"Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another."
This may sound odd but Mr. Southerland is my idol and the one who inadvertently saved my life by first starting Team Type One which today is Team Novo Nordisk. At the lowest point in my life I found an article online about Team Type One and how they were racing in the Race Across America. After reading that article I did more research on Mr. Southerland and quickly learned that anything is possible with diabetes. Mr. Southerland was diagnosed with diabetes at seven months old and had been told numerous times that he couldn't do something or that he'd be dead before twenty five because of diabetes. That never stopped him, he kept fighting and proving to people that anything is possible with diabetes. That is all you need to know to understand how Mr. Southerland got to where he is today, a tireless work ethic leads to amazing things.
I work at a very exclusive golf club and deal with high ranking business men and women every single day. I have had meetings with CEOs and owners to pitch ideas about business partnerships. Until meeting Mr. Southerland I had never met someone so passionate about the business that they were in. Mr. Southerland is a normal guy that holds a very high position with a world class cycling team. When I met him I didn't have to introduce myself he saw me and before I could say anything he said "Ryan it is a pleasure to finally meet you, thank you for coming"
From that moment on I was myself, I wasn't nervous or intimidated by being in the presence of a CEO. Mr. Southerland and I would talk for ten minutes and we talked like we grew up together. I'm sure I sounded foolish after saying thank you to him maybe 100 times in a minute but he has this aura about him. Mr. Southerland and Team Novo Nordisk will be successful because no matter what he cares about each and every person that is affiliated with the team. He also cares about the fans, I can't tell you how many photos I see of Mr. Southerland with fans of Team Novo Nordisk. He takes the time to interact with everyone and anyone who wants to learn about diabetes or Team Novo Nordisk.
As I was talking to Mr. Southerland he could have asked me to run through the brick wall a few feet from us and I would have. As I said he is my idol but he is a people person and that is very rare for someone in his position, he is human, he doesn't act like he is above or better than anyone. As our conversation ended I made my way around the room and talked to Team Novo Nordisk members including the vice president of marketing (Matt Vogel), senior director of digital media (Zach Monette), ambassador (Joe Eldridge) and Press Officer (Fitzalan Crowe). Talking to each person was like talking to a friend I have had for years. Yes I have traded emails with all of them but everything I just said about Mr. Southerland is true in each and every member of the team. When the "boss" can acknowledge that he is no better than the person making the lowest salary then the team or company will accomplish great things. That is Team Novo Nordisk, I have said it many times but they are a family. They all care about one another, they would do anything for each other. From top to bottom Team Novo Nordisk is the best pro sports team in the world!!!