Time to Say Goodbye • April
The day after I got back from Nicaragua, I resigned from Animas Canada - a company I had loved and given my heart & soul to over the past 10 years. It had been a challenging 7+ months corporately, but more than anything - I just knew I wasn't happy anymore. It would be in poor taste to go into the details of what finally caused me to close my eyes, take a deep breath and make the call - but let's just say that I had a significant difference of opinion in terms of the future direction for the company and the decisions being made. It was time for me to go.
While the decision was painful and broke my heart in many ways, I wanted to make sure to "do right" by the rest of the team with my departure and leave with a clear conscience that I had done everything I could. I have nothing but love for the people who I got to work alongside in building Animas Canada, and feel so blessed and grateful to have had such an extraordinary opportunity in my career to make such a difference in so many people's lives.
Being a "Boss"
In many ways, I grew up at Animas. It was my first time ever being a manager of people and having my own team, and there is no amount of education that can ever prepare you for that. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with Paul Flynn as my boss who taught me everything I know about leadership - and he always told me, "If you truly have the other person's best interest at heart, you can't go wrong." That advice got me through my share of difficult conversations, and paved the way to having the most honest and collaborative relationships with a team I was lucky enough to call my own. We are all still friends to this day, and if there is one thing I hope they got from me - it would be a sense of pride and purpose for the work we were doing.
When I look back on all the projects I was able to support and champion during my time at Animas, I feel extraordinarily proud: the Sugar Free Shawn Show, Welcome to Type 1, Connected in Motion, Children With Diabetes conferences, Karate Chops Diabetes, Sebastien's Outrun Diabetes run across Canada, the Performance newsletter, Spare a Rose Save a Child, Team Diabadass does Tough Mudder, our Animas Heroes program, and perhaps most fondly - the two cross-Canada "George Canyon & Friends Diabetes Heroes Tours" we did in 2011 and 2012. I went to Peru and completed the Inca Trail trek with TeamOne in 2009. I worked out with an American Ninja Warrior, Kyle Cochran, in 2013. All of it was a grand adventure and a labour of love.
Watching Them Grow Up
It's been amazing to me as I've looked through both emails and photo albums to see how lucky I've been to watch a generation of Animas pump users grow up before my eyes over the last decade. I remember meeting Rebecca back in 2008 and hearing about her excitedly telling us that she had done her very first infusion set on her own. Nine years later, she was on her way to nursing school.
I remember meeting Michael at the first CWD conference we held in Canada, and years later asking him to come to the big US conference in Orlando as a role model after he had been pursuing his dream of living in Spain as a soccer superstar.
I could burst with pride when I think of Anwar - a very special young man with courage to spare who now speaks so confidently at diabetes advocacy events and corporate fundraisers for JDRF. There are so many others like Brooke, Elizabeth, Celine, Julia, Adin, Steve, Carley, Leanne, Ashika, Megan, Claire, Kevin, Alyssa, Hannah - all people I've been so proud to support - young people showing what it's like to pursue dreams and be unstoppable in the face of Type 1 diabetes.
I will always have a soft spot in my heart for all the heroes, but perhaps most profoundly with Lindsey, Jordan, Mike and Chase. We took a chance on them as kids really early on, and they were the ones I was able to work most closely with over the years - each going on to become such confident, well-spoken and generous young adults. To see their confidence blossom over time and to have been able to offer them a platform to share their stories is certainly one of the biggest legacies of my career at Animas. I couldn't be more proud!!
Having heroes / role models with Type 1 diabetes was the missing link for me when I was diagnosed back in 1989, and it was my dream to be able to change the conversation in the space from being one of limitation to one of possibility. I think we did that at Animas, and it brings me joy to no end to see other companies now embracing the same philosophy and showcasing real people who dare to boldly pursue their dreams while dealing with the daily challenges of Type 1 diabetes management and the frustrations that come with that.
Most of all, I will miss the team that we built and all the camaraderie and laughs along the way. Never in my life had I been part of such an incredible group of people committed to making a difference in the world - caring about our work, the people we served, and each other. I feel so very lucky to have had all that I had for as long as I had it - and can't say enough good things about the people I got to work with over the years, both in Canada, the US, and beyond.
I think a sign of true relationships is when you can wish people well and truly hope for the best for them in their own lives. My heart runneth over for the blessings I've had and can say only "thank you" and farewell. May the force be with you until we meet again!
With Love and Appreciation,
Inspiring others to live inspired lives
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