Last month, I had the immense pleasure of hosting my dear friend Nancy Brinker as the keynote speaker at a gathering of the Palm Beach, Florida, chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. As its president, I wanted members to hear from someone who created a nonprofit brand that has changed the world.
Mrs. Brinker, a former ambassador to Hungary, is the sister of Susan G. Komen. While her sister was dying from breast cancer, she asked Nancy to do something to help other women facing the same disease. In memory of Susan, Nancy rallied family and friends and launched an organization that has financed research, provided early detection testing, and branded the pink ribbon as the international symbol for breast cancer awareness.
Nancy’s inspirational remarks challenged the group to think outside of the box, long-term … dare to change the world. She spoke of the daunting task of discussing a taboo (or intimate) term in public, removing the stigma and raising awareness so every woman understood the importance of mammography and early detection. The sisterhood she created propelled the organization toward becoming a household name.
When I think of my friend Nancy, I think of words such as – public servant, philanthropist, advocate, lifesaver, and fundraiser. She leads by example and is fearless in every way.