Keeping our eyes and ears open…..

Nancy Brinker

Brinker, a wealthy, well-connected Texan, had begun the Susan G. Komen Foundation, named for her sister, who had died of breast cancer at the age of thirty-six.

p. 258, The Breast Cancer Wars: Fear, Hope, and the Pursuit of a Cure in Twentieth-Century America by Barron Lerner, MD (2001)


Nancy Brinker was born in 1946 to real estate developer Marvin L. Goodman & Eleanor (Newman) Goodman. She married Robert Leitstein and then divorced in 1978. Nancy married Norman E. Brinker on Feb. 14, 1981 and then divorced in 2001. She has 1 child named Eric who now plays a senior role in Brinker’s foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She co-authored with Catherine McEvily Harris The Race Is Run One Step at a Time: Every Woman’s Guide to Taking Charge of Breast Cancer and My Personal Struggle (1995), co-authored with Chriss Anne Winstone Winning the Race: Taking Charge of Breast Cancer (2001), and co-authored with Joni Rodgers Promise Me: How A Sister’s Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer (2010).

Brinker has served on varied boards of directors or advisory boards, including: Physicians Reliance Network, Harvard School of Public Health, NYU Medical School Foundation, National Surgical Adjuvant Breast Project, Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Manpower, Inc., US Oncology, Inc., Netmarket, Inc., Meditrust Corporation, National Cancer Advisory Board; National Jewish Coalition.; Harvard Ctr. for Cancer Prevention, Women’s Health Initiative, National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship, and National Cancer Institute.


1978: Divorces Robert Leitstein.

1981: Marries Norman Brinker.

1982: Founds Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in the name of her sister who died from breast cancer.

1983: Founds Race for the Cure fitness/walk fundraising event.

1986: President Reagan appoints Ms. Brinker to the 18-member National Cancer Advisory Board as one of six laypeople.

1986-1992: Brinker serves as member of the National Cancer Advisory Board. (See US Newswire May 23, 2001).

1990-1992: Brinker serves on the George W. Bush Presidential Cancer Panel. (See US Newswire May 23, 2001).

1991: Brinker chairs the George W. Bush President’s Commission on Breast Cancer. (See US Newswire May 23, 2001).

1992: Brinker is appointed by President Bush to the three-member President’s Cancer Panel to monitor the progress of the National Cancer Program and was selected by Vice President Quayle to serve as the chairman of a subcommittee to study the progress of breast cancer research and education in the United States and around the world.

1993: Brinker joins the board of directors at Caremark Rx, one of the five companies involved in a Medicare prescription discount card program promoted by George W. Bush in 2001 in lieu of resolving rapid increases in prescription costs.

1994-1998: Founds In Your Corner, Inc., functioning as chair and CEO.

1996: Nancy Brinker receives the Gertrude Shelburne Humanitarian Award from Planned Parenthood. (See The Dallas Morning News, Oct. 5, 1997). This award is frequently removed from lists of Brinker’s achievements.

1998: Nancy Brinker is one of five directors at Physician Reliance Network Inc. (See The Dallas Morning News, May 3, 1998).

1998: Nancy Brinker joins board of directors at The Meditrust Companies, a paired share real estate investment trust and the nation’s largest health care real estate investment trust [consisting of Meditrust Corporation and Meditrust Operating Company], with headquarters in Needham, Massachusetts. As of March 31, 1998, Meditrust had investments in 474 health care facilities in 40 states with 37 different operators and has a total market capitalization of approximately $3.0 billion. (See PR Newswire, May 12, 1998).

2000: Nancy Brinker elected to the board of directors at Manpower Inc.. a world leader in the staffing industry, providing workforce management services and solutions to customers through more than 3,500 offices in 54 countries.  The firm annually provides employment to more than 2 million people worldwide and is an industry leader in employee assessment and training.  Manpower also offers organizational performance consulting services worldwide through its independent operating division, The Empower Group.  More information on Manpower Inc. can be found at the company’s website,http://www.manpower.com .  More information can also be found about The Empower Group at its website, http://www.empowergrp.com. (See PR Newswire, July 21, 2000).

2001: Divorces Norman Brinker.

2001: At a black-tie gala, Brinker joins fellow award recipients Bernard Marcus, chairman of Home Depot and chairman of the board of directors of the Centers for Disease Control Foundation; Harold P. Freeman, president, CEO and director of surgery at North General Hospital in New York; and James D. Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank to receive the The Centers for Disease Control’s Champion of Prevention Award. (See The Dallas Morning News, Jan. 5, 2001)

2001-2003: George W. Bush appoints Nancy Brinker as ambassador to Hungary. (See FDCH Federal Department and Agency Documents, May 23, 2001). Brinker and her ex-husband, restaurant magnate Norman Brinker, contributed $125,000 to Republicans in the election cycle prior to the appointment. Nancy Brinker also is listed as one of the Bush “Pioneers,” having raised another $100,000 for the presidential campaign. (See Copley News Service, Aug. 3, 2001). To assume this position, Brinker resigns from the Board of Directors at Manpower, Inc. (See PR Newswire, Aug. 14, 2001).

2005: Brinker seves on board of directors for FasterCures / The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions, “committed to saving lives by saving time in the research, discovery and development of new treatments for deadly and debilitating diseases. FasterCures was founded by Michael Milken as an initiative of the Milken Institute and is nonpartisan, nonprofit and independent of interest groups. The board of directors includes Michael Milken, Nobel laureates David Baltimore and Gary Becker and Nancy Brinker.

2009: Nancy Brinker joins honorary advisory board of Protocol & Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association (PDI-POA), established at the first international protocol conference held at the United States Department of State in Washington, D.C. The Board of Directors and Honorary Advisors are individuals respected in the field worldwide for their protocol expertise.. (PR Newswire Apr. 21, 2009).

2009: Susan G. Komen for the Cure Names Founder Nancy Brinker as CEO, following the resignation of Hala Moddelmog “at a critical time of expansion for the organization.” (Targeted News Service, Nov. 19, 2009)


Ms. Brinker is the recipient of numerous national awards including: the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the 2007 Castle Connolly “National Health Leadership” Award; Trumpet Foundation’s 2007 President’s Award, The American Society of Breast Disease 2006 Global Pathfinder Award, the 2005 Mary Woodard Lasker Public Service Award in Support of Medical Research and the Health Sciences, Sword of Ignatius Loyola Award from Saint Louis University, The Champions of Excellence Award presented by the Centers for Disease Control, the Susan F. Smith Inspiration Award from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Healthcare Humanitarian Award presented by the Global Conference Institute, the ASCO Special Recognition Award, Toastmasters International Top Five Speakers for 2001 Award, the Sisters Network 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award, Ladies’ Home Journal’s 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century, Biography Magazine’s The 25 Most Powerful Women in America, the 1999 Caring Award, the 2000 Cino del Duca Award, the first Salomon Smith Barney Extraordinary Achievement Award, the James Ewing Layman Award from the Society of Surgical Oncology, Albert Einstein’s Sarnoff Volunteer Award, Ladies’ Home Journal’s Top 10 Champions of Women’s Health, among many others. In addition, she was inducted into the Cancer Research and Treatment Fund, Inc. Cancer Survivors Hall of Fame.

[Note: Often omitted from Brinker’s list of awards is the 1996 Gertrude Shelburne Humanitarian Award from Planned Parenthood.]

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