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One of the youngest women to attend HBS, Amy Schiffman Langer (MBA 1977) was building a successful investment banking career when a cancer diagnosis at age 29 spurred her to volunteer at the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations. She eventually became the nonprofit’s full-time executive director from 1990 through its closure in 2004, and an internationally recognized advocate.

“Our efforts started a movement that vastly escalated breast cancer research funding and gave patients and survivors a permanent voice in medical decision-making,” says Langer. With its mission of education and patient empowerment, the organization created the first comprehensive, disease-specific cancer site on the Web, and informed millions though innovative corporate partnerships.

Another life-changing event prompted Langer to focus her advocacy on the physically disabled, after losing use of both legs when struck by a motorist asleep at the wheel. “I’ve parlayed my misfortunes into my career,” she says, adding: “I believe there is a cosmic system that brings us adversity for a reason. When you’re given that message, you have to keep going.”

(Published April 2014)

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Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1977, Section G

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