44 years, 44 lessons

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I am turning 44 years old, tomorrow, July 15, 2016. Repurposing a theme I did when I turned 40, and adding to the list.

If you find any of these useful, please consider making a special donation on my behalf to Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Here are 44 random lessons I’ve learned, in no particular order:
1. Play peek-a-boo with crying babies in airplanes.
2. Always stay in touch with your childhood friends.
3. When you read a good book, tell others about it.
4. Share good jokes: the world needs more people smiling.
5. Adopt a dog: they are great companions.
6. Dance a lot! It’s good for your heart and your soul.
7. Gardening is good exercise and makes you love plants even more.
8. Grilled sandwiches are the best!
9. Learn to play an instrument: you will have a blast.
10. If someone compliments you, take the compliment.
11. Stare at the sky long enough to watch the clouds moving.
12. Take a deep breath… exhale. Repeat… repeat…
13. Rioja wine. Yep, that’s it.
14. Prog rock, for college years. Ambient and jazz, later in life.
15. When the opportunity opens up, travel: go places!
16. Some Sundays, wake up to baroque music.
17. A cup of black coffee in the mornings: hmmm!
18. Rogaine can help with baldness… if you put it on.
19. If your blood sugars are bad one day, try again the next day.
20. Learn a new language or two. You will discover new worlds.
21. When you travel, don’t take a tour bus: walk around the city.
22. When you are upset, get away from the keyboard, take a walk.
23. Embrace gray hairs: celebrate birthdays!
24. Go inside a photo booth and goof off with friends.
25. Buy local, even if it costs a little more.
26. Have a thick cappuccino every so often.
27. Go to Farmers Markets.
28. Praise in public. Criticize in private, one-on-one.
29. Once in a while, wander, don’t pick up a map.
30. Park as far as you can, don’t use the stairs: walk more.
31. It’s OK to feel afraid. Just don’t let fear control you.
32. Straight or gay: it’s all the same. Everyone is a person.
33. Minnesota and Venezuela are closer than you’d believe.
34. Smile when you are on the phone: other people can feel it.
35. Don’t take yourself too seriously… Seriously!
36. Give to at least one charitable cause every year.
37. Aisle is better than window by a long shot.
38. Once in a while, play a song you love real loud.
39. I have an accent, believe it or not: even in Spanish!
40. When in doubt, remember to tell people how much they rock!
41. Give surprise backrubs. People appreciate it.
42. Avocado with a touch of salt: you heard it here first. šŸ˜‰
43. Read audiobooks… Or listen to them. Just do it.
44. Karaoke with friends: priceless!

Being comissioned a Kentucky Colonel!

It’s been a long time since I blog in here… It’s been very busy.

Today, I want to share some very special personal good news. I received this in the mail today:

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I can think of few things as unexpected as being commissioned a Kentucky Colonel:

The commission of Kentucky Colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Governor of Kentucky. It is recognition of an individualā€™s noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to our community, state and nation.

Just to imagine for a second some of the people who have received this honor before me makes me feel incredibly humbled!

It reminds me of how much more work to be done lies ahead…

Why I joined @Livongo Health

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Last Thursday was my last day at Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Friday May 1, was my first day with Livongo Health, a Digital Health start-up led by Glen Tullman, aimed at reinventing the way we manage chronic conditions (starting with diabetes) through technology, real-time information and human support to make life easier for people with chronic conditions. There, I am honored to serve as Senior Vice President, Member Experience.

Since I joined Livongo, I’ve been drinking from the proverbial firehose! And I’ve been loving it. Livongo has a lot of the qualities that I was hoping for in this next chapter in my life: being able to stay in diabetes where so much needs to be done; having peers from whom I can learn so much and with whom I can partner to do great things for the community; and doing all of this in a very nimble start-up environment.

The seven years I spent at the helm of Diabetes Hands Foundation gave me a humbling sense of how challenging diabetes can be, and how CRITICAL it is that the person living with it (and their loved ones) remain at the center of it, if we are to have any chance to tackling this epidemic.

Also, diabetes is a truly multi-dimensional problem and Livongo is aware of this. To help tackle it, Glen has put together an incredibly talented group of people! Just as important as hiring great people it is to recognize areas where you need to partner with others to bring the best member experience (and, consequently, the best possible outcomes). I am excited to see Livongo do this as well in areas where it makes more sense to partner than to go at it alone.

I can see the impact that the Livongo platform has in myself. I am testing more often than before (unlimited test strips is a pretty compelling value); and my time in range has improved too (not surprising, considering my exchanges with the Livongo CDEs have been the most time I recall having spent with a diabetes educator discussing MY diabetes in a very long time). And it’s all included within the Livongo program!

I want everyone with diabetes to enjoy these same benefits, and all the things that the platform will continue to evolve to offer.

Image credit: Mike Lawson @ Diabetes Hands Foundation