Phil Southerland: Founder of Team Novo Nordisk
In this episode, we interview Phil Southerland, founder of Team Novo Nordisk and Team Type 1. Phil was diagnosed with T1 at 7 months old; the doctor told his mom he wouldn't live to see age 25. Since, he has become an inspirational example of driving positive impact in the Type 1 community and has led his pro cycling teams around the world to drive awareness of Diabetes. Phil refers to T1's as being every day heroes, and this interview highlights the great work that he and his team are doing across the Globe.
Being diagnosed with diabetes at seven months old means that Phil Southerland has never known a life without Type-1 diabetes. Phil is the co-funder and CEO of Novo Nordisk, an all Type-1 diabetes cycling team.
Phil is the father of three boys – 1, 3 and 5 years old - and the author of the book NOT DEAD YET.
Phil has always been active since he was a child. He was engaged in different sports while in high school, but set his mind on cycling later.
Phil’s passion for helping people kicked into full gear when he started Team Type-1 in 2005. At the time when he started Team Type-1, a cycling team, he was very much in debt, but a conversation with some of his friends spurred him to start the all-diabetics team.
The vision behind Team Type-1 was for people living with Type-1 diabetes, especially athletes, to stand up confidently. In 2012, Phil teamed up with Novo Nordisk to take the reach of Team Type-1 farther, reaching more Type-1 diabetic athletes and growing the team.
Phil encourages all his athletes to take charge of their lives, especially their health. He calls them heroes, people who are doing all they need to do, winning despite their health conditions.
Phil was 23 when he pitched his idea for Team Type-1 to investors. It was hard things for a 23-year-old to do at the time, but he pulled it off and is beyond grateful that he was able to get support for his idea.
Phil’s greatest joy is seeing many Type-1 diabetic athletes living their best lives, doing all that they need to do, and never allowing their condition to stop them.
Phil, in this podcast, shares how his team of Type-1 diabetics had to go through a lot of trial and error in their first race. However, as the raced progressed, the team got better and finished second in the race.
Phil says he was mildly disappointed when the team didn’t finish in first, but was encouraged when people congratulated his team and felt motivated by their feat. His team returned to the race the next year and won.
Phil and Novo Nordisk have been sources of inspiration for athletes all over the world. The team also gives a hundred scholarships a year to college athletes who have Type-1 diabetes.
Over the course of his life, Phil Southerland has been able to give hope to thousands of people living with type-1 diabetes.
Phil emphasizes the importance of community, saying that community helps make life easier as people can share their experiences and draw hope and inspiration from other people’s lives.
When he was asked what he’d love to change about technology and diabetes, Phil says he wished tools for managing diabetes were readily available and less expensive.
Phil encourages everyone who has Type-1 diabetes to have a goal outside of diabetes. Whether it’s being an excellent mom, a basketball player, a doctor, or whatever you’ve always wanted to do, Phil encourages you to go ahead and do it. Chase your dreams; you’re a hero!