I join the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as chief operating officer after 18 years working at a corporation whose mission was to “bring the miracles of modern medicine to market sooner” and helping lead a division whose purpose was to facilitate access to those miracles. I am excited by the opportunity to hear the stories of the CF community, to learn more about your needs and to engage with all of my colleagues and all of you to help deliver on the mission of the Foundation.
During the interview process, every discussion, interview and meeting with members of the team increased my interest in becoming part of the Foundation. What really stuck and convinced me that this was a unique opportunity was something Foundation president and CEO Preston Campbell said over an interview dinner that included my wife, Elissa. She asked Preston why he believed the Foundation was making such incredible progress while so many other organizations struggle. His answer was simple and elegant: “It is because of the community.” His use of that term included employees, physicians, researchers, donors, volunteers, caregivers and, of course, people with CF.
The Foundation's work is proof that the power of a community to accomplish amazing things is without limits. A quotation from Edwin Land, the inventor of Polaroid film, has been pinned on my bulletin board for the last five years or so: “Do not undertake the program unless the goal is manifestly important and its achievement nearly impossible.” Curing a disease as terrible as cystic fibrosis and improving the quality of life of those with the disease is manifestly important.
As recently as 20 years ago, a cure for cystic fibrosis seemed nearly impossible. This community has made the impossible seem possible.
I have spent nearly two decades working in health care and long ago decided that I always would. I feel privileged to join this community of passionate people pursuing such a noble mission. I hope that I can contribute in some small way to helping the Foundation continue and accelerate the progress that has been made. There is important work to be done, and I look forward to taking the time to hear as many community voices as I can, to learn from all you have done and to engage to help do my part.
Thanks to all of you for welcoming me to your community.