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Tracey D. Brown Takes on Diabetes

CEO, American Diabetes Association

American Diabetes Association C E O Tracey Brown

Stephen Voss

Responsibilities: More than 30 million Americans have diabetes. And among people over 65, the prevalence is 25.2 percent. ADA is the top volunteer organization working to prevent and cure diabetes. It funds research and educates the public. As CEO, Brown oversees an organization with 490 employees and a budget of $156.9 million.

Current priorities: Finding a cure for diabetes, educating the public about the disease and advocating for people with the disease. Continue efforts to improve the finances and employee engagement at ADA, begun during her first year.

At A Glance

Age: 52

Hometown: Rochester, N.Y.

Time in office: She became CEO on June 1, 2018

Personal: She is married and has a teenage daughter

Background: Brown is the first ADA CEO to live with diabetes. After earning a chemical engineering degree, she started her career in research and development at Proctor & Gamble and earned a master's degree in business. She is a former senior vice president of operations at Sam's Club, a subsidiary of Walmart. She was diagnosed with diabetes 15 years ago while pregnant and became diligent about managing her health when her then 5-year-old daughter watched her take insulin and asked, “Mommy, are you going to die of diabetes?” “That was it for me,” she says. I made a commitment at that very moment to my family I would do everything in my power to be a poster child of how you live with diabetes.” Now she watches her diet, exercise, sleep and stress.

What she says:

On diabetes: “It's one of the biggest health epidemics of our time, and the numbers are growing, not declining. As you age, you don't exercise as much, maybe you're not eating as well and gaining weight. All these things increase your factors for type 2 diabetes."

On testing: “Our population is aging. We've got to get ahead of this and help educate people how to manage. Getting tested for diabetes is important for everyone, especially older Americans. The first step to managing is just knowing — are you living with diabetes or prediabetes?"

On her job: “This position here at the ADA is that final piece that has brought purpose, passion and position together."

What people are saying:

"She gets it — not only from the impact of diabetes on the health care system, but she gets it from a very personal level. She's not talking about diabetes, she's talking about my diabetes,” says Bruce Taylor, chairman of the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition.

"Just think passion on steroids,” says Eloise Scavella, ADA chief operating officer, who also worked with Brown at Walmart when Scavella was global vice president of leadership and development. “She brought a business mind into her passion. She has played for the biggest and best from a business perspective.”

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