Founder, The diaTribe Foundation
Kelly L. Close is the founder and Chair of the Board of The diaTribe Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of people living with diabetes and prediabetes, and advocating for action. Since 2006, she has been the Editor-in-Chief of diaTribe, our free website focused on making people with diabetes healthier and happier and advocating for action. Since 2002, she has also run Close Concerns, a healthcare information firm exclusively focused on diabetes and obesity. Each year Kelly and her colleagues attend over 50 scientific, regulatory, and economic conferences around the world, focused on diabetes and obesity; they read the key medical literature in the field and write regularly about 50-plus private and public companies and nonprofit organizations. Kelly's passion for diabetes comes from her extensive professional work as well as her personal experience as a type 1 patient for nearly 30 years.
Prior to starting Close Concerns, Kelly was an analyst in the financial sector, writing about medical technology companies, and she also worked at McKinsey & Company, where a majority of her work was focused on healthcare. Kelly is recognized as an expert on diabetes and obesity markets, and she is a frequent speaker on the public health implications of diabetes and obesity. A longtime diabetes patient advocate, Kelly was previously on the Board of Directors of the Diabetes Hands Foundation, the Behavioral Diabetes Institute, and the Executive Board of the San Francisco Bay Area JDRF. Kelly is a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Business School. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and three children.
Chief Operating Officer, The diaTribe Foundation
Jim comes to The diaTribe Foundation after seven years as the Vice President of Finance and Administration at Common Sense Media and 6 years as the Managing Director of Equality California where he led the team to successfully pass over 70 pieces of legislation to achieve legal equality for LGBT Californians. He also worked at an environmental health organization called The Breast Cancer Fund and at the National office of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Jim graduated from the University of Florida and lives with his husband, Scott, and their two yellow Labrador Retrievers in San Francisco.
Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer, The diaTribe Foundation
Caroline joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2018, where she brings her passion and expertise in strategy, product management, and development to help improve the lives of people with diabetes. Most recently, Caroline was director of strategy and innovation for Providence Health & Services in Portland, Oregon, where she worked with service line executives to decide where to focus to create the greatest value. This included developing strategic and business plans for, among other things, the launch of their primary care retail strategy, and measuring success through the creation and monitoring of performance dashboards.
Prior to healthcare, Caroline spent a dozen years in nonprofit leadership, including a decade at New Door Ventures in San Francisco, where she helped grow fundraising revenues 450% in three years and started a new social purpose cafe to help at-risk youth transition to a healthy adulthood. She also spent a decade in high tech in the Bay Area, launching and marketing new products for a global telecom software company and an Internet start-up for women’s sports gear that she co-founded.
Caroline began her career as a policy advisor to US Senator Arlen Specter in Washington, D.C. where she learned about tackling big thorny issues with a mixture of determination, impatience, compromise, and creativity.
Caroline has a B.A. in Political Science and an MBA from Stanford University. Caroline and her husband recently moved from Portland to Minneapolis to be close to Caroline’s large Greek family. Caroline and Paul are overjoyed parents of three children.
Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships & Organizational Development, The diaTribe Foundation
Mallory Erickson joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2017 as the organization’s first Managing Director. Mallory brings nearly 12 years of non-profit leadership experience, with a focus on strategic planning, capacity building, program development, and management. Mallory graduated from the University of Michigan in 2007 pursuing concentrations in Sociology and Political Science, with a focus on education and social change. She received her Masters in Education from Lesley University through a teaching fellowship with Citizen Schools, where she later went on to be a Campus Director. Following her role at Citizen Schools, Mallory became a non-profit consultant and supported organizations to train their first-year Americorps members. For the last five years, Mallory has been the Managing Director and Executive Director for Global Student Embassy (GSE). At GSE, she transformed a small, startup non-profit into a growing, thriving organization with environmental youth leadership programs in three countries, sustainable gardens in twenty Bay Area high schools, and student groups on 18 university campuses throughout the United States. Mallory is passionate about traveling, exercise, recycling, reading, and art. She spends her free time hiking around the Bay Area or exploring a new country.
Manager of Strategic Partnerships and Development, The diaTribe Foundation
Alijah Marquez joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2018 as the organization’s first Development Coordinator. Alijah completed her Bachelor Degree in Collaborative Health and Human Services at California State University, Monterey Bay in 2014 and her Master in Public Health degree at San Jose State University in 2017 – both with an emphasis on community health. Alijah brings over five years of non-profit involvement, with a focus on health education, program development and implementation, community outreach, and organizational development. Alijah has served as a long-standing volunteer and intern for numerous health-related nonprofits which include The Compassionate Friends bereavement support organization, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Community Health Resource Center, and the Brisbane Lions Club. Alijah is passionate about health and wellness, sustainable and recycled fashion, animals, vegetarian food, and coastal hikes.
