About QLK

Steven M. Derks


Steven M. Derks

President and Chief Executive Officer

Steve Derks brings over 30 years of experience, knowledge and networks to his consulting work at Quick Leonard Kieffer (QLK), where he also serves as President and CEO.

As a CEO assembling and leading 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. He has led Board, CEO and C-suite executive searches for academic medical centers (AMC), some of the nation's largest health systems, hospitals, associations, voluntary health organizations, foundations and human services non-profits.

Prior to joining QLK, Steve served as 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 Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, nationwide network of summer camps, and 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 nationwide executive team.

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, he staffed the Nominating and Governance, and Community Benefit Committees. Prior to joining Advocate, he 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 (IHA). In this role, he partnered and consulted with over 25 Boards and CEOs conducting Board Self-Evaluation, Board Development 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 is a trustee of the International Association of Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation as well as the Three Pillars Foundation, an organization aimed at developing the next generation of philanthropists and non-profit leaders. He serves on the Board Strategic Planning Committee of the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, CO. He is a Fellow of CEO Perspectives, a CEO leadership program led by the 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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