About QLK

Steven M. Derks


Steven M. Derks

President and Chief Executive Officer

Steve Derks brings 30 years of experience, knowledge, and networks to his advisory and consulting work at Quick Leonard Kieffer.

As a CEO assembling executive teams, as a board member helping to select and partner with CEOs and executives, and in his work with QLK clients, he has garnered a keen understanding of working with hiring executives and boards of directors, discerning the strategic leadership needs of organizations, identifying qualified talent, and recognizing the best fit for "1+1=3" relationships. Steve has led succession planning and Board, CEO and C-suite executive searches for academic medical centers (AMC), health systems, hospitals, associations, voluntary health organizations and non-profits.

Prior to his appointment as President and CEO of Quick Leonard Kieffer, Steve served as National President and CEO of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), the leader in the fight against muscular dystrophy and ALS through research, clinical care, support services, and education. During his tenure, Steve and his team successfully led an aggressive reorganization and rebranding to reposition the iconic voluntary health association known for its MDA Labor Day Telethon, nationwide network of summer camps, groundbreaking clinical trials and research partnerships with industry and academic medical centers.

Steve previously spent ten years as the Chief Executive Officer of the American Cancer Society's Illinois Division, one of 11 separately incorporated divisions of the Society, also serving on the organization's nationwide executive team. During his tenure at ACS, he led the Smoke-free Chicago and Smoke-free Illinois campaigns, organizing comprehensive, award-winning media, grassroots advocacy, and lobbying campaigns to pass the most comprehensive clean indoor air laws thus far in the United States. He also led the creation of a Patient Navigation System that now serves over 60,000 cancer patients each year. Along with David Bernauer, the then-Chairman and CEO of Walgreens, Steve founded CEOs Against Cancer, and launched The Discovery Ball, now a $3 million black tie event funding cancer research, patient services, education, and advocacy.

Earlier in his career, Steve held the role of vice president and member of the executive management team of Advocate Health Care, then a $3 billion health care delivery network with 10 hospitals and 200 sites of care that served more than two million people per year.  As part of his responsibilities, staffed the Board Stewardship and Community Benefit and Healthy Communities Committees. He also served as the senior director of federal and state government relations and policy and as a governance consultant to hospital governing boards for the 200-member Illinois Hospital Association. He partnered with over 25 Boards and CEOs conducting Board Self-Evaluation, Board Retreats and founded The Institute for Governance.

Steve is a proud co-founder and Leadership Council member of Horizons for Youth, a Chicago scholarship and mentoring program annually serving 250 at-risk children from kindergarten through college graduation. He serves as a trustee of the International Association of Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation as well as the Three Pillars Foundation, a program aimed at developing the next generation of philanthropists and non-profit leaders. He is a Fellow of CEO Perspectives, a CEO leadership program led in partnership by Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and the Corporate Leadership Center. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Masters in Health Administration program at the University of Illinois School of Public Health and is a former Gubernatorial appointee to the Illinois State Board of Health. Steve is also a Fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago and a member of The Economic Club of Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois, and a Master of Science in Health Systems Management degree from Rush University.

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