We are people with diabetes, parents of children with diabetes, allies and tireless volunteers dedicated to improving the lives of all people impacted by diabetes.
The Diabetes Leadership Council unites former leaders of national diabetes organizations, dedicated to securing effective, affordable health care and a discrimination-free environment for every person with diabetes.
Diabetes is a common thread connecting DLC volunteers from different backgrounds, professions, geographies and political persuasions. These diverse experiences and areas of expertise help DLC examine tough problems from different perspectives to find consensus solutions.
George is a founding member of the Diabetes Leadership Council and currently serves as the CEO of both the DLC and our affiliate the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition (DPAC). He has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1983 and has 3 other family members also living with type 1. A passionate advocate for people with diabetes, George served as the National Chair of the Board of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in 2009. He started his volunteer career with the ADA in 1986, initially serving as Treasurer and later Chair of the Maryland Affiliate. During his tenure, he held several key leadership roles, including Chair of the Baltimore Chapter, Chair of the Indianapolis Leadership Council, Chair of the Heartland Region, and Chair of the National Finance and Affiliate Associations Committees.
George led the ADA’s Task Force on Health Care Reform in 2008 which led to their position statement providing input into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He also chaired the ADA’s Legislative and Regulatory subcommittee from 2011-2015 which establishes the federal and state advocacy priorities for the Association annually.
George is also the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Theoris Group, Inc., a professional services firm headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana that provides technology solutions and software development services. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and earned his CPA in 1985 while working with Price Waterhouse though is now in inactive status.
Erika B. Emerson is Chief Policy Officer of the Diabetes Leadership Council. She has more than 20 years of health policy and advocacy experience, including health care and pharmaceutical public policy, issues management, strategic communications and stakeholder relations.
Her biopharmaceutical industry experience and understanding of the U.S. health care system lend unique insight to state and federal policies impacting access, quality and value of care and coverage for people with chronic conditions.
Erika’s health policy and patient advocacy experience is rooted in behavioral and mental health. A serendipitous introduction to the diabetes community sparked a heart-and-mind connection that expanded her policy interests and personal passion for patient-centered, individualized approach to chronic disease care and coverage.
Erika holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Lisa Smith is the Director of Development for the Diabetes Leadership Council (DLC). Prior to joining DLC, Lisa served as a director of development for Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas; Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma; The University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. She began her career in fundraising with the I Know I Can college access program in Columbus, Ohio.
Lisa holds a bachelor’s degree in history of art and architecture from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, a master’s degree in art education and a master’s degree in history of art, both from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and began Ph.D. course work in art history at the Graduate School and University Center, CUNY in New York City.
She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1986.
R. Stewart Perry grew up in Lexington KY. Since 1983 he has been the co-owner of Perry & Perry State Farm Insurance, one of the largest State Farm Insurance agencies in the state of Kentucky and is a Diabetes Consultant and Advocate.
Stewart was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1990, since that time he has been actively involved in Diabetes. Stewart was the Chairman of the National Board of Directors of the American Diabetes Association and Chair of the National Advocacy Committee for 5 years, He was Chair Bluegrass Chapter for a number of years .He served as the Kentucky Affiliate Board of Vice-Chair and was Chair-Elect when it became a part of the Southern Region where he served as the Chair of the Southern Region. Stewart is a member of the Kentucky Diabetes Network and a founding member of the Fayette County Diabetes Collation. Stewart was appointed to The Children with Diabetes National Board, and is Vice Chairperson of the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Collation National board.
Stewart is one of the founders of the Diabetes Leadership Council and currently serves as Chairperson. He has had a leadership role in passing Diabetes Action Plan legislation in 25states
Stewart’s family has been dramatically affected by diabetes. His son had type -1 diabetes, both parents, and sister have all had diabetes during their lifetime. He has lost an uncle, grandfather, great grandmother and son to complications of diabetes.
He is known as a passionate and tenacious advocate of diabetes issues on both the State and Federal level
In addition to diabetes organizations Stewart continues to be very involved in community and state charitable organizations and currently serves as Past President of Equestrian Events Inc. (the organizer of the KY Three Day Event), board member of Kentucky State Police Foundation, board member of the Prevention Research Institute and serves on the KY Horse Park Commission.
