July 21, 2015

Diabetes' New Warrior

Kevin Hagan has been running one of the country's largest associations (over 441,000 members) since June 1. He has some ambitious plans for the Alexandria-based (soon to be Crystal City) American Diabetes Association.

Kevin, who grew up in a small town in Georgia, accepted the role of CEO for very personal reasons: The disease, which affects 29.1 million people, has been widespread in his family, including through his own parents and grandparents. He was also diagnosed eight years ago with pre-diabetes, which motivated him to change his lifestyle and lose weight to avoid developing Type 2 diabetes, which he's done successfully so far. Professionally, he has an interest in organizational transformation and wanted to help the ADA become a bigger force in diabetes research.


Kevin, who recently served three years as president/CEO of Feed the Children, says he's looking at the ADA's organizational structure and making sure resources are effectively allocated. He also wants to: grow the organization's core research initiatives; expand the Pathway to Stop Diabetes research program that encourages young researchers or researchers looking for a change to move into diabetes research; continue pilot programs that improve the care of diabetes patients through interventions; and restructure and diversify the ADA's fundraising.

Kevin's background includes serving as COO of Good360 and national programs manager for USPS. He tells us the ADA raises about $200M annually—mostly from special events like this first Tour de Cure cycling event in 1991 and direct donations. One of the ADA's biggest challenges is one being felt throughout the association and nonprofit world: a decline in special event fundraising. Kevin says his team is developing new special events, finding new revenue streams, and expanding the small amount of revenue (under 10%) that comes from dues.

Fun facts about Kevin:

Best lesson: Sometimes short-term pain is needed for long-term gain. “It's human nature to avoid more work, but often it's necessary to grow and move the organization forward.” 

Hometown: Sylvania, GA 

Why DC: Came to get a master's in international affairs at American University; stayed 18 years and commuted between DC and Oklahoma for the last three years while running Feed the Children. 

Free time: Travel—Kenya and Iceland are favorites.

Bucket list: Visit Madagascar.

One thing most people don't know about you: I've collected shot glasses since age 6. Collection is now close to 6,000—some are displayed and some are in boxes.

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