It was an honor to be presented the 2015 Lecture Award for diabetes education and advocacy by the International Diabetes Federation World Congress. The Award entitled me to give a one hour lecture, which I did, on flourishing with diabetes. Specifically, using a Flourishing Approach to work with people who have diabetes. I start here because this is where my work has culminated – helping health professionals work with people with diabetes in a way that helps them flourish.
This is my focus after more than eighteen years working in diabetes. After seeing how many of us actually do well living with diabetes and studying the research on how people create health. And to enable all people who live with diabetes to find something positive in the living and use diabetes as a catalyst to create a healthier, happier and more meaningful life.
This is how I live with it.
I am sharing a new and positive approach to diabetes that I call the Flourishing Approach. The Flourishing Approach expands health professionals’ treatment repertoire from how they work today to be more inclusive, in partnership with patients and to recognize the complexity of living with diabetes and managing blood sugar. It is about transforming our interactions and communication to work more collaboratively and identify and build on what people are already doing well. To create an environment of safety and help people with diabetes identify their strengths and build resilience and confidence.
As of February 2022 I have had type 1 diabetes (T1D) for 50 years. And yes, I have received my Joslin medal. I got T1D at 18. As a child I was painfully shy. I know what it is to feel alone and to struggle. Yet today I speak on stages around the world and to large audiences sharing this approach. My early shyness serves me; it has made me observant, sensitive to others, perceptive of the emotional landscapes we live in and practiced in how to change them. I’ve also studied and researched how we create health. For seven years I also my provocative ideas regarding diabetes on the HuffPost.
Ad Copywriter & Illustrator
Before I began working in diabetes I was a Madison Avenue advertising copywriter. I was good at it, yet only fulfilled when I was communicating about something that I felt educated and served people. A thread from there to here.
At 28 years old I left my job spurred by a series of personal and professional self-development trainings I had done. I developed an inspirational greeting card business.
I was artist, writer, marketing and sales representative. I was successful; I had 75 national accounts, but I wanted to bring my human potential messages to a broader audience.
I left my native New York City for Tokyo. Tagged in Business Week as my Japanese company’s “secret weapon” – a Western woman in a very traditional Japanese advertising agency – I traveled widely and developed a deeper appreciation for different cultures and peoples. After six expansive years I returned home.
When I was 48 I lost my job, was getting married and went to a certified diabetes educator for the first time. I chose to dedicate my life to helping people with diabetes and the health professionals who help us.
Attending diabetes conferences led to being a main stage speaker around the world including the U.S., Canada, Israel, Singapore, Sydney, Bangalore and the Netherlands.
Work at a Glance
I’ve written hundreds of articles and three books, given webinars, lectures and presentations at professional conferences – IDF World Congress, American Diabetes Association, American Association of Diabetes Educators, JDRF, DAWN 2 conference, all with the intent to educate and inspire others.
I’ve spoken at the United Nations on behalf of the IDF and Lions Club International. My book, The ABCs of Loving Yourself has been used at diabetes camps in Costa Rica and Panama, as a tool for heightening emotional wellness by expressing and sharing the feelings and fears of living with type 1 diabetes. I worked for three weeks pro bono with the medical staff of Jnana Sanjeevini Diabetes Centre in Bangalore, India, sharing the Flourishing Approach.
I do not believe we can motivate anyone, but we can inspire and uplift others to find their own motivation. I work as a corporate advisor and lecturer sharing the Flourishing Approach with health professionals and people with diabetes. I am an Ambassador for the non-profit, Insulin for Life, an IDF Blue Circle Voice member and I’ve spent ten years being an A1C Champion peer mentor.