A GIANT Steps Down: Bob Pearlman President & CEO of the DRIF

CWD 2011 Bob P and TomIt is with huge mixed emotions I share the following news.  Below is the press release as stated by the DRIF.

My boss, my mentor, and my friend—-there is not one single parent or person with diabetes who should not be grateful for the work Bob has done over the past 20 years..

I will write more in the near future but for now I say best of everything Bob, you surely deserve it.

We will stay driven.  We will stay focused.  We are in it to end it.

Diabetes Research Institute Foundation President and CEO Robert A. Pearlman Stepping Down After 20 Years

HOLLYWOOD, Florida — May 20, 2013 – After successfully leading the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF) for two decades, Robert A. Pearlman, 67, of Boca Raton, FL, announced that he will be stepping down from his position as president and CEO effective June 30, 2013.

Mr. Pearlman was recruited to the DRI Foundation in 1993, after a 25-year career in the fundraising field, to increase funding for the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami, the sole beneficiary of its support. During his tenure, the Foundation and the DRI experienced exponential growth, developing into one of the premier diabetes organizations and a recognized world-leader in cure-focused diabetes research.

Under his leadership, the DRIF has raised approximately $300 million dollars and, in the process, became the largest contributor to the University of Miami in its history. Mr. Pearlman presided over three consecutive five-year campaigns which increased fundraising more than 15 percent per year. When Mr. Pearlman steps down at the end of this fiscal year, the annual campaign will close 13 percent over this year’s goal and up 34 percent over last year.

“We thank and honor Bob for his tremendous service for the last 20 years. He built the Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation into a world-class institution and has made a tremendous impact on shortening our timeline toward the discovery of a cure for diabetes,” said Harold G. Doran, Jr., chairman of the DRIF’s National Board of Directors. “Bob is leaving us in a strong and exciting position to move toward our goal of a cure and continue our momentum after unveiling the DRI BioHub earlier this year.”

“It has been an incredible privilege and personally gratifying for me to have led the DRI Foundation for the last 20 years and to have worked side by side with Dr. Camillo Ricordi, director of the DRI. I’ve been surrounded by an incredible team at both the Institute and Foundation, many of whom have been at the organization even longer than me. I’m confident that with this team in place the mission to cure diabetes will be achieved,” said Mr. Pearlman.

DRI Foundation Chief Operating Officer Deborah Chodrow will become acting president and CEO on July 1, 2013. She will serve in this capacity as the organization conducts a national search for a permanent successor. Mr. Pearlman will remain a consultant to the Foundation for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition for his successor.
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In NYC for 12-12-12……But Not for a Concert……For a Cure!

12-12-12 in New York City.  At a concert?   Nope. 

I found it interesting that just a few blocks away from probably the biggest concert since “We Are the World” joined together to create an album, there was a huge gathering of people together for you (if you have diabetes) and your children (if they have diabetes).  It was a ‘concerted’ effort on 12-12-12 in New york City where a thousand people raised money for a cure.

But this is not just a story of en event that raised well north of one million dollars (that is correct, ^ of $1,000,000) for a cure.  It’s a line that I heard….and I have heard it before.  The founder of this incredible event, Charlie Rizzo (I have written about Charlie, a dad who does not understand the meaning of the words, ‘burned out’) once stated, ‘I have to do this, so many more do not”.

And it is that line regarding the Empire Ball, Unlock the Cure that I need to you to focus on today.  One of the major forces involved with this incredible event (pictured in the middle of the picture with DRIF President and CEO Bob Pearlman on his right and Charlie Rizzo on his left) is a man named Peter DiCapua. 

To my understanding Peter does not have a major connection to diabetes, well he didn’t when he started working on this event years ago.  He does now because of Charlie and the so many more honorees over  the years, and so many more like me; who could never thank him enough for what he does for our loved ones….and for yours.  For those of us who have diabetes in our family, we have to do what we do.  But for someone who does it on the basis of just wanting to make a difference; well that’s pretty special isn’t it?

Peter is an extreme savvy and sharp businessman.  He is an incredible organizer and hugely influential powerhouse for this event.  I was astounded on how many past honorees of this event were in the room last night and have stayed involved because it is important enough.  Peter makes that point clear at every turn. 

One does not merely attend this event, this event becomes part of all who attend.  Peter, just like Charlie Rizzo, will be the first one to deflect any recognition off him to the over 50 others who help organize this event.  But all will agree that it is Peter’s leadership and the way he organizes this event that makes them return each and every year.

Diabetes just will not do.

Peter’s work is all year.  He works on getting the honorees, having them tour the DRI because it is important they truly know what it is they are supporting, and he makes sure the details are ………well……all detailed.

Peter does not have to do this.  Knowing Peter, I am sure he helps others as well.   I’m also sure he has nine million other things that he could be doing also and yet, he has decided that we will one day cure diabetes and he wants to be part.  Not necessarily for himself but for you, for me, and for the millions who wait for themselves or for their kids.

Over 30 million dollars later Peter is still at it.  He doesn’t have  to, but he does.  Aren’t we lucky?  If that doesn’t humble you, nothing will.  Remember that there are others like him in our lives who help us in our journey that do it for the only reason to help.  Need to find holiday spirit, think of those people.

The 12-12-12 concert certainly had their stars, a few blocks away the diabetes community had one of their own………his name is Peter DiCapua; thank you Peter.

I am a diabetesdad.