Ann Palmer: President & Chief Executive Officer of the Arthritis Foundation


Photo: Ann Palmer (Photo courtesy of the Arthritis Foundation)

Ann M. Palmer: President & Chief Executive Officer of the Arthritis Foundation

Ann Palmer, currently the President and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation, understands how living with a chronic disease affects the entire family. Empowering people, their family and friends, and their community to live their best life despite their disease is Ann’s passion.

Ann has held executive leadership positions with the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She has led organizational redesign initiatives to create successful models for effective mission delivery. Throughout her career, Ann has successfully inspired volunteers to exceed fundraising goals, raising $100 million in major gifts, and doubling special events revenue during her time at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

She is known for being an industry leader who makes sound business decisions based on the latest trends and data and for delivering programmatic impact that meets the needs of communities large and small across the country and internationally. She has partnered with leaders in Spain and China to establish new and viable osteoarthritis organizations and with other international leaders to grow and transform their organizations.

Ann values teamwork and collaboration. She excels at leading large and diverse teams to deliver results, thinking big and always leading with mission. She has guided organizations through extensive organizational redesigns resulting in significant fiscal savings while creating scalable delivery models enabling greater reach and impact to people and communities in need.

Ann has always been a volunteer herself, serving as PTA president and board member for many years, and she also continues to be active in community groups like Jaycees and the Chamber of Commerce. She is a frequent guest speaker for policy groups and is recognized as a successful leader for patient advocacy groups. She currently serves as the President of the National Health Council. Family is important to Ann, a mother of three grown children. She lives in Florida with her husband Gary and their dog Charlie. She enjoys entertaining, gardening, painting, and maintaining her large dollhouse. With more than 30 years of experience within the voluntary health space, Ann has revolutionized the organization’s approach, structure and focus to deliver the greatest impact in the lives of those with arthritis.

Since joining the Arthritis Foundation in 2013, Ann has established the organization’s four pillar areas, introduced an annual planning process to identify and measure priority outcomes and successfully implemented a consolidated structure. With a BS in education from the University of Delaware, Ann has a strong background at three large voluntary health organizations: the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Beginning her career with the American Cancer Society in 1979, she held numerous roles of increasing responsibility over 18 years. In 1997, she joined the American Diabetes Association to oversee increased fundraising for their Mid Atlantic region and led a nationwide operational restructuring that increased efficiency. During her 12 years at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Ann’s leadership brought new business systems and a great team of staff and volunteers who annually raised a net income of more than $100 million. Ann is the immediate past chair of the board of directors of the National Health Council, which consists of voluntary health agencies committed to helping people with chronic diseases and disabilities and their caregivers. She’s also recognized as one of the 100 most influential leaders in the health care industry by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Ann is passionate about her work as the Foundation’s leader: “I am truly inspired by the dedication of our volunteers and the courage and perseverance of people with arthritis and their families. We are responsible for helping more people say Yes to conquering everyday challenges.

Visit the Arthritis Foundation: HERE

Listen to the CEOs You Should Know with Ann Palmer below.


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