Dear American Diabetes Association family,
It is with great excitement that I greet you all this week and let you know how much I am looking forward to working with all of you come June 1st.
As I shared with many of you several weeks ago at the Town Hall in Alexandria, VA, I am thrilled for the opportunity to bring awareness and greater resources to those Americans suffering from this horrible disease.
Many of you have heard that diabetes has personally touched several of my family members. I remember as a child going to across the street to spend time with my beloved grandmother, who had type 2. I watched her labor over checking what she referred to as “her sugar levels”. I watched her struggle with poor circulation and other medical complications. I’ve often wondered, for her, in particular what would her life have looked like if she didn’t have this disease? What tools could have given her a better quality of life – if only she had known about the work of the American Diabetes Association?
As I assume my role as CEO, I will think about her everyday as well as my mother, father and brother-in-law who are also suffering with this disease — pouring all the passion I have into finding a cure. No more Americans should be told that they have diabetes. My ultimate goal is to find a cure! (And the researchers say we’re closer every day to this huge milestone!)
And, I know that so many of you have chosen to be a part of the American Diabetes team for the same reasons. Diabetes has affected you, your family and friends and you want to do all you can to bring hope for the future. What a great reason to be excited to come to work each day!
So with our great mission in mind, we’ve got a lot of work to do.
And this will be my approach: excellence. I believe our mission requires our absolute best.
We can’t settle on the “way we’ve always done things.”
We can’t settle for “what gives us the greatest short-term gain.”
We can’t settle on strategic plans that ” bring us comfort and eliminates our risks.”
No, if we truly what to stop diabetes from hurting the lives of more families in the US (and around the world too), then we have to think beyond the walls of what we’ve seen done in the past. We all have to challenge ourselves to grow in our professional abilities. And there will be times when we have to take risks in order to reach our greatest potential.
Does this mean that we won’t have failures? Of course not. All great leaders and organizations have set backs from time to time. The real issue is how we talk about our mistakes, learn from them and make better choices together the next time.
One of my favorite quotes on this topic comes from Winston Churchill: “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Anyone who has worked for me in the past would tell you, I like to have fun at work. Life is too short to take ourselves too seriously. But while we enjoy our work , we turn our heads toward the future!
So, in the meantime, as I finish up my responsibilities at Feed the Children, continue to work hard and stay the course. You have some great leaders in place that will champion your efforts.
Come June, I look forward to a great working relationship with one another and all that we will accomplish together! My wife, Elizabeth, is equally excited to contribute her skills and time to this great cause. And we will see you soon.
All the best to you!