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d21 Lightning Talks


The diaTribe Foundation invites you to the d21 Lightning Talks

July 20, 2021

4:20pm PDT / 7:20pm EDT

Networking begins at 4:00pm PDT / 7:00pm EDT

Stigma and the Stories We Tell

The diaTribe Foundation invites you to the d21 Lightning Talks! Join us on July 20th to be enthralled by the power of storytelling. As we continue our quest to dismantle the toxicity of diabetes stigma we invite you to hear several amazing speakers share the stories they weave to create changes in the hearts and minds of their audiences. The idea began with a TED Talk by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the danger of a single story. Her talk about the importance of sharing stories, and even more importantly, sharing many different stories is incredibly inspiring and after a screening of her famous TED Talk, we are incredibly lucky to have joining us to share their own stories:

  • Phyllisa Deroze, a powerful leader and advocate in the diabetes community who founded DiagnosedNotDefeated, and who will share her personal story of being misdiagnosed and how intersectionality has shaped her experiences. 
  • Eileen Opatut, a former senior vice president of programming for The Food Network who will share her personal story of how stigma affected the way she viewed herself as a person with type 2 diabetes and how she learned to move beyond the self-blame she experienced.
  • David Lee Strasberg, the creative director and CEO of the Lee Strasberg Institute, who will teach us the skill of re-telling someone else’s story.
  • And more to be announced – Check Back!




The event will begin with 20 minutes of “speed date” networking – time for you to meet others in diabetes community, followed by the talks, and after that an interactive Community Session with Cherise Shockley.

Three Reasons to Join Us:

  • Learn about the power of storytelling to change people’s hearts and minds from powerful orators and leaders in the diabetes community
  • Empower yourself to join the work in reducing diabetes stigma
  • Meet members of the diabetes community virtually from around the world 

We look forward to seeing you on July 20 for our d21 Lightning Talks event. Please spread the word and share this event with anyone interested in learning more about diabetes stigma, the power of narrative-building and story-telling, and how to re-tell another person’s story. Register Now! And join the conversation on Twitter with #d21LightningTalks.



Phyllisa Deroze 
Founder | Black Diabetic Info

Dr. Phyllisa Deroze is a health humanities scholar, global diabetes patient advocate, and chronic illness lifestyle blogger. She started blogging at almost immediately after being diagnosed with diabetes in 2011. The following year, Dr. Deroze founded Black Diabetic Info™ (a website that situates diabetes information within the cultural beliefs and practices of the African diaspora) because she felt important aspects of her lived experiences were inadequately addressed in the diabetes information she encountered. Dr. Deroze has graced the cover of Health Monitor magazine and has been featured in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Focusmagazines. Her research includes analyzing health narratives in literature, drama, and popular culture. Her current project examines the representation of African American characters with diabetes in television and film. Dr. Deroze’s passion for diabetes advocacy is evident through her YouTube vlogs, social media posts, in-person workshops, and keynote speeches that she has given in five countries.

Eileen Opatut 
Former Senior Vice President of Programming | The Food Network

Eileen Opatut has spent decades as one of cable television’s most successful programming executives, specializing in transforming cable television programming brands through innovative programming and identifying break out talent. She was responsible for the transformation of The Food Network as its EVP of Production and Programming, bringing innovative properties like Iron Chef to the lineup and discovering breakout stars like Ina Garten, Rachel Ray and Anthony Bourdain. As an innovator, Eileen was also a member of the launch team for two ground breaking networks:  National Geographic Television and the first ever LGBT cable network, Logo. Eileen is a graduate of Smith College, and has three children with her wife, Joan Garry. She has had Type 2 Diabetes for 27 years. Eileen is committed to helping people understand their relationship to food, and to guide them how to purchase, prepare and consume food that will lead them to enjoy their best and healthiest lives.

David Lee Strasberg 
Creative Director and CEO | Lee Strasberg Institute

David Lee Strasberg serves as Creative Director and Chief Executive Officer of The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institutes in West Hollywood and New York. The world-famous Institutes were founded in 1969 by his parents, Lee and Anna Strasberg, and the institutes serve as international centers for training Method actors. Mr. Strasberg and his son, Sawyer, both have type 1 diabetes. Mr. Strasberg has presented at the D-series conferences, ADA Scientific Sessions, and industry seminars exploring advocacy, patient perspectives, and how to create transformational change. He received a bachelor’s in international relations and affairs from Brown University and an MBA from the University of California in Los Angeles. 



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