24 Apr 2014
Personal crises inform a life’s workTopics:
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)
Class of MBA 1977, Section G