Iris graduated Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts (BFA). She soon joined Federated Department Stores where she worked in the advertising department at Lord & Taylor’s flagship store in New York City. She rose to the position of Art Director and remained there for thirteen years. She then founded her own interior design firm, Iris Designs, which has since evolved into Creations by Iris Dankner.
After breast cancer diagnosis in 1997, Iris became involved with fundraising as part of her desire to "pay it forward”. For six years, Iris was an executive committee member of the Susan G. Komen Greater NYC Board of Directors; was a three-year chair of the Komen NYC Race for the Cure; and a co-founder (with her daughters, Danielle and Niki) of Teens for the Cure®, whose major fundraising event was called Tickled Pink. In October 2009, Dankner was a US delegate representing Komen at the first Race for the Cure® in Cairo, Egypt. The following year, she became an integral member of the planning team for the first Race for the Cure in Israel, which was held in October 2010.
Along with the philanthropic work which Iris has dedicated her life to, she has also been honored with several awards that acknowledge her generosity, ability to inspire, and desire to make a difference in the world. These awards include the following: 2009 –Featured Survivor in the Survivor Portrait Gallery from Susan G. Komen, 2010 –Myrtle Wreath Achievement Award from The Nassau Region of Hadassah, 2013 –Pink Apron Award from The Ellen Hermanson Foundation, 2017 –Spirit of Life Award from The City of Hope, and 2018 -Hewlett-Woodmere Alumni Hall of Fame. As a breast cancer survivor, Iris was inspired to combine her two passions —interior design and eradicating breast cancer —and noted a lack of high-profile interior design events in the New York City area, which benefited women’s issues. In response, she created an interior design how house, naming it Holiday House, to celebrate life events and raise funds for breast cancer research. At its inception in 2008, Holiday House became the first designer show house in New York City to benefit a breast cancer organization, attracting talented designers from across the country to transform 23 rooms of the historic Academy Mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side into artistic creations. It is now celebrating its 12th year anniversary. Holiday House has also expanded to a summer how house in the Hampton.
It is now established as one of the premiere interior design show houses in the country and, last fall, launched the first Holiday Houses how house in London. Proceeds from Holiday House events benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®(BCRF), which was founded by Evelyn Lauder in 1993. BCRF works tirelessly towards achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer by providing critical funding for innovative clinical research at leading medical centers worldwide and increasing public awareness about good breast health. Iris currently proudly serves as a member of the Advisory Board of BCRF.