DALLAS — January 19, 2010 — Eric Brinker, a longtime breast cancer volunteer, co-survivor and activist, has been elected to the board of directors of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world’s largest breast cancer organization.
Eric Brinker is the son of Komen for the Cure founder and CEO Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker , and the nephew of Susan G. Komen, for whom the organization is named. He is filling the board seat left vacant by the 2009 death of his father, Norman Brinker, who had served on Komen’s board since it formed in 1982. Although Norman Brinker held a lifetime board appointment, Eric was elected to serve the typical two-year term.
Eric Brinker is often described as Komen’s first volunteer, growing up helping to fulfill the promise that Nancy Brinker made to her sister, Susan G. Komen, to end breast cancer forever. Susan G. Komen died of breast cancer in 1980.
Several years later, at the age of eight, Brinker lived through his mother’s own battle with breast cancer, learning first-hand what it means to be a co-survivor.
“We are so fortunate on the board to have Eric’s business acumen, his long association with our organization, and his first-hand experience with this disease -- an experience that fuels his untiring energy and passion for our cause,” said Alexine Clement Jackson, chairperson of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s board of directors.
Brinker is currently owner and president of Metro Leasing Company, a family-owned business in Peoria, Ill. In this role, Brinker is responsible for a commercial real estate portfolio that includes Metro Centre, Peoria’s premiere lifestyle shopping center, which is also home to the offices for the Peoria Memorial Affiliate of Komen for the Cure. He has been active with the Peoria Affiliate for many years, and serves as co-chair of the 25th Anniversary Susan G. Komen Peoria Race for the Cure May 8, 2010.
“It’s been an honor for me to see firsthand, for so many years, how Komen has changed the way the world talks about and treats breast cancer,” Brinker said. “Today, so many women and men are surviving breast cancer, with a better quality of life and much more support than when we first started, largely through the extraordinary work and dedication of so many. It is especially meaningful to me to play a larger role helping to guide Komen through its mission to end this disease forever.”
Brinker’s career has spanned a variety of leadership roles in business. As part of the original JetBlue Airways marketing team, he was instrumental in developing the airline’s customer experience and brand positioning. Brinker remained with JetBlue for seven years and continues to serve as a consultant for the airline.
Prior to JetBlue, Brinker was a founding member of start-up Satmark Media Group that linked a nationwide network of more than 25,000 web-enabled ATMs with advertisers. He also served as director of relationship marketing at Cendant Corporation where he oversaw the forging of more than 100 partnerships with Fortune 500 companies
Early years spent waiting tables at Chili’s Grill & Bar, the popular restaurant chain founded by his father, helped build his customer relations skills and instincts for creating satisfying customer experiences. As part of a student internship with Brinker International, the parent company of Chili’s, Eric Brinker helped lead the training team that opened the first Chili’s Grill & Bar in Beijing.
A graduate of Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., Brinker earned a degree in communications and received additional training in central European monetary policies at the University of Economics in Prague, Czech Republic. In 2008, IBI Magazine named him to its list of 40 Central Illinois Leaders Under 40. He was named the prestigious Slane Scholar in Residence at his alma mater, Bradley University, for the 2008-2009 academic year.