In addition to using technology to assist me, I have changed my eating habits and have begun exercising regularly. I’m proud to say that I have worked my way off of insulin and cut my oral medications in half, and I plan to work my way off of them completely. Far too many people with diabetes are unable to make healthy changes and adopt positive routines because of issues like healthy food access and lack of affordable medications. We at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) advocate daily to change that, because we want to see everyone have access to the proper foods, medications, supplies, care and education they need to better manage their diabetes.
I am dedicating my life to helping as many people as possible thrive while living with diabetes, driving prevention of diabetes and continuing to fight for a cure to eradicate this disease! This is about serving a purpose bigger than myself: helping people and saving lives. This isn’t dissimilar to the purpose of Walmart: to save people money so they can live better. Again, part of the reason why I absolutely loved working for the Walmart/Sam’s Club family is because at the core of what Mr. Sam believed in and what the company does every day is helping people, both customers and associates. When I joined Sam’s Club/Walmart my intention was that it would be my last corporate stop because I believe in everything the company stands for: servant leadership, helping people and doing good. I was blessed to serve initially as Sam’s Club’s Chief Membership & Marketing Officer and then as the Senior Vice President of Operations and Chief Experience Officer, and honestly didn’t dream of leaving the organization. I was serving on the National Board of the ADA, and I was asked if I would consider coming on as the CEO. That took me by surprise! However, many know that I never believe anything happens by chance, and I believe that life is about aligning your life’s purpose with your passions and then finally with your position. After prayer and careful consideration, I decided to devote all of my skillset, expertise and experience to taking down this diabetes epidemic and saving lives!
As the first chief executive officer of the ADA living with diabetes, I truly feel this is a role where my purpose meets my passion and position. I am where I am supposed to be during this season of my life. Our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all those affected by it. I work every day to meet that mission because, as someone living with diabetes myself, I feel an intense drive to help educate the world on diabetes, how to prevent it, and just as important, how to thrive with it.
Let me give you one more thing to think about. 1 out of 2 people are either living with diabetes or prediabetes. This means that everyone knows someone who is affected by this disease.