After 23 Years, What Do We Know for Sure?

A Special Message from Our Co-Founder Sandy Bourdette

It was March, 1995. Steve Edelman and I had been working together for about two years, holding medical education conferences for healthcare professionals, when he came to me and shared his vision to hold a large educational conference for people with diabetes (PWD). I thought his goals were quite lofty and, at the same time, incredibly exciting because, to my knowledge, this was something that had never been done before. His vision was to have 1,000 people attend a day-long program; to keep the registration fee as low as possible so more people could attend; to offer a wide variety of topics in large general sessions and in workshops for people newly diagnosed and also for people who had lived with diabetes for many years; to have lots of sit-down, ‘hands-on sessions’ between diabetes specialists and PWD so they could get meaningful answers to their individual questions; to have a lively health fair showcasing all the latest and greatest treatments and technologies available to help control diabetes; and, most of all, he really wanted to teach EVERYONE how to take control of their own diabetes!

The First Conference

At that time, we didn’t have nearly as many medications to help control diabetes as we do today, but we had enough, and it had been clearly proven that if PWD would eat a well-balanced diet, stay physically active, and take their medication as prescribed, nearly everyone could get and keep their diabetes in good control (most of the time!). And it had also been proven that well controlled diabetes results in fewer, if any, of the serious complications associated with diabetes, and people could live long and healthy lives despite living with this condition! These facts were the reasons Dr. Edelman wanted to hold that very first conference, which we did in September of 1995. He believed then, as he does today, that if PWD understood that successfully controlling their diabetes would result in living longer and healthier lives, they would make the necessary changes and get their diabetes under good control. And he was right!

Fast forward 23 years to 2018. What have we learned and what do we know for sure?

We have learned so much during this time about how what we eat (as well as how much we eat) affects our blood sugars, and how important it is to keep our bodies moving so they can more efficiently metabolize the foods we eat. The number of devices and medications that have been brought to market to help manage diabetes has exploded during these years, and we know for sure when someone becomes empowered to be the most knowledgeable person about their own diabetes, they thrive, living more robust and happier lives than they ever thought was possible.

During these 23 years, TCOYD has held 185 conferences in more than 70 cities around the United States, teaching people how to take control of their diabetes, and we’re poised to continue bringing one-of-a-kind programs to more and more people across the country. Our digital programs will become available globally to anyone with access to the internet and they are going to be groundbreaking! I like to think of it as “The TCOYD University”. We already have a wonderful video series on our website and as we move forward, we will be adding more and more classroom-style videos for type 1s, type 2s and medical professionals, so stay tuned. The best is yet to come from TCOYD!

Onward to New Adventures

For me, personally, the time has come to step back from the day-to-day operation of TCOYD and take some time to smell the roses, travel more extensively, and experience some of my bucket list dreams, but in the wildest of those dreams I never thought I would have the opportunity to work side-by-side with Steve Edelman to help create and nurture the growth of TCOYD for 23 years. It has been the absolute best and I have all of you to thank.

My wish for all of you living with diabetes is to understand and BELIEVE that you CAN take control of your diabetes. With the guidance of your healthcare provider and your own personal grit, you can learn about and take advantage of the many medications and technologies that are available to help you. Along with these and practicing a healthful, active lifestyle, you have everything you need to live a long, happy and healthy life.

Oh…in case you’ve ever wondered why the heck we named this organization ‘Taking Control Of Your Diabetes’, it’s because that’s what TCOYD is all about… so, if you have already taken control of your diabetes, congratulations! And if you haven’t, well, get going. There’s no time like the present to start living your best life!




Meet TCOYD’s New Executive Director!

We’re proud to announce that we have a new Executive Director, Michelle Feinstein!

Michelle has worked with TCOYD for seventeen years. She initially started out as the organization’s CPA and later joined the team as TCOYD’s Finance Director and then Chief Financial Officer.

Get to know Michelle!

What drew you to TCOYD initially?

What initially drew me to TCOYD was Sandra Bourdette (TCOYD’s co-founder and first Executive Director). The year was 2000, I was working at a CPA firm and TCOYD was a client. When Sandy and I met, we hit it off instantly and I was moved by the mission of the organization. Shortly thereafter, I left the CPA firm and opened my own practice. As TCOYD grew I became more involved with the organization and when Dr. Steve Edelman and Sandy asked me to come on board as Finance Director, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with an incredible visionary like Steve, so I gave up my practice to join the TCOYD team!

What is your favorite part of working for TCOYD?

My favorite part of working for TCOYD is being part of an organization that makes a difference. I’ve witnessed how TCOYD changes lives for the better. For me to be able to add my contribution to that effort is personally very satisfying.

A pivotal moment for me was working with the participants of our six-month long Extreme Diabetes Makeover program. Being a support to them and experiencing first-hand how we were able to help people and make a positive impact on their lives remains one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve ever had.

Equally important to me in working at TCOYD is the team. We have a really special group of people working here who are incredibly dedicated to our mission. It’s the team that makes it all happen and we’re also a very tight knit group!

What is your vision for the future of TCOYD?

My vision for the future of TCOYD is to continue doing what we do better than anyone else by providing life-changing, transformative, educational conference experiences for people with diabetes and their loved ones, and to continue expanding our innovative CME program. We’ll continue to develop, evolve, and grow these events in the years to come in order to reach as many people as possible. We’ll also continue expanding on the traditional conference experience with unique events such as our recent three day ONE event. As the ultimate conference & retreat for 600 pro-active adults with type 1 diabetes, ONE was the first such event of its kind in the U.S. with folks traveling from 36 states including Alaska and Hawaii as well as from Canada to attend! There was such a tremendous response that we’ve already scheduled the next ONE event to be held in San Diego in the summer of 2018.

I also want to expand our sphere of influence through innovative digital experiences. One of the most exciting ways we’re heading into the future is with our brand new website which soon will offer an extensive amount of digital resources including online lectures, motivational videos, Q&As, helpful tips and tricks, expert interviews, a monthly newsletter, a blog, an entire portal just for healthcare professionals, and an increased social media presence. It will be the best digital resource for anyone in the diabetes community looking for practical information on how to manage their diabetes and live healthier, happier lives.

I am humbled and honored to have the privilege of continuing the work that Steve and Sandy began in 1995. As Executive Director, Sandy nurtured TCOYD from its infancy through its teen years and into early adulthood. I’m looking forward to working side by side with Steve and the rest of the TCOYD team to carry our shared vision into the future!