4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Closing Keynote

When the Mission Trumps the Perks: Working Together to Make a Difference

For more than half a century, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has brought talented and dedicated individuals together to lead the way the world understands, treats and cures pediatric cancer and other deadly diseases. Tackling catastrophic illnesses requires a unique workforce that spans scientific, clinical, administration and global operations. Engaging employees across a multi-layered culture and creating forward-looking, collaborative and inclusive environment is no small feat. But at St. Jude, more than 4,700 employees unite each day under the single mission of finding cures and saving children. James Downing, MD, St. Jude president and chief executive officer, believes a great workplace is more than a list of perks and benefits; it’s a community where people want to work and where they can do their best work. This approach has led St. Jude to being consistently ranked as a top employer in the country—and most importantly, a place where employees can make the most of their careers, while making a difference.


James Downing, MD

President and Chief Executive Officer

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

James Downing, MD, is president and chief executive officer of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As the architect of a new six-year strategic plan, he is leading the expansion of St. Jude clinical care and research programs in Memphis and around the globe. He was instrumental in launching the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project (PCGP), which has sequenced the normal and cancer genomes of more than 800 young cancer patients with some of the least understood and most aggressive tumors. The PCGP has produced groundbreaking discoveries in brain tumors, leukemia, a cancer of the peripheral nervous system, an eye tumor and the degenerative disorder commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.