Nancy Goodman Brinker (born December 6, 1946) is the founder and Chair of Global Strategy of Susan G. Komen, an organization named after her only sister, Susan, who died from breast cancer in 1980 at age 36. Brinker was also United States Ambassador to Hungary from 2001 to 2003 and Chief of Protocol of the United States from 2007 to the end of the George W. Bush administration. Brinker, a breast cancer survivor, uses her experience to heighten understanding of the disease. She speaks publicly on the importance of patient's rights and medical advancements in breast cancer research and treatment. She is currently[when?] serving as the World Health Organization's Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control. Brinker is the author of the New York Times bestselling book Promise Me - How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer, released on September 14, 2010.
Brinker has helped build Komen by fostering a coalition of relationships within the business community, government, and volunteer sectors in the United States. For her work on breast cancer research, Time magazine named Brinker to its 2008 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Calling her "a catalyst to ease suffering in the world," President Barack Obama honored Brinker with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, on August 12, 2009.
In 1982, Brinker established Susan G. Komen for the Cure, after a promise to her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer. Since its inception, the nonprofit organisation has raised over $1.9 billion for research, education and health services, making it the largest breast cancer charity in the world.The Washington Post has called her the "steely force" at the organization. Komen has more than 75,000 volunteers nationwide, 120 affiliates in the United States, and 3 affiliates in other countries. The organization has resulted in the development of many new treatment options and a higher quality of life overall for breast cancer patients and long-term survivors. Brinker served as founding chairman of the organization, supervising all aspects of initial growth,. On December 2, 2009, Brinker was appointed CEO. She also pioneered cause marketing, allowing millions to participate in the fight against breast cancer through businesses that share Komen's commitment to end the disease. Susan G. Komen for the Cure at one point held Charity Navigator's highest rating, four stars. As of November 2016, it held three stars. In late January 2012, a public furor arose around the Foundation's policy decision to stop funding most Planned Parenthood offices, resulting in an apology from Brinker and a revised policy by the first week of February 2012. On June 17, 2013, Judith A. Salerno replaced Brinker as CEO.
World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador
Brinker is currently serving as the World Health Organization's Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control. She was appointed by WHO Director-General Margaret Chan on May 26, 2009. She is the organization's public face for its fight to raise awareness and strengthen programs in poorer countries on behalf of the United Nations agency. She advocated for strengthening global action for cancer prevention and control in the context of the Global Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases endorsed by the World Health Assembly in May 2008. Her message emphasized the need for low- and middle-income countries to strengthen comprehensive and evidence-based cancer control policies and programs.
In this role, Brinker advised, assisted and supported the president, the vice president and the secretary of state on official matters of diplomatic procedure. She accompanied the president on official visits abroad and served as his personal representative and liaison to foreign ambassadors in Washington. The Office of the Chief of Protocol is responsible for activities including the planning, hosting, logistics, and officiating at ceremonial events for visiting chiefs of state and heads of government.On April 15, 2008, Brinker was the first American to greet Pope Benedict XVI upon his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base as part of her official duties.
The office also manages Blair House, the president's guesthouse. On October 7, 2008, Brinker hosted a symposium on "Breast Cancer Global Awareness" at the Blair House. First Lady Laura Bush joined the participants and for the first time ever, the White House was illuminated in pink for the occasion.
As Chief of Protocol, Brinker expanded the role of the office through outreach programs intended to foster better relationships with the Diplomatic Corps. The effort, known as Diplomatic Partnerships involved over 60 events, including "Experience America", where the Diplomatic Corps traveled throughout the United States to meet with business and civic leaders.
Ambassador to Hungary
Brinker served as United States Ambassador to Hungary from September 2001 to 2003. A political appointee, she advanced a broad range of American security and economic interests. Specific successes include expanded security cooperation, development of a closure strategy for the Hungarian Fund, resolving commerce transparency issues, and for the first time, holding a conference on the trafficking and exploitation of workers that health ministers from the neighboring Balkan States attended. She also raised awareness about breast cancer among Hungarian women by leading a march over the Chain Bridge in Budapest. The bridge was illuminated in pink for the occasion.
While ambassador, Brinker began to collect Hungarian art. Today,[when?] her collection spans 100 years, from just before the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the present and has been on display at several museums around the United States. The collection is one of the largest outside of Hungary. The collection extends and complements the acknowledged masters of Hungarian modernism and has introduced the American audience to original artists of more modest reputation.
Hungarian President Ferenc Mádl decorated Brinker with the Order of Merit, Medium Class, Cross Adorned with Star, for her work in advancing bilateral relations and in recognition of her charity activities.
Inducted into the Cancer Research and Treatment Fund, Inc. Cancer Survivors Hall of Fame
Brinker has co-authored four books:
Promise Me: How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer , co-authored with Joni Rodgers - September 14, 2010
The Race is Run One Step at a Time, co-authored with Catherine McEvilly Harris
1000 Questions About Women's Health, co-authored with Dr. H. Jane Chihal
Winning the Race : Taking Charge of Breast Cancer, co-authored with Chriss Anne Winston
Brinker wrote the forewords for:
Tamoxifen for the Treatment and Prevention of Breast Cancer by V. Craig Jordan
Tamoxifen: A Guide for Clinicians and Patients by V. Craig Jordan
Nancy Goodman married her first husband, Robert M. Leitstein, an executive at Neiman Marcus; they divorced in 1978.[full citation needed] They had one son.
On February 13, 1981, Nancy Goodman wed Norman E. Brinker, a pioneer of the casual dining industry and founder of Brinker International, which provided access to capital and influence which enabled her role in public service. Norman Brinker provided funds and methodology for building the Komen foundation. The couple were major contributors to George W. Bush's first presidential campaign. They divorced shortly after the 2000 U.S. Presidential election, but Norman Brinker remained a board member of Komen for the Cure, having served on its board since its founding in 1982 until his death in 2009.