American Diabetes Association® Announces Tracey D. Brown, MBA, BChE, as new CEO, effective June 1, 2018

by LP Green, II

The National Board of Directors of the American Diabetes Association® (ADA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Tracey D. Brown, MBA, BChE, as the ADA’s new Chief Executive Officer, effective June 1, 2018. Ms. Brown joins the ADA from Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart, Inc., where she currently serves as Senior Vice President of Operations and Chief Experience Officer. She succeeds Martha Parry Clark, MBA, who has served as the ADA’s Interim CEO since April 2017. Ms. Clark leaves her role as Interim CEO on May 31, 2018, and returns to her seat on the ADA’s Board of Directors.

Ms. Brown started her career at Procter & Gamble as a chemical engineer in research and development, and in process engineering. After receiving an MBA from Columbia University, she became a business growth driver and an inspiring leader using, data, digital and technology to grow revenues, increase operating income and drive transformation. Throughout her 25 years of business experience and as CEO of RAPP Dallas, she has solved complex issues for large multi-national companies. Most recently, she has driven transformation in Sam’s Club’s $60 billion business by creating meaningful experiences for members, and by simplifying the work for over 100,000 associates to drive consistent and successful execution across their business.

Ms. Brown has also been an enthusiastic volunteer and effective fundraiser for the ADA in her local community, and joined the ADA’s National Board of Directors in January 2018. As recounted by John Furner, President and CEO of Sam’s Club, “Tracey lives with type 2 diabetes herself, so it was natural for us to ask Tracey to represent Sam’s Club and be a candidate in the ADA’s local fundraiser. She personally raised more than double what was raised by all of the candidates combined the previous year. She not only smashed that record, she set a new national ADA benchmark as well. While we are certainly disappointed to see Tracey leave Sam’s Club, we know she will do an awesome job at the ADA. We wish her all the best!”

“Following a thorough national search for our new CEO, we have found in Ms. Brown a talented business leader with deep strategic and operational expertise, as well as significant experience in consumer engagement. At the same time, as an engineer, she is a careful, analytical thinker who values and makes data-driven decisions. With this background, she is the perfect partner to the ADA’s Chief Scientific, Medical and Mission Officer William T. Cefalu, MD, an internationally recognized diabetes researcher and clinician who is already accelerating our scientific, medical and mission initiatives,” said Karen Talmadge, PhD, 2018 Chair of the ADA’s National Board of Directors.

“I have admired the remarkable and important work of the ADA for years. Every ADA employee I have met brings passion, dedication and a sense of service to their work,” said Ms. Brown. “I am incredibly grateful for my years at Sam’s Club, and excited by the positive changes and global business growth the team and I achieved there. Now I have the opportunity to use my business background and leadership experience to help the ADA increase its global impact. I am also in awe of the potential to help the more than 400 million people living with diabetes worldwide.

I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes that became type 2 diabetes more than 14 years ago. Since then, I have lived with the burden of managing this disease every hour of every day of every year. And, as I know all too well, diabetes affects the entire family, not just the person diagnosed with diabetes. In my personal life, I strive to be a living example of how to manage and thrive with this disease. I am succeeding because I have access to the right information, care and support. I am ready to join the ADA in its fight to provide these same things to all people with diabetes.

All of the skills and experience that I have gained from the for-profit world have been cultivated for such a time as this. My purpose, passion and this position have aligned, and I am honored to be joining an organization as valuable as the ADA. It changes lives for the better,” concluded Ms. Brown.

“Since I joined the ADA over a year ago, we have worked tirelessly to honor the ADA’s 80-year legacy of improving the lives of people with diabetes,” Dr. Cefalu said. “We now have a strong portfolio of scalable programs and efforts, and have built a solid infrastructure to support the next phase of exciting growth at the ADA, all toward the goal of changing the trajectory of this devastating and expensive disease,” Dr. Cefalu explained.

“While proud of the important work we have done so far for individuals with diabetes, we are poised to do so much more and at an accelerated pace! I welcome Ms. Brown to the ADA, and I personally look forward to having her as a partner to increase the ADA’s reach and expedite its impact. I am excited about the contributions she will be making to the ADA because of her understanding of digital platforms and consumer engagement, her broad business expertise and her personal commitment to improving the lives of those with diabetes. I look forward to working together to bring meaningful change to the lives of people with diabetes,” Dr. Cefalu continued.

Dr. Talmadge added, “During this past year of change in how the ADA approaches its mission, Ms. Clark has served as Interim Chief Executive Officer, and the Board is extremely grateful for her strong leadership. Under her guidance, the ADA strengthened the executive and senior leadership teams, diversified its partnerships, and after deeply reviewing its business model, made valuable structural changes that will enable future sustainability. We look forward to her continuing contributions to the ADA’s important mission as she returns to the Board.”

Ms. Brown joins the ADA in time to help lead the 78th Scientific Sessions, June 22-26, 2018 in Orlando. The Scientific Sessions are the world’s premier scientific health care conference featuring key diabetes research from around the world. Ms. Brown and Dr. Cefalu will welcome the more than 16,000 attendees expected from around the world during the Opening Reception, Friday evening, June 22.

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