President & CEO
Laura Thrall brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit sector to her role as Chief Executive Officer for Epilepsy Foundation of America. A four-time CEO, Thrall previously served as CEO for D.C. based CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, and YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago.
In each of her leadership roles, Thrall led transformations of established legacy operations to more efficiently deliver measurable impact for their constituencies. In her most recent role at CureSearch, she transformed the organization from the largest federal grantee in childhood cancer to a privately funded entity focused on driving promising therapeutics into the clinic. While at CureSearch, Thrall developed the Catapult model, an evergreen fund supporting clinic-ready projects led by academic investigators and small biopharma companies. She created and seated a community of 40 expert stakeholders including scientific, industry, and venture capital councils, and established the annual CureSearch Catapult Summit, an outcomes-based forum to advance childhood cancer therapeutics.
In addition to her staff leadership positions, Thrall has served in a variety of civic and board leadership roles. She served as an appointed member on two Illinois Governor’s Commissions, chaired the Chicago Alliance for Collaborative Effort, and was founding member of Illinois Partners for Human Services. Dedicated to the healthcare community, she served on the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division, the Cerebrovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board at Melwood, HTC, a large Mid-Atlantic agency dedicated to ensuring that adults with differing abilities are included in the workplace.
Laura holds a Master’s degree in Public Service Management from DePaul University in Chicago. She and her partner Kevin Booth relocated to Annapolis, MD in 2012 and have five adult children between them residing in DC, New York, Chicago, LA, and Atlanta.
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