Claire Sterk, Board Member
President Emerita and Charles Howard Candler Professor in Public Health
Claire is a strategic leader with the capacity to design and execute tactical plans that drive exceptional outcomes. In her 25 year career at Emory University, she delineated the enterprise’s brand positioning as a global leading research university, with an integrated, comprehensive health system; created and implemented a disciplined enterprise-wide strategic plan; and delivered business formation and growth, combined with investment portfolio restructuring, that resulted in new cross-enterprise/sector business streams based on strategic synergies. She leveraged her extensive personal background in higher education, health care/public health and social sciences to position Emory as a global leader in higher education as well as the health care sector, strengthened the enterprise corporate finances, enhanced efficiencies across operating units, and built internal and external stakeholder alliances.
In her most recent position, Claire served as Emory University’s 20th President, being its first female and international president. Currently, Emory University, founded in 1836, owns and operates educational, research, and healthcare facilities including the Emory Healthcare System. The total Emory full-time work force is 33,557 and Emory ranks as the largest employer for full-time Atlanta-based employees. Consolidated financial statement (8/31/2019): total assets in excess of $15B; FY19 annual budget $5.6B, with 62.7% in the health care system; endowment value $6.1B. In collaboration with the Executive Team and the Board, she designed and implemented the One Emory integrated strategic plan, enhanced operational efficiencies, advanced rigorous crisis management practices, and strengthened governance. She retired from Emory in August 2020.
In her previous role at Emory, Claire was Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, a direct report to the President and considered second in the chain of command with a focus on internal affairs. As executive vice president, she had responsibility for the academic operations, revenue generation, cost control, and managing a 19-person executive team of (senior) vice-provost, academic deans, and institute and center directors, and focusing on long-term goals and internal affairs. She was instrumental in advancing Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory (DRIVE), a not-for-profit LLC, with the independence to operate as a biotechnology company. Prior to this role, Claire served as Senior Vice Provost. Her earlier career roles included Research Dean, Department Chair in the Rollins School of Public Health, and Chair of the University Senate). She holds the Charles Howard Candler Professor (since 2015).
Claire has maintained a high professional profile throughout her career. For example, as an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine and her service on boards such as the board of directors/executive committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Georgia Research Alliance, and American Association of Universities (AAU), and 25-plus committees of the National Institutes of Health. In addition, she is an in-demand speaker at high profile industry events. She authored three books and published more than 150 articles, chapters and reports. Her academic research was supported by over $35M in external funding.
Claire completed received her education in the Netherlands: undergraduate degrees in medical anthropology/sociology (propadeuse in 1977; kandidaats in 1979), Free University, Amsterdam; doctorandus degree in medical anthropology, University of Utrecht (1983), doctoral degree in sociology, Erasmus University in Rotterdam.
Claire is a high-energy leader who brings a breath of higher education and health care experiences, business management, operations, innovation, and business growth. She can provide strong leadership to complex companies focused on optimal strategic positioning.