A winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and the former White House Chief of Protocol, Nancy Brinker has had an incredible role in advocating for safety, health, and the overall prosperity of our nation and modern world. In her early life, Brinker struggled understanding math at her school in Peoria, Illinois. She got by in her classes by realizing that memory was the ticket to A's in middle and high school. But when standardized tests foiled her memorization strategy, her poor SAT scores were made up for by her incredible performance in the classroom, earning her admission to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she found more hardship in the shape of large classes and distant professors. Her love of reading historical biographies and her driven, self-achieving mindset took her to graduation, where she majored in sociology & double minored in philosophy and English.

After graduating and spending some time in the workforce and starting a family, Brinker’s son was diagnosed with dyslexia. It wasn’t until then that Nancy Brinker realized she too had dyslexia, seeing so much of herself in her son’s experience and difficulties in school. She urges parents and children to not be afraid of a dyslexia diagnosis, but rather understand it and use it to their advantage. “You just can’t be discouraged,” she says, “because you are a round peg that doesn’t fit in a square hole.” To learn more about Nancy’s work for the government, her strong support of progress in breast cancer research through the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and more of her story, click here.