Senior Manager of Advocacy and Policy, The diaTribe Foundation
Emily Fitts is the Senior Manager of Advocacy and Policy at The diaTribe Foundation and helps to lead regulatory- and policy-based initiatives to elevate the voices of people with diabetes and to advocate for action. Emily has worked, in particular, on the Outcomes Beyond A1C movement, including helping to organize diaTribe’s 2017 consensus conference and publish the subsequent report in Diabetes Care. Emily joined The diaTribe Foundation as an Associate in 2017 after graduating cum laude from Amherst with a degree in Psychology and a certificate in Culture, Health, and Science. She completed a senior honors thesis that investigated the social norms surrounding stress, sleep, and related-disclosure and the influence of perfectionism on the misperceptions of such norms. Previously, Emily was a Summer Associate for Close Concerns in 2016 and worked for The Union for International Cancer Control in Geneva, Switzerland, where she explored the business side of a public health nonprofit organization as the Business Development and External Relations intern. Outside of work, you can find Emily reminiscing about her 8-year rowing career (on hiatus) or exploring the Bay Area with friends.
Community Manager, The diaTribe Foundation
Cherise Shockley joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2019 as the organization’s first Community Manager. Cherise was diagnosed with Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults in June 2004. She is the founder of Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (#dsma), creator of the Blue Fridays initiative and Women of Color (WOC) Diabetes. Cherise is a subject matter expert in diabetes social media, online communities, and peer support. She is a wife, mother, and veteran. She received her degree in Mass Communications and Media Studies with a minor in Digital Audience from Arizona State University.
Senior Associate, The diaTribe Foundation
Divya Gopisetty started as a summer intern at Close Concerns in 2017 and joined The diaTribe Foundation as a full-time associate in 2018 after graduating from Stanford University with a B.A. in Human Biology. Divya’s younger sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 11 years ago. Her sister’s resilience has inspired Divya to work in the diabetes space for the last four years in a variety of roles, including clinical research, patient advocacy, and community engagement. During her senior year, she co-directed a novel design challenge, Disrupt Diabetes, which created a new framework for patient-driven innovation. At diaTribe, she is co-leading diaTribe’s d19, an Executive Innovation Lab that strives to tackle the type 2 diabetes epidemic from a systems approach. Divya is passionate about the intersection of medicine and social justice, using diaTribe’s advocacy efforts to highlight diverse patient voices. In the future, she hopes to have a diabetes clinical practice, while also working to prevent chronic disease in vulnerable populations.
Senior Associate, The diaTribe Foundation
Jimmy McDermott joined the diaTribe Foundation in 2018 after graduating cum laude from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He majored in science, technology, and international affairs, with a focus on security and global health. As an undergraduate, Jimmy worked for a DC-based policy research organization to assist in US global health policy decision-making. His passion for improving health literacy and disparities drove him to work with children at public schools in the DC area, teaching a weekly course on HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and stigma. While completing a Pre-Medical Post-Baccalaureate program, he conducted research at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, focusing on healthcare disparities and the impacts of the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion on access to quality surgical care. Jimmy rowed on the Georgetown Varsity Crew Team and now competes in Ironman triathlons, currently ranking top 10 in the world for his age group at the half-ironman distance.
Associate, The diaTribe Foundation
Eliza Skoler joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2019, after graduating cum laude from Carleton College with a degree in Biology. Her undergraduate studies focused on human biology and neuroscience, and she wrote a senior thesis on the relationship between the gut microbiome and the respiratory antiviral immune system. During college, Eliza spent a summer working at a community health clinic in South Africa, where she became passionate about health literacy as a way of empowering patients to engage with their physical well being. Eliza has taught people around the world about healthy living, from aerobics classes and nutrition workshops to CPR courses and HIV management practices. At Carleton, Eliza managed health and safety for the club sports department and competed on Carleton’s nationally-ranked Division I ultimate frisbee team.
Associate, The diaTribe Foundation
Karena Yan joined the diaTribe Foundation in 2019 after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelors in Biology and Global Health and Environment. As an undergrad, she held an executive position in WashU's First Year Center, working closely with university staff members and student leaders to make first-year students' transition to college seamless and comfortable. Karena also spent two summers as a data analyst and laboratory intern at the Stanley Center of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, working on a project to identify biomarkers of schizophrenia. She is passionate about minority and underserved communities' access to healthcare, serving over two hundred hours as a volunteer at Barnes Jewish Hospital, Lawrence General Hospital, and Affinia Healthcare. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, playing tennis, reading, and traveling.
Associate, The diaTribe Foundation
Frida Velcani joined The diaTribe Foundation in 2019 after graduating from Vassar College Phi Beta Kappa with general and departmental honors. She has a degree in Science, Technology, & Society and a minor in Hispanic Studies. As an undergraduate, Frida delved into the study of patient-centered healthcare through her multidisciplinary studies. She reported on novel technologies related to emergency response and disaster medicine as a writer for the Crisis Response Journal. Her articles highlighted ways professionals and laypeople alike could leverage technology to enhance patient engagement and improve health outcomes. At Vassar, Frida also led various campus health promotion efforts, charity fundraisers, and programming at the nearby senior home to simultaneously improve student welfare and that of the surrounding community. Frida’s undergraduate work culminated in a thesis where she proposed technical, organizational, and personal recommendations for successful breast center microsystems and positive breast cancer screening experiences.