You know how you never work with some folks but you see their work and all their excellent time invested? That is the way I am with the paid staff of TUDiabetes. I really never work with them and I can only say I have met two of them and one of those was on a conference call. So one would think it is pretty difficult to write a blog in praise of our paid staff, right? Well it is true, I do not know them well but I see their handiwork and I am deeply appreciative of what they do and how they do it. So with that in mind, please indulge my morning dribble.
I think we all see, and know the excellent work that Manny puts into the community. Our co-founder and often chief inspiration not only thought of the idea of the site, but he also kept it going in some really lean times. I asked Doris (one of our first 1,000 members) what the site was like then as compared to today. She remarked each day as she signed on she was happy to see it was still operating.
Of course it was those early members who set the tone for what we enjoy today but is was Manny who kept it going. He hustled and begged for resources and kept the site afloat. Much like today what we enjoy and take for granted often gasps money to remain operational. I know from meeting Manny, that he hustles virtually every day, to keep us going.
Manny also sets the tone not just for the paid staff, but for our site. He does it in countless speaking presentations, board meetings that he serves on and conferences attended. It is a big job and those of us who love this community owe Manny a great deal of gratitude for the countless hours he puts into keeping us open.
Now if the site began and ended with Manny my little blog would be over, but there is so much more. For one take our Spanish language site. Of course we have Emily Coles, we know her for her outstanding work on the Thursday chats and this has both broadened the scope of our community and connected us to the leading experts in the field of diabetic research. Emily is head of communities including TUdiabetes and if you have ever interacted with her she is truly one of the most positive gifted individuals I have met in some time. I guess I should know about those two traits since I used to look for them in teachers I would hire for a school system. That is how I relate to Emily she is a teacher, not a teller. Emily is a type 1 and one heck of good dance I am told. Every time I listen to one of her Thursday chats, she teachers me something and just as important she teaches our guests about TUDiabetes. She is a gem and we are lucky to have her.
Milia Ferrer (EsTuDiabetes Community Manager, mother of a child with type 1) facilitates a site of more than 20,000 members who for most of us on TU Diabetes is out of sight and out of mind. Except they are not, People of Hispanic origin are among the fast growing and least severed diabetic populations.
I also know another thing and that is that our organization maintains fiscal integrity by having Corinna Cornejo as our Development manager. Corinna runs a tough ship with our finances and to my knowledge she has never let us down. Today the activities of our site are so vast and varied that keeping the books, the 501c(3) status and complying with foundation reports is a nightmare. Having done a similar job before, I can honestly say I will never do it again. From my past experiences I know Corinna must feel some days like she is herding cats. (No offense to cat lovers intended). It is a tough job and I am so glad we have a person with Corinna’s steady hand at the rudder. Corinna has type 2 diabetes.
Last but not least is a guy I have never met, and have only heard tales of. That is Mike Lawson, (Head of Experience). I have no idea exactly what he does but I have been told he along with dozens of volunteers keeps the technical monsters at bay. I also happen to know he does the site lay out and graphics along wiht some of the most awesome videos around. For a fun look at our world check out http://www.tudiabetes.org/video/diabetes-police . I also hear he is one funny guy. you gotta love funny and computer, a rare mix. Mike is a type 1.
Now, I hope you are not thinking you are getting away without a fund raising pitch? This site runs out of your individual generosity, yes we chase grants, yes we get sponsors, yes we are fortunate, but we need your dollars and your help to do it. Ultimately this site belongs to the members. If you like it here and I hope you do give when you are asked. Because without your support, we may be like Doris described, wondering each day if when you log in if the site will still be there. With your help, it will, without it, well the future would be uncertain.
Thank you paid staff. Thank you for what you do for us, with us, and sometimes in spite of us. Thank you for helping, pushing and yes most of all thank you for caring for us. I hope you can feel our appreciation for you.