Letter From the CEO: Exciting Beginnings
My path to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) began 14 years ago. A routine checkup during pregnancy ended in a trip to the hospital, an IV with insulin, and a gestational diabetes diagnosis. After giving birth, I left the hospital with a beautiful baby girl—and type 2 diabetes.
I spent a long time in denial. Maybe you’ve been there, or maybe you’re still there. Here’s what snapped me out of it: My daughter, who by then was 5 years old, looked up at me one day and asked, “Are you going to die from diabetes?” That single question led me to exercise and more healthful eating. It led me to where I am today—an A1C of 6 percent and fewer medications. And it ultimately led me to the ADA and a deep calling: to help the ADA achieve its mission.
While I was the senior vice president of operations and chief experience officer for Sam’s Club, I led the company’s ADA volunteer team. I raised funds for the Kiss a Pig gala event in Arkansas the past two years, and I was inspired by the ADA’s mission and commitment to serving and supporting people with diabetes. And earlier this year, I joined the ADA’s National Board of Directors.
Five months later, I joined the ADA as its new CEO. This is a tremendously important and deeply personal responsibility. You and I both know, intimately, what’s at stake. We’re fighting for our health. For our rights. We’re fighting to increase awareness of a disease that’s often misunderstood.
As I join the ADA, my pledge to you is this: We’ll raise our voices about the seriousness of diabetes. We’ll support science toward a cure. We’ll harness technology to create smarter, more innovative solutions. And we’ll work to change people’s mindsets about diabetes, which will, in turn, help them change behaviors to better manage the disease and reduce the risk of many others developing diabetes.
I’m looking to the future—mine, yours, and that long-awaited day when we finally have a cure. And I’m also looking at how the ADA can help you today. It’s poised to make both a short- and long-term impact in so many areas: research, advocacy, education, clinical work, insurance, drug prices, and more. Together, we can make that happen.
I’m a person just like you who, with each and every finger prick, is inspired to improve the lives of people with diabetes. I was destined for this role, and I’m honored to be leading the ADA into the future.
Tracey D. Brown, PWD*
*Person with diabetes