role and served on the Board of Directors of several organizations in support of cancer research.

In 2001, Brinker accepted President George W. Bush’s nomination of Ambassador to Hungary, and her achievements there are equally impressive. She helped to preserve tax benefits and lower tariffs on U.S. companies doing business in Hungary. Brinker negotiated the hosting and training of the Free Iraqi Forces, an expatriate group who later joined coalition forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom, making Hungary the first European country to contribute to regime change in Iraq. Her groundbreaking efforts to advance the cause of women’s health in Hungary included a symposium and ceremonial walk across the country’s oldest bridge (lit pink for the occasion) to raise breast cancer awareness.

Nancy’s remarkable life story is a profound testament to the possibility within all of us to effect positive change in the world. At the podium, she shares her extraordinary journey from humble beginnings in Peoria, Illinois, to her philanthropic achievements in the fight against breast cancer, to her accomplished Ambassadorship in Eastern Europe. Her inspiring presentation reveals the power of hard work and perseverance in accomplishing the American dream.

A breast cancer survivor herself, Nancy has drawn from her own experience to author the best seller The Race is Run One Step at a Time, Winning the Race: Taking Charge of Breast Cancer, and co-author of Woman’s Day’s 1000 Questions About Women’s Health.

The Art of Seeing the Invisible
Drawing on her 25-year experience transforming a small living-room operation into a billion-dollar global network against breast cancer, Ambassador Nancy Brinker shares the leadership lessons that every executive and employee needs to know to build their company, energize their teams, strengthen their brand and institutionalize a Culture of Innovation that allows organizations to stay ahead of the competition and achieve world-class results.  Just as her passion to find a cure to breast cancer created the world’s largest network of survivors and activists fighting the disease, Ambassador Brinker motivates corporate audiences in every industry and sector to excel in “The Art of Seeing the Invisible”—pursuing bold goals that may seem invisible and making them inevitable.  Ideal audiences: senior executive retreats and company annual meetings.

The Power of One
One of the nation’s foremost “social entrepreneurs” and a global activist who has inspired millions around the world, Ambassador Nancy Brinker empowers audiences of all ages and backgrounds to embrace “The Power of One”—the ability of every individual to make a difference in their communities, companies, countries and the world.  Drawing on her remarkable life experience as a breast cancer survivor, catalyst of an international health movement and U.S. ambassador, Nancy Brinker shares how her unique lessons for personal and professional fulfillment can help every individual lead a life of both success and significance.  Ideal audiences: personal/professional development conferences.     

The Patient Empowerment Revolution
A former member of the President’s Cancer Panel and one of America’s foremost patient advocates for a quarter century, Ambassador Nancy Brinker addresses the key challenges facing the delivery of affordable, accessible healthcare in the United States today.  Drawing on her pioneering experience of transforming the way the world talks about and treats breast cancer—and warning how the baby boom will become an unprecedented “cancer boom”—Ambassador Brinker argues that today’s “Patient Empowerment Revolution” will only succeed if patient-centered care becomes the central organizing philosophy of a 21st Century healthcare system.  Ideal audiences: healthcare industry and associations.   

Brave Enough!
One of Biography Magazine’s “25 Most Powerful Women in America” and Ladies Home Journal’s “100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century,” Ambassador Nancy Brinker energizes women executives, entrepreneurs and business owners to overcome the unique challenges facing female business leaders and seize the unprecedented opportunities of today’s business world.  Drawing on her own experience of founding, building and guiding the world’s largest network of breast cancer survivors and activists, Ambassador Brinker inspires women to be “Brave Enough” to pursue their professional ambitions, persevere in the face of barriers and become mentors and models to the next generation of women leaders.  Ideal audiences: women’s business conferences/meetings.     

Winning the War!
As one of the world’s foremost cancer advocates, a three-decade cancer survivor and catalyst of the global grassroots breast cancer movement, Ambassador Nancy Brinker inspires cancer patients and their families to win their personal war with this devastating disease while urging the international community to recognize and confront the coming “cancer tsunami.”  Warning that the global cancer burden will more than double in the coming decades—with perhaps 27 million cancer cases every year—Ambassador Brinker calls for a unprecedented and urgent international campaign to save the lives of millions around the world.  Ideal audiences: cancer patients/survivors networks and international health organizations.    

Winning the Race: Taking Charge of Breast Cancer
The Race Is Run One Step at a Time
1000 Questions About Women’s Health