Ginny Wilson-Peters' Blog
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
It started as a Facebook posting and resulted in raising $10,500 (so far) for the American Heart Association Go Red for Women. Last spring I agreed to chair the Circle of Red committee for this November’s Go Red luncheon. The Circle of Red is comprised of women who contribute $500 or more to Go Red. This was actually my first involvement with the luncheon but I was drawn to the cause.
Sometime around April or May I posted a note on my Facebook page and asked for volunteers for the committee. I was pleasantly surprised when six women I know stepped quickly forward and expressed an interest. Some of the women had personal histories with heart disease; others were concerned about family histories or had lost women they loved to heart disease.
Author Margaret Wheatley says “a leader is anyone who is willing to help.” The Circle of Red committee took this to heart. They also expanded the definition to remind us that leadership is also about getting results. They are doing this through passion, vision and the use of effective storytelling.
PASSION: This is the first year the Go Red luncheon has created a Circle of Red in our Quad City community so our challenge was to generate interest and raise at least $10,000. Our planning meetings at the Waterfront Deli were fun and energizing and it was clear to me that I had the privilege of working with a very passionate and committed group of women. But I BLOWN away about three months into the process when each member of our committee stepped forth in a meeting and made their own personal commitment to become members of the Circle of Red. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes as each of them talked about their commitment and reasons for doing so. These are not a group of women that you’ll find on the list of regular donors in the Quad Cities. They probably aren’t women you’d expect to be writing $500 checks, especially in this economy. But, these ARE women with passion and commitment and I am honored to call them friends.
STORYTELLING: At our Circle of Red promotional event in September, two women shared their stories. Both women, Kelly Hennell and Tina Morris shared their own personal stories of heart disease. As I looked around the room, and chatted with women afterwards, it was clear that their stories touched the hearts of many women present. Those stories also reinforced my personal commitment. I Go Red for Women because I want us to move from saying, ‘I wish I had known’ to saying, ‘thank goodness I knew about the risks of heart disease.’
VISION: We had two major goals. One goal was to raise at least $10,000 this year. Our second goal was to create a compelling reason for women to want to join the Circle of Red (beyond the joy of financial giving). Thanks to the leadership of our committee, more women have stepped forward to join the Circle of Red and we have surpassed our (initial) goal of 20 women committing $500. And we’ve created ongoing opportunities for women in the Circle of Red to come together and continue to learn more about heart disease. You can find that list of activities at the end of this blog.
“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing time. Action with vision is making a positive difference. Joel Barker
A healthy and heartful thank you to our Circle of Red committee members: Amy Pousson, Carol Cowan, Chelsea Hillman, LuAnn Haydon, Kristen Veto and Teri Behrends.
Circle of Red members in the Quad Cities receive the following benefits with their $500 donation:
*One Seat at the Go Red For Women® Luncheon, November 18th at The Waterfront Convention Center and special recognition at the event
* Limited edition Circle of Red Bagolita clutch purse
* Invitation to an intimate breakfast with local cardiologist, Dr. Rafat Padaria, to answer your questions about heart disease
* Tour of the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital led by Dr. Vicki Pyevich, a hands-on opportunity for Circle of Red women to see where a portion of the American Heart Association’s research dollars are making a big impact.
The cost for the above activities are underwritten by others and do NOT come out of your $500 contribution.
Even if you’re not able to make a Circle of Red contribution, I hope you’ll attend an upcoming Circle of Red event.
Quad Cities: Wednesday November 18th at the Waterfront Convention Center http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3068146
Cedar Rapids: Friday November 20th at Kirkwood Center for Continuing Education http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3067947
Johnson County: Thursday December 19th at Coralville Marriott Hotel http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3065965
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