She's only 11 years old, but Katrina Elisabeth Diel is already the Chief Executive Officer of her own little diabetes business, making colorful covers for the second-gen OmniPod tubeless insulin pump.
OK, that's more of an honorary CEO title. After all, she's only in elementary school.
But Katrina is the one who came up with the idea for KEDZ Covers, researching the concept, conceptualizing the covers, making the first prototype out of clay, and even designing the logo for the business that's an acronym for her full name (with a Z tacked onto the end). So while her dad is technically the head of the Rhode Island incorporated company, Katrina is the founding inventor who assists her dad and among other things serves as chief "artistic designer."
Diagnosed in summer 2012, Katrina has been wearing an OmniPod patch pump for almost a year now but wasn't happy with how little it offered on the fun and decorative front. So she decided to design her own colorful covers that just snap right over the Pod once you're wearing it.
"Once I got used to wearing the pump I decided it would look cool if it could be a fun color to match the clothes I was wearing! With my parents’ permission, I searched the internet for some decorative products that would snap over the top of my pod, but found nothing except stickers," she wrote on the KEDZ Covers website.
That led to the company's creation, which her dad is technically in charge of but she helps out on by choosing colors, modeling her own Pod and covers, keeping tabs on the customer database, and helping to package and ship out the covers from the local post office.
We couldn't help thinking that if there were any young D-entrepreneur who deserves a Small But Mighty designation here at the 'Mine, it's Katrina and her new diabetes biz.
The covers she makes aren't cheap at $20 each, but a portion of the proceeds go to JDRF and the local Camp Surefire for diabetic kids in Rhode Island, where Katrina hopes to go for the first time this summer. All of this is aside from splitting her time between school, swimming, violin and ballet lessons, not to mention all the daily diabetes tasks that are still quite new to her!
Early this year, Katrina's entrepreneurship caught the attention of executives from Insulet, makers of the OmniPod, to the tune of them inviting her to visit Insulet's corporate headquarters in Massachusetts where she got to talk with Pod engineers and also CEO Duane DeSisto. There she learned that her family would be getting the company's support at the upcoming CWD Friends For Life conference this summer.
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