Stewart is married to Judy Briggs Perry and has two daughters Laura Briggs age 24, Samantha Briggs age 19 and one son John Stewart Perry age 33 who passed away in 2020.
Larry K. Ellingson of Fountain Hills, Arizona, holds a BS in Pharmacy from North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo, North Dakota, and an Executive MBA from Babson College in Babson Park, Massachusetts. Larry retired from Eli Lilly and Company in May 2001 after serving as leader of global diabetes for Lilly for more than half of his career. He held several other positions at Lilly including Director of Pharmaceutical New Product Planning for gastrointestinal, skeletal, endocrine, infectious diseases, and any additional marketed products in those areas in the late 1980’s.
Larry continues to remain active with committee work and board positions for a multitude of organizations. Among them are NDSU, Research Park, International Diabetes Federation, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Nurse Practitioners Healthcare Foundation, and the American Diabetes Association. His contributions to the Association have been abundant, far-reaching, and have spanned more than 20 years. Within the Association, Larry has been a member of the Industry Advisory, Strategic Marketing Task Force, Strategic Planning Task Force, Big Ticket Task Force, Pinnacle Society, and most recently, the Income Development Committee. He has been Chair/Vice Chair for an equally extensive list of bodies within the Association including the Board of Directors, Fundraising Committee, Executive Committee, and Nominating Committee. He has unquestionably been a positive force and integral to mission delivery.
Larry has been honored several times for achievements in his field. He was honored by being the first and only non–scientist to receive Eli Lilly’s President’s Award and the Lilly Research Award for contributions to diabetes research. In 2001, Eli Lilly created the Ellingson Legacy Award to honor those who provide outstanding service to the customer and Ellingson, himself, was the first recipient. NDSU awarded him the highest honor in 2007, naming him An Outstanding Alumni of the Year for his contributions to the field and to the university. The American Diabetes Association’s Indiana market office presented him with the J.K. Lilly award for his contributions and service in the cause to Stop Diabetes® in 2004, and the home office bestowed Larry with the Charles H. Best Medal for Outstanding Service for his exceptional contributions as Chair of the Board in 2006. Larry most recently received the Wendell Mayes Jr. Award for his extensive service to diabetes advocacy in November, 2013.
Edward T. Hawthorne served as ADA Chair of the Board from 1999 – 2000. He is currently the COO, Managing Director and Partner of CE3 Solutions. Hawthorne has a dynamic professional background, having held various positions within Bank of America. Most recently, he served as West Regional executive for the Customer Service & Solutions organization where he was responsible for providing a world-class experience to Consumer and Small Business customers. Prior to that, he led the Credit Card Contact Center Servicing & Operations organization, a broad team composed of 5,500 associates operating in 12 contact centers and four vendor locations across the U.S. and Canada. He has also been responsible for the Consumer East Region call centers within the Deposits Contact Center organization in addition to the bank’s Intellectual Capital and Property program and has served as Technology Operational Risk executive. During his tenure in this role, the team developed a comprehensive system and corresponding methods for identifying and managing Operational Risk Assessments and Control, for which they were awarded a U.S. Patent.
Hawthorne has also headed Technology Solutions Support, which included Enterprise Technology Support Centers, Technical Training for end-users and IT professionals, Business Management Services, Problem and Change Management. He also led Support Services, which included Information Security, Disaster Recovery, Facilities Management, Systems Evaluation and Control, Advanced Technology, Communications Service Center, and Compliance. In addition, he served as Business Support executive to the Vice Chairman of Bank of America.
