Neil Ballentine

Vice President of Digital Strategy & Information Technology

American Lung Association

Where do you live?
Chicago, IL

Tell us a little about the work you do.
The simple answer would be that my team manages the data platforms for the American Lung Association. These systems range from our internal constituent relationship management (CRM), which contains all of the interactions our constituents have with the association, to our online platforms which drive our website, special events and emails. There’s a fine line between where the departmental experts, such as marketing and special events, responsibility stop which puts my role beyond that of simply managing data.

How did you become interested in lungs?
I guess you could say that it’s when I stopped smoking (long before I started working here). While I didn’t have a personal connection to lung disease when I first started at the association, that changed during my first year when my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. Fortunately, due in part to the great work done by the ALA, she’s fully recovered and approaching her 8th year cancer free!

What are your interests outside of work?
It’s a three-way tie between bicycles, pizza and travel. Since 2008 I’ve been a year round cyclist in Chicago putting on over 5,000 miles a year. I’ve ridden across European countries and did a trip from Chicago to Canada a couple of years ago.

What has been your greatest achievement?
Converting others into avid cyclists. It’s happen more than a few times where I’ve introduced someone to cycling (both urban and mountain), only to see it become part of their identity in a few short years.

When I was working for the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, I led the Chicago office to winning the Bike Commuter Challenge, run by the Active Transportation Alliance 2 years in a row. I managed to get everyone in our office on a bike at least once that week!

Why do you need your lungs to be healthy?
Other than yelling at my co-workers, I need healthy lungs to maintain my active lifestyle.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
Chicagoans rarely eat Chicago style pizza, it’s usually only when visitors are in town. The real Chicago pizza is known as tavern style and is something I could eat every day.

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