Welcoming Komen’s New CEO and President

Earlier today, we were delighted to announce that we have named a new president and CEO for Susan G. Komen, the organization I founded on a promise to my dying sister Suzy more than 30 years ago. I’m very pleased to introduce you to Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S., who currently is executive director and chief operating officer of the prestigious and highly regarded Institute of Medicine.

Our Board of Directors has made an excellent choice in Judy, who has built a distinguished career as a medical doctor and in research, community health and public policy.  I knew of Judy’s reputation in the  medical and policy community, but met and came to know her during the interview process of the past few months.  I’ve been struck not just by her credentials, but by her intelligence, her warmth, and her passion to serve people through research and public health programs.  She has overseen billions of dollars of research, created innovative and meaningful public health outreach programs, and has a special interest in cancer issues in her role overseeing the National Cancer Policy Forum – a consortium of government, industry, academic, consumer, and other representatives that identifies and examines emerging high-priority policy issues in cancer.

Judy’s impressive career is chronicled in her official biography, and she has posted her first official blog with Komen earlier today.  I hope that you will take time to read her message and her biography.  You will be impressed.

As Judy transitions to her new role, I will focus at Susan G. Komen on two areas that have been my great passion over our 31 years. I said last August that once a new CEO was named, I would move from the CEO position overseeing the day-to-day operation of Komen, into a new role focused on global strategy and development.  Komen has been working globally for more than a decade, sharing what we know about breast cancer advocacy in areas of the world where cancer is still stigmatized and resources very scarce.

The strength of our mission in the U.S. and abroad has made Komen an important voice in international women’s health. I’m proud to help advance that work as Global Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control for the World Health Organization, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and in establishing Komen as a co-founder for the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon breast and cervical cancer outreach in Africa.  The world is facing a coming cancer tsunami, especially in developing countries, which makes this work essential, and I won’t rest until I know that where you live will no longer determine whether you live.

Of course, our mission requires funds to stay vital and to grow, and this is another area of significant interest to me.  I’m delighted that I will continue to play a significant role as Komen’s lead fundraiser, working with Judy, our Board and our staff and Affiliates, on our development programs.

As I move into yet another role at this organization that I love so much, I can’t help but be proud and thankful for the people who make our work possible.  In just our small sliver of time – 31 years — we’ve helped bring new treatments to patients.  We’ve educated millions about a disease that we at one time talked about in whispers.  We have put food on the table, paid for surgeries, bought wigs and prosthetics, and sometimes just held the hands of women at one of the most frightening times of their lives.

We have done all this, and continue to do it, because my promise to Suzy to find and deliver the cures for breast cancer has become a promise to all women.   Thank you for making our promise a reality every single day.

And please read down for a special welcome from our new president and CEO.

About the author

Nancy G. Brinker has written 27 articles for Susan G. Komen® | Blog

Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker founded Susan G. Komen on a promise she made to her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer. She led a relentless breast cancer information and awareness campaign and succeeded in breaching the silence surrounding the disease, fundamentally changing the way it is talked about and treated. She started the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® and also pioneered cause-related marketing, both of which have had a profound impact on the breast cancer movement. An outspoken champion of all people with breast cancer as well as those who are at risk for developing the disease, Ambassador Brinker takes her cause and her passion all over the world, seeking the fresh input and international partnerships essential to ending breast cancer forever. Among her many leadership roles, Brinker served as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary from 2001-2003 and as U.S. Chief of Protocol from 2007-2009.