This year's Elsie Foster Jenkins '53 Community Service Lecture Speaker Deborah W. Brooks is co-founder and executive vice-chairman of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF). Ms. Brooks launched MJFF with Michael J. Fox in 2000 and served as founding CEO until 2007.
With a background in business and finance, she brings strategic leadership, business acumen and an entrepreneurial approach to the Foundation, which has grown rapidly from a start-up to the world's largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson's disease research.
Ms. Brooks oversees Foundation business lines that focus on engagement and interaction with the Parkinson’s community which include fundraising, communications, integrated marketing and digital strategy. She also serves as a senior adviser on overall strategic and programmatic direction. She works closely with MJFF CEO Todd Sherer, PhD, as well as the Foundation's executive team and Board of Directors to articulate and realize the vision of MJFF as an unprecedented stakeholder in drug development — a nimble, resourceful, patient-focused problem-solver whose efforts are demonstrably accelerating progress toward treatment breakthroughs and a cure.
An expert spokesperson and thought leader, Ms. Brooks has been a keynote speaker at media and industry events throughout the world including Financial Times’ Global Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Conference, Fortune Brainstorm HEALTH, Deloitte Global Health Care Life Science and Health Care Industry Forum, J.P. Morgan (r)Evolution Conference, Amazon’s MARS conference, the Milken Institute Global Conference, FasterCures, the America Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Institute, and the SkyBridge ALTernatives (SALT) conference. Additionally, she has been featured in a mix of top tier press including The New York Times, Bloomberg, Fortune, Fast Company, Forbes, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, CNBC’s The Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo, Variety and People.
Ms. Brooks currently serves on several boards including the Board of Advisors and the MBA Council of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and the Advisory Board for Women in Business at Tuck, the Board of Overseers of the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, the Advisory Board for FasterCures' Philanthropy Advisory Service and the Delaware Parkinson’s Disease Task Force. She is a past member of the Parkinson's Institute Board of Directors, Pfizer's U.S. Health Advisory Board, the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council of the National Institutes of Health, and External Advisory Board for Emory University's Collaborative Center for Parkinson's Disease Environmental Research.
Ms. Brooks started her career at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where she spent nine years as vice president in the Fixed Income and Asset Management Divisions. She holds an AB in Economics from the College of William and Mary, an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College and an MS in Marital and Family Therapy from Northwestern University.