Hawthorne and his family reside in California. He is actively engaged in serving his community and currently sits on the Emeritus Council for the American Diabetes Association. He has served on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Museum of African Diaspora, Advisory Board for Meris Consulting, Chairman of the National Board of Directors for the American Diabetes Association, Chairman of the Board for the of Directors of the California Affiliate of the American Diabetes Association, and Chairman and Director Emeritus of the Strategic Advisory Board for the International Help Desk Institute. He has also served as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross of the Bay Area and Chairman of the Contra Costa March of Dimes WalkAmerica. Hawthorne has been a member of the National Nominating Committee of the American Red Cross, the Board of Directors for the March of Dimes for the Bay Area, and the Advisory Boards for Digital Fuel, Convergys, LivePerson, and the Risk Management Association IT Committee. He was recognized by the American Diabetes Association with the Charles H. Best Medal for Leadership and Service. He is an avid music lover who also enjoys golf and spending time traveling abroad with his family. Hawthorne is fluent in Italian and maintains a residence in Sarone, Italy.
In addition to serving as a current board member of the DLC, Larry Smith is the founder and manager of a national marketing research and consulting firm in Lexington, Kentucky. His business performs marketing research for firms in a number of industries, particularly the financial services industry.
Prior to starting his own company, Larry served as SVP, VP, and Director of Marketing at several high-value financial organizations in Kentucky and Virginia. He holds an MBA from the University of Louisville.
Larry’s work with the American Diabetes Association is extensive. He has served as Chair of the Kentucky Affiliate and of the Southern Region. He was either a member or Chair of the Inclusion, Marketing, Communications, CEO Selection, Income Development, and Diversity committees. And he has sat as both a member and the Chair of the Board of Directors.
In 2001, the ADA honored Larry with the Addison B. Scoville Award for Volunteerism, and in 2008, he won the Wendell Mays award.
Hunter Limbaugh served as Chair of the Board of the American Diabetes Association in 2012. Based in Columbia, South Carolina, Hunter is currently the Southeastern Counsel for the Wine Institute. He has been an active litigator for over 20 years and a Government Relations professional for over 15 years. He is a former SC legislator and Chief Legal Counsel to the SC Governor. He was admitted to the Bar in 1982.
Prior to joining the DLC Board, Karen Grishaber worked in corporate branding at several Fortune 500 companies (Rockwell, GE and Abbott). She retired from Abbott in 2015 after managing commercial operations for Abbott’s Animal Health Division.
Karen currently works as a personal branding specialist and coach who helps professionals identify and express their unique talents to find new opportunities and to grow their career. She also founded two professional women’s networking groups and coached disadvantaged women as a volunteer for a global not-for-profit that empowers women to achieve economic independence.
Having lived with type 1 diabetes since 1984, Karen has served on the Wisconsin Affiliate Board of Directors and the ADA’s national Board of Directors, chaired its national Strategic Marketing Committee, and served on multiple ADA committees and task forces.
Donna Ryan currently is the Regional Director of Population Health for Ascension Health – Sacred Heart Health System on the Florida Gulf Coast. She holds dual licenses as a registered nurse and registered dietitian. She earned her Master’s in Public Health from California State University, Northridge in 2004 and her Bachelors in Science at the University of Alabama. She is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, and a Fellow of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE).
Ms. Ryan served as the 2018 President of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). She has also served as AADE Treasurer and as member of Board of Directors from 2012 to 2019.
Ms. Ryan serves in several leadership and advisory positions, including the Diabetes Advisory Council (DAC) for the State of Florida, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Collaborative for Health Equity, Centers for Disease Control DSMES Marketing Strategy Group, and Director of Diabetes Prevention Programs at Ascension Sacred Heart. As part of the Florida DAC she participated in the Women in Government Diabetes Learning Exchange working with Florida Legislators to identify needs and opportunities for the state to improve diabetes and prediabetes care, coverage and support. She was a workgroup member and speaker for the CDC, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, and Florida Dept of Health ‘Diabetes Prevention Program-An Equitable Approach for State Empowerment’.
Along with advisory roles, Ms. Ryan has served as a panelist for FDA Critical Path Innovation Meeting: Hypoglycemia and FDA/CMS Hearing on Glucose Monitoring. From 1996 to 2013, Ms. Ryan worked as a diabetes and nutrition educator at medical centers and hospitals in California and Florida.
