Feb. 7, 2013, Vol. 11, Issue 3
Ten years ago, the American Heart Association took a stand to fight heart disease in women with the Go Red for Women initiative. I have to admit that when I first heard the “Go Red” slogan, it felt a bit “sports-ey” to me.
Now, however, having seen how it has caught on, and witnessed the power of crowds of women wearing red at Go Red luncheons, I have to admit it’s a strong theme that has garnered momentum — and the red dresses make it very feminine.
At the very first Go Red for Women luncheon that I attended here in Portland, Oregon, the president (at the time) of the AHA Portland Metro Board of Directors, Sandra Lewis, MD, shared a revealing retrospective with the audience. We learned that the first women’s heart health event in the country was held in 1964 here in Portland. Ten thousand women attended, and news reports warned of a huge traffic jam surrounding the venue. The speaker was Dr. Paul Dudley White, the renowned “father of cardiology.”
What drew enough women to tie up city traffic for miles around in 1964? The topic was “Hearts and Husbands” and it covered the role of the wife in her husband’s heart health. Have we come a long way, baby, or what?!?
Of course it’s all well and good to be concerned about the health of other members of our families, but women have put themselves behind others for far too long. The Go Red campaign has been successful in many areas — raising awareness and empowering women to take action — to know their numbers, recognize the symptoms of heart attack and make healthy lifestyle changes — as well as raising money for research. Still, there’s more to be done, as heart disease remains the number 1 killer of women.
Speaking of Heart Health
Family history, eating habits and sleep patterns are just a few of the factors that raise a woman’s risk for heart disease. But the good news is that 80 percent of heart attacks and strokes can be treated, prevented and even avoided when women learn what increases risk and take action to lower it. That’s all about awareness, education, and motivation, and that’s what hospital and other health-oriented organizations spread with their special events and other promotional and screening activities.
In fact, many of our speakers are out in communities across the nation educating women about heart health during February, known as heart month, originally, I believe, because of the Valentine’s heart connotation. Over the years I have worked with Go Red luncheon organizers, cardiology foundations, women’s service line directors and hospital marketing departments, and I have noticed that the one thing they have in common is that every one of them is different. While some focus on heart disease survivors, others focus on lifestyle changes and prevention with topics like nutrition and fitness. Still others might choose to create an event featuring one of their own doctors to cover the nitty-gritty and add on the entertainment value of a humorist to bring some levity to the topic – and attract a larger audience.
On the Speak Well Being website, you can search for the speakers we recommend for heart health programs in two different ways. The first begins on our home page, when you find and click on the box in the Upper Right corner labeled REQUEST SPEAKER INFORMATION. The Speaker Directory opens and down the right side you will see a blue box containing soft, pull-down menus. Click on the line for TOPICS and scroll up to HEART HEALTH, and you’ll get a selection (in random order – it comes up different every time) of all of our heart health speakers, whether it’s the physical muscle or some other aspect such as nutrition or the mind-body connection.
Speakers such as Eliz Greene (pictured above), Ginger Zimmerman, Rudy Wilson Galdonik, Joe Piscatella and Donna Hartley are survivors of heart conditions who have chosen to become professional speakers (and authors). They combine their personal stories with carefully researched information to advocate effectively for heart health, healthy lifestyles and prevention. As professional speakers, they know how to bring the message forth in an entertaining and informative way that lets the message in so women will not only hear it, but act on it.
Nutrition and lifestyle expert Zonya Foco, has created a program specifically for heart health events, called, Be Good To Your Sweet Heart, and some clients, having fun with the double entendre, have even had the good sense to present it right on Valentine’s Day.
The second option on our website, is to search in that same blue box on the SPEAKER DIRECTORY page, under EVENTS, scroll up to HEART HEALTH EVENTS, and all of our speakers who are appropriate for heart health events will pop up – again in random order, different every time. You get more choices under EVENTS because the horizon is wider and includes inspirational and humorous speakers as well as survivors and doctors. For the meeting planner who is using her own doctors or experts to cover the informational part, and who wants more of a motivational speaker to lighten things up, this option offers more choices.
And if you’d like to save time and take advantage of my expertise, just email or call me. Once I hear your specific criteria and budget, I can access a wide range of choices that you may not have realized were out there or appropriate or available in your price range. Knowing the speakers across a broad range of topics, talents, and fees, and even locations, I can often suggest speakers you haven’t heard of but who I know have moved audiences to laughter or tears somewhere else. Best of all, I cut your time investment drastically so you can be doing other things. Heart health isn’t just for February, any more than breast cancer isn’t important only in October. We’re here for you all year ‘round.
It’s a Date
I was just complaining to my husband that I didn’t have anything interesting or fun to write about to end this issue. He paused a minute, and then turned to me and invited me on a date to the Coast on the Saturday after Valentine’s Day — as a Valentine’s celebration. Bingo! I love to go to the coast, eat some oysters, and walk on the beach any time of year. It’ll be good for my heart in more ways than one. Look for my report, next time!
Take care of yourself, and especially be good to your sweet heart, for your well being and those you love.
For Your Well Being is published bi-weekly. We bring you insider speaker reports, exclusive stories about special events around the country, meeting planner tips, and fun stuff from the worlds of health and well being. Be well and be in the know!
The Speak Well Being Group is a specialized speakers bureau, focusing on speakers for hospital-sponsored community events, healthcare organizations, conferences and women’s groups. Our speakers are hand-selected. They are not only experts in their fields, they know how to connect with women and give them life-changing information served on a silver platter of joy, camaraderie, with a side of sauce (spicy, of course).
Finding the perfect keynote speaker for your special event or conference is my personal passion, not just once, but year after year. It brings me endless joy to know that your audience was delighted and moved by the speaker we selected together. I’m committed to making the process easy, pleasant and fun.