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Nancy Frates

CEO, Team Frate Train; Champion, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; Member, ALS Association Chairman’s Council

Travels From:
Massachusetts
Fee Range:
$15,000 - $25,000

A distinguished businesswoman in her own right, Nancy Frates is the mother behind the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the very apex of viral philanthropy, and a leader in the ALS community.

Driven by the unacceptability of her son’s prognosis, Nancy Frates has utilized her business acumen, communication skills and mama bear drive to network, advocate and create worldwide awareness in the fight against ALS/MND. In August 2014, her son Peter, in concert with his family and supporters, championed the historic global movement, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (ALS IBC), which ignited a media maelstrom, raising over $220 million in just five weeks.

Featured Videos

Nancy Frates: Why my family started the ALS Ice Bucket ...

Nancy Frates, ALS Bucket Challenge Medidata Next 2017

The Mother Behind the Ice Bucket Challenge

Speaker Resources

On March 13, 2012, Nancy’s 27 year old son Peter was diagnosed with ALS. Her family’s world changed in a moment. They were told that there is no treatment or cure and the prognosis was 2-5 years. Since that day, Nancy has immersed herself in the ALS community as an advocate and thought leader. She has traveled and networked to the offices of CEO’s, Senators, Congressmen, top doctors and governmental authorities. She has testified in Washington DC on Capitol Hill, at the White House and to an FDA panel regarding important issues affecting the ALS community. Nancy has developed strong relationships with many ALS organizations involved in research, patient support, advocacy and fundraising as well as ALS priority pharmaceutical companies. She has helped build strong relationships between the ALS Association and new strategic business partners such as Major League Baseball.

August 2014, Nancy’s son Peter along with their family and supporters, better known as Team Frate Train, inspired the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to go viral, raising $220 million for the ALS Association and its global partners. During that August and the months following, Nancy has done many domestic and international television, magazine and web interviews. Her speaking engagements have taken her around the country and the globe, inspiring others with her family's story and continuing the momentum created for their cause, ALS.

Nancy holds a business degree from Boston College and an honorary Doctorate in Humane Studies from Endicott College. Before devoting her life to her son's mission, she was an accomplished entrepreneur and business coach.

She presently serves on the Board of Trustees at Endicott College and is a National Trustee for the ALS Association. In August 2017, New York Times bestselling authors Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge published her family's story, The Ice Bucket Challenge. Her Ted Talk , on Ted.com, has been viewed over 1 million times.

Upon her son’s ALS diagnosis, Nancy Frates was presented with an unacceptable prognosis and the absence of any treatment for his disease. Nancy takes the audience on her family’s tragic yet beautiful journey, entwined with the origins of the historic ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Her delivery is enhanced with a clarity and passion that only a mother can express while inspiring audiences to account for their own outlook on their life’s challenges.


The Ice Bucket Challenge did more than just raise hundreds of millions of dollars for ALS and educate millions on the disease, but it also disrupted an entire social media platform and changed its design forever. Because of Ice Bucket Challenge’s call to donate to ALS, Facebook was forced to create a “donate” button on their website. This has paved the way for other philanthropies to raise money through Facebook and ultimately increase donations.


In a compelling and enlightening discussion, Frates will discuss how her small, but mighty campaign disrupted a social media powerhouse and garnered support across all social media platforms.


Nancy Frates credits much of her success to the basics, including being a leader. Frates’ strips off the fluff and keeps it simple.  Her leadership style follows the system of: educate, plan, then delegate.


From panel discussions to intensive leadership keynotes, Frates takes a deep dive into what it takes to be a leader. While new age CEOs and management officials try the snazzy innovative techniques, Frates explains that it will not work unless the fundamentals exemplify honesty, hard work, and purpose.


Her delivery is enhanced with a clarity and passion that only a leader can express while inspiring audiences to account for their own outlook on their life’s challenges.


What seemed like out of nowhere, a huge fad sweeps the country and then the world. It dominated social media for months. And unlike many other “fads” or “trends,” the #IceBucketChallenge made a difference and changed the world.


The #IceBucketChallenge raised over two hundred million dollars worldwide for ALS organizations, in just 8 weeks. The money raised has led to more research and more spending on patient care, with annual funding for researched tripled.


Nancy Frates will touch on the many aspects and elements that go into a successful campaign and what it means and takes to change the world. For Frates, it started with a vision to help her son combat a disease and turned into a national effort through the power of communities.


The backbone behind the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge was networking. And not just through a computer screen, but face to face. The network that the Frates’ had built throughout their lives was the basis of its success, and their willingness and drive to expand their reach is what made it historic.


Frates’ provides a first-hand perspective on building those important relationships and successful networking. Her argument of selling yourself before your brand segues into her belief that you must earn the trust of the consumer before you can sell your product.


In this case, the product was ALS, and to do that, she had to educate before she could fundraise. Frates will walk the audience through the steps she took to make those successful relationships and build her extensive and powerful network.


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  • "I think I can speak for everyone and say that Nancy was beyond phenomenal. . She was inspiring, impressive, and so humble." - Liz Churgin, Corporate Events, Jeffries

  • "I was excited to hear her speak, but she exceeded my expectations. I look forward to having more events with Nancy in the future." - Liz Churgin, Corporate Events, Jeffries

  • "The feedback from clients and Jefferies folks from Nancy’s session has been phenomenal. We’ve even had a bank competitor ask about her background because they had heard such great things second hand.“ - Shannon Murphy, Jeffries

  • "She was a standout for the event, and someone our attendees will be thinking about for quite a while. “ - Shannon Murphy, Jeffries

  • "She could not have been more lovely to deal with and her message resonated so strongly with our audience. I’ve already heard some buzz from our attendees that they want to invite her to speak at future events." - Pfizer

  • "...If you are fortunate to have an opportunity to hear Nancy speak, prepare yourself for an emotional and inspirational experience you will remember for a long time." - CEO, Suffolk Construction

  • "...you could hear a pin drop as she revealed chapter by chapter of her amazing story of awareness, discovery, family, and the confrontation of inevitable loss." - Chief Development Officer, MassChallenge, Inc.

  • "People were very moved by Nancy and Pete’s story – moved to donate, moved to share their own stories, moved to want to know more about Pete. We were so proud to have her!" - Melissa Suster, Vice President, Associated General Counsel, AT&T

  • "Nancy was phenomenal! The leadership hosts and winners were thrilled. Standing O." - Midge Stone, Senior Events Manager, AT&T

  • Your presentation was impactful, personal and resonated with every person in that room." - Meghan Dorsey, Director, Events, Medidata Solutions

  • "You were our highest rated keynote speaker and the feedback we received from our attendees has been outstanding!" - Meghan Dorsey, Director, Events, Medidata Solutions