Ms. Ryan has dedicated 30 years of service to patients with diabetes and chronic conditions, providing expert clinical care, education and support in hospitals, public health, community health and population health settings. She is passionate about helping underserved communities manage their diabetes and advocating for equitable access to quality care and resources.
Alyce Thomas is a Nutrition Consultant for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, NJ. She is the immediate Past Chair/Industry Relations Chair of the Diabetes Dietetic Practice Group (formerly Diabetes Care and Education) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a member of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s National Institute of Child Health Development Advisory Council; the New Jersey Governor’s Council on the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities, and the Sweet Success Extension Program Advisory Council.
She was a Professional Issues Delegate in the House of Delegates of the American Dietetic Association, Chair of the Women’s Health dietetic practice group, and a member of the Black Infant Mortality Reduction Resource Center Advisory Board. In 2011, she was appointed to the National Institutes of Health – Consensus Development Panel on Diagnosing Gestational Diabetes.
Alyce received the following awards in recognition of her work in diabetes and pregnancy: Excellence in Clinical Practice Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Diabetes Educator of the Year from the Diabetes Care and Education Dietetic Practice Group; and Excellence in Practice Award from the Women’s Health Dietetic Practice Group. She is a co-author of the American Dietetic Association Guide to Gestational Diabetes Mellitus; The Art and Science of Diabetes Self-Management Education: A Desk Reference for Healthcare Professional; and Diabetes in Black America: Public Health and Clinical Solutions to a National Crisis.
Originally from Nova Scotia, Canada, Alyce received a B.Sc. in Home Economics from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. She completed her dietetic internship in community/prenatal nutrition at the Montreal Diet Dispensary.
Janel Wright is an Administrative Law Judge with the State of Alaska’s Department of Labor. She served as the Legal Director for the Disability Law Center of Alaska, Alaska’s Protection and Advocacy agency. Prior to appointment as the Legal Director, she served as a Staff Attorney. The emphasis of her practice was representing children who were denied a Free and Appropriate Public Education and individuals with disabilities whose rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, and Alaska anti-discrimination statutes had been violated. Before working for the Disability Law Center, Janel was a civil rights attorney with the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission. She is a graduate from the Ohio State University College of Law. Janel has had type 1 diabetes for 30 years and is an active volunteer for the American Diabetes Association in Alaska, serving as the 2015 Chair of the Board and on the National Board, the Advocacy Committee, and the Legal Advocacy Subcommittee, the Board Development Committee and the special task force on governance.
Dr. John Anderson practices Internal Medicine and Diabetes at the Frist Clinic in Nashville, TN. He has served as President of the multispecialty medicine clinic, Chair of the department of medicine, and Chair of the Board of Trustees for Centennial Medical Center, a 650-bed tertiary care referral hospital. He has been consistently listed as one of the Best Doctors by the Nashville Business Journal. Dr. Anderson has been a longtime volunteer for the American Diabetes Association, having served two separate terms on its National Board of Directors and as chair of National Advocacy Committee and as co-chair of the Health Reform Task Force. He has also served as a member of numerous other committees and task force groups, including the Executive Committee as well as the Primary Care and Governance groups. In 2013, Dr. Anderson served as the President, Medicine & Science of the American Diabetes Association. He has lectured both nationally and internationally on topics of diabetes, focusing on improving the care of the patient with diabetes in the primary care community.
Desmond Schatz, MD, is the Medical Director of the Diabetes Center, Professor and Associate Chairman of Pediatrics and Director of the Clinic Research Center at the University of Florida. He has been involved in Type 1 diabetes research since the mid-80s and has published more than 300 manuscripts and book chapters. He is the principal investigator on several NIH, JDRF and other foundation and industry awards. Dr. Schatz served as the 2016 President, Medicine & Science for the American Diabetes Association for more than 25 years and has served on the Board of Directors and as a member of the Advocacy, Awards, Board Development, Professional Practice, Publications, Youth Strategies, Research Grant Review and Scientific Sessions Meeting Planning Committees. He was a joint recipient of the American Diabetes Association Public Policy Leadership Award in 2010. Dr. Schatz holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of the Witwatersrand School of Clinical Medicine in Johannesburg, South Africa.