CEO, American Diabetes Association
Headquarters: Alexandria, Virginia
Education: MBA, University of Rhode Island
First Job: Sales representative for Skil power tools
What I’m Reading: Identical by Scott Turow
Best Advice: Never take yourself too seriously.
Responding to the needs of the underserved
I take pride in knowing that the American Diabetes Association is committed to embracing and drawing from the unique voices, experiences, and perspectives of our volunteers, our staff, and our partner organizations in all that we do. Given the seriousness of diabetes and the communities that it most heavily impacts, it is crucial for diversity and inclusion to be central to our work. This commitment informs and empowers us to reflect and effectively serve all of our communities, and I believe it will help us capture the national spotlight around the seriousness of diabetes.
The development of our Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Framework was initiated in 2012 to drive our work. Association staff crafted a plan and developed the initial strategies with input from our national Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
I set up and lead an Executive Diversity & Inclusion Council (EDIC) that guides the development, implementation, and ongoing evaluation of the strategies set forth in the framework. I chose senior-level staff for this Council, who have the authority in the Association to successfully drive implementation. Twenty percent of the council are my direct reports. The EDIC is responsible for prioritizing strategies, monitoring implementation, identifying success metrics, and evaluating outcomes. EDIC members work with staff throughout the organization to advance our effort to become a more diverse and inclusive environment.
The results of our 2012 Diversity & Inclusion staff survey acted as a first step to determine what changes and improvements we needed to make across the Association. This survey offered diverse perspectives that did not align with our current realities on promotion rates and recruitment. While we are making good progress, one of our greatest challenges is to encourage our workforce to understand and appreciate how diversity and inclusion need to be integrated with all that we do from recruitment to fundraising and even diversity in research grants, funding, and outreach and education programs that are so crucial to our mission.
I am certain that creating a progressive, diverse, and inclusive culture will foster the innovation and creativity required for the American Diabetes Association to remain relevant and competitive in a rapidly evolving marketplace. It will also improve our ability to respond to the needs of our constituencies, particularly populations disparately impacted by diabetes, in a way that is culturally competent and relevant. I am proud of our advances and look forward to the changes to come.