Diabetes Queensland’s CEO Sturt Eastwood says hello

We spent 5 minutes getting to know our CEO Sturt Eastwood

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was raised in Casino in Northern NSW but left at the age of 16 to become an apprentice technician with Telecom Australia. Over the next 25 years or so my career covered everything from telcoms engineering, sales, marketing and executive management roles across NSW, ACT, QLD, the Pacific Islands, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. I’ve managed billion dollar global telecoms businesses, the medical business of Fujifilm Australia and a National Quantity Surveying Organisation, to name but a few. Along the way I also obtained a Business degree and an MBA.

What is your interest in diabetes?

While living in the Middle East I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of 46. With little local medical support I basically had to educate myself, and thus began my journey with diabetes, so to speak. As it turned out I had difficulty controlling my glucose levels and upon my return to Australia, further tests were done. The end result was a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes or LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults, as it is more commonly known) for “late bloomers” such as myself. Although I had enjoyed a very successful commercial career, I was attracted to the diabetes cause and today count myself lucky to enjoy the personal reward that comes with helping and supporting others on a daily basis.

Are you a family man?

Absolutely. Despite the constant relocations, my wife Kerrie (middle of family wedding picture, black dress) and I have been blessed with four beautiful daughters, and as a result have also inherited a number of pets along the way. With my eldest daughter now married and another in a long term relationship, there is a whisper of grandchildren in the air.

When you think of your family, what comes immediately to mind?

The credit card balance.

How would your closest friends describe you?

That is a difficult one, but they’d probably say a can-do, will-do sort of person: Quite structured with a focus on outcomes rather than activity. I am not sure I would be described as an emotional guy, but I do really enjoy people.

What is your greatest strength?

The ability to simplify complex issues, and I relate easily to people from all types of backgrounds.

What’s one thing about you that would surprise people?

That I once had a full head of hair and was a fair hand at rugby union.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

There are a few that come to mind but celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary earlier this year was pretty great.

What’s your idea of absolute happiness?

Having a part, however small, in someone else’s absolute happiness.

How do you switch off?

I quite enjoy the grandeur of well written fantasy and science fiction, and there is nothing better than pretending I can still surf – sitting out the back of the surf on my board on a beautiful day.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Unfortunately, I still enjoy exceeding my allocation of red wine on the odd occasion.

Who is your personal hero and why?

There is no one person per se but I do enjoy observing the wisdom, patience and acceptance that often comes with age.

What would you say is the most Queensland thing about you?

Apart from the couple of years spent living at The Gap in Brisbane, the fact that I still buy XXXX stubbies for a barbecue.

If there were two things you could change now about diabetes (other than the obvious cure) what would it be?

1. a subsidy for the Abbott Libre sensor, and

2. a more health conscious younger generation.

And finally, who do you barrack for at State of Origin?

The underdogs …

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