Cool career paths chosen by people with type 1 diabetes
It’s National Careers Week, and young people all over the country are taking the opportunity to search for career ideas. Among them are thousands of young people living with type 1 diabetes.
Each day throughout this week, we will be profiling what others living with type 1 have gone on to do as a career: from going into space to designing for the catwalk, the possibilities seem endless!
Josu Feijoo, Astronaut
Josu Feijoo has spent years training to be the first person living with type 1 diabetes to ever go into space, with Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline.
He works with scientists to trial new treatments such as a type of insulin that can be injected without gravity, and a blood glucose measuring device that can transmit results to Earth every 15 minutes.
Josu was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 23 and has always pushed himself to the limit. He looks forward to using the new technology in extreme conditions:
“If the experiment fails, I’ll be screwed, but I’ll know that my work will help many diabetics… and that the Earth is a fantastic view from space.”
Josu has also completed the Explorers Grand Slam, which includes climbing all seven tallest mountains and visiting the North and South Pole.
Damon Dash, Entertainment Mogul
Damon Dash is best known for co-founding American label Roc-A-Fella Records, which boasts launching Jay-Z and Kanye West into stardom.
He started out his career organising club parties in Harlem, New York, when he became convinced that hip-hop was the path for him. After managing individual acts, he created Roc-A-Fella Records with a unique focus on East Coast rap.
Damon found out about his type 1 diabetes 31-years ago when in boarding school, and has since showcased living his life with it:
“Diabetes doesn’t stop you but empowers you to live well and strategize. From navigating Harlem to the entrepreneurial life…. I’ve been diabetic all around the world… Saint Tropez, helicopters, China, Africa, Jamaica, boarding school. I just got to a Level 7. I’ve gone through the journey and I want to explain what works for me.”
Damon founded Dash Diabetes Network, an online community of everyday people speaking out about their experiences.
Steve Lucas, Software CEO
Steve Lucas is the Chief Executive Officer for Marketo, a leading digital software company located in the high-tech enclave of Silicon Valley.
His senior position follows on from past experiences leading multi-billion dollar businesses through digital growth, and today he helps Marketo through leading the expansion of its services.
Steve has lived with type 1 diabetes for 20 years, and supports organisations in search of a cure. He sometimes refers to his first experiences of injecting insulin in keynote presentations.
Steve earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Colorado.
Chandler Benet, Investment Relations Manager
Chandler Benet is an Investment Relations Manager for Virgin Money, a financial services brand working across Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
She is responsible for managing communication between corporate management and financial investors. This involves working closely with legal, finance and senior leadership teams, to share information, arrange meetings, and perform crisis management duties.
Chandler was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2004, and spoke to the NHS about her experiences in 2008:
“It was definitely a bit of a nightmare at first, but if you approach diabetes with a positive attitude, it just becomes another part of who you are.”
Chandler earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Yale University.
Sam Talbot, Executive Chef and Restaurateur
Sam Talbot is a Sicilian-American chef best known as a semi-finalist on American reality television series Top Chef.
At a young age, he turned his passion for food into a career, opening his first restaurant and launching a cookbook last year.
Sam was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12, and continues to live daily with a deep appreciation of food’s impact on health:
“I’m fortunate to have a beautiful kitchen where I spend my time finding new ways to make everyday food not just tasty, but accessible, and its preparation less intimidating. I’m not talking about drastic dietary changes, but about being informed of the way your life can fit with [type 1].”
Sam graduated from Johnson & Wales University.
Natalie Balmain, Fashion Designer
Natalie Balman is Founder and Creative Director of Type 1 Clothing, a UK-based fashion brand created to allow easy pump-wearing and injection access.
She always enjoyed design as a hobby, but it was when she started using an tear in her trousers seam to inject that the idea for her company really took off. Her designs not only feature practical elements to help administer treatments, but contemporary style too. And, she contributes 5% of profits to diabetes research.
“I think people underestimate the power that fashion has on people’s emotional well-being. I just wanted to make something that made people feel good.”
Natalie earned a Diploma in Performing Arts from Worcester College, and studied journalism at Manchester University.
How to manage your type 1 at work
Get information about managing your type 1 diabetes in the workplace; including telling a future employer about reasonable adjustments they could make, such as breaks to check your blood glucose or to treat hypos.