Phil Southerland is the CEO and co-founder of Team Novo Nordisk and Founder and President of Team Type 1 Foundation. Born in 1982 in Tallahassee, Florida (USA), Southerland was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at just seven months old and doctors told his mother he was unlikely to live past the age of 25. Now in his thirties, Southerland is a diabetes ambassador and thought leader, educating and empowering the 1.2 billion people throughout the world with diabetes and driving a movement to redefine the boundaries for those living with diabetes.
Southerland, a former professional cyclist, discovered his love of the bike when he was 12. In 2005 during his senior year at University of Georgia, Southerland conceived an idea to combine his passion for cycling and his desire to inspire others with diabetes to live their lives to the fullest. Southerland and his best friend Joe Eldridge assembled a small group of athletes with diabetes they called Team Type 1 to compete in the grueling “Race Across America,” a 3,000 mile cross-country competition dubbed “America’s Toughest Bike Race” to demonstrate on a national stage what athletes with diabetes were capable of. Within two years, Team Type 1 had not only won the fabled race, but went on to claim the title three more times and set the race record for the fastest trans-continental crossing at 5 days, 9 hours, and 3 minutes.
Southerland retired from racing in 2009 following an injury and became the organization’s full-time CEO. Under his leadership, Team Type 1 rapidly grew from a grassroots awareness initiative to an international sports enterprise, attracting elite athletes with diabetes from around the world that competed at the highest levels of cycling, running, triathlon, mountain bike, and cycle-cross.
In 2012, Southerland forged a groundbreaking partnership with global healthcare company Novo Nordisk and made history with the creation of the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team. Now competing as Team Novo Nordisk, the first all-diabetes pro cycling team that aims to inspire, educate and empower everyone living with diabetes.
Southerland is a former Board member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and Camp Kudzu. He also serves on the advisory board for Hope Sports and a supporter of the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.
He resides in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, Dr. Biljana Southerland, co founder of the Type 1 Foundation and their three sons.
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