Marleny and Jennie Garth, actress, and Go Red For Women, spokesperson.

1. Tell us about this history of Go Red Por Tu Corazón and National Wear Red Day.

Go Red Por Tu Corazón launched in 2009, as the American Heart Association’s bilingual heart-health movement to raise awareness of the risks of heart disease among Hispanic women. What many Hispanic women don’t’ know is that Heart Disease is their #1 killer, and on average they are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than Caucasian women.  These statistics are staggering and through Go Red Por Tu Corazón, the American Heart Association has strengthened its commitment to raising awareness of heart disease among Latinas and helping them learn how to prevent it through meaningful and relevant ways that preserve their traditions.

National Wear Red Day, held on the first Friday in February each year, is a day when Americans nationwide wear red to show their support for women’s heart disease awareness. This day is especially important to Latinos, because we are at greater risk for heart disease. .

2. How is Go Red Por Tu Corazón involved in bettering the lives of Latinas?

By focusing on family and cultural traditions, Go Red Por Tu Corazón hopes to promote a healthy lifestyle within the Hispanic community through national and local initiatives, online tools and resources, and strategic partnerships. With only 1 in 3 Hispanic women being aware that heart disease is their No. 1 killer, Go Red Por Tu Corazón is encouraging Latinas to Live for their Heart empowering them to know their risk factors and learn how healthy eating combined with physical activity can help prevent risk factors for heart disease in their families, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol levels and obesity.

3. What events are taking place on National Wear Red Day?

Go Red Por Tu Corazón and its sister cause Go Red For Women are hosting Go Red CONNECT events all across the country on Friday, February 4th. The Go Red CONNECT events hope to educate women about how they can make heart-healthy choices to reduce their personal risk, take action to save the lives of their loved ones and make a difference in their communities. Women will also be encouraged to share their heart stories for a chance to be a Go Red Por Tu Corazón spokesperson.

4. How can our readers make a difference by “Going Red”?

As easy as “Going Red” sounds – it can truly save lives. By wearing something red and starting this conversation with friends and family we are one step further to wiping out this disease that is affecting so many of us.  “Going Red” is as easy as putting on a red dress, a red tie or a red dress pin. By simply WEARING RED to show your support, you will help raise awareness of heart disease in Hispanic women.

5. How have you incorporated social media into your outreach efforts to connect with Latinas?

Great question – You can Go Red in your wardrobe and you can also Go Red with your social networks. Social media allows us to spread messages in a viral way to our friends and family. We’d like to leverage the power of social media to send our message and save lives. Our official Go Red Por Tu Corazón facebook page allows Latinas to connect with each other, share stories, tips, and encourage each other daily toward a healthier lifestyle. Through Twitter parties, we are able to further connect with women in real time and create a platform in which they are able to connect on an issue that is not only affecting them, but also their families and potentially future generations.

6. What are some of the biggest obstacles you face in reaching Latinas?

One of the biggest challenges can be the “whatever happens, happens” approach to life. We know that heart disease is preventable and with small, incremental changes families can significantly change their health and their chance to live a longer life in quality health. We also know that we get a lot of our health information passed down (hearsay) or from families or friends. There is a lot of scientifically valid information available from the American Heart Association and of course we encourage annual visits to a local healthcare provider.   We should all begin to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle in order to protect our hearts and our family’s hearts.

7. How have you been partnering with organizations at the grassroots level?

We partner with different organizations and companies depending on the area and type of event. For example, we most recently launched a multi-faceted relationship with Zumba Fitness with the launch of their Party Hearty campaign which includes 400 events across the country with 75 percent   of ticket sales donated to Go Red Por Tu Corazón. And of course they have more than 200 offices regionally across the nation. In markets with high percentage of Hispanic populations, we often have local partners that help us share and drive our heart health message through their channels.

8. Do you have any corporate sponsors? If so, who are they and how do you partner with them?

Yes, our corporate sponsors are committed to raising awareness of this important issue. Macy’s has sponsored Go Red For Women since its inception 8 years ago. Specifically, they also are our national sponsor for Go Red Por Tu Corazon. It’s through our national and local sponsors that we are able to fund awareness events and programs that will give Latinos resources to become more heart healthy. To continue to provide more resources and awareness events for Latinas, we hope to add more sponsors.

9. How can individuals, companies or organizations help to support Go Red Por Tu Corazón initiatives?

First, by joining the movement on and second becoming part of the conversation on the Go Red Por Tu Corazón Facebook page. There are many online resources available to companies and individuals who would like to host a Go Red event within their company or among friends. We also have a ShopGoRed site with lots of Go Red goodies which benefit the cause! And of course, individuals can donate to the mission.

10. How did you start your career in PR and where has that taken you?

I actually started my career in Advertising and transitioned into a PR role when I joined the American Heart Association to help build the Go Red Por Tu Corazón movement. It’s been an amazing opportunity as it has allowed me to see all facets of building a movement from the ground up – from the research stage to seeing our messages communicated through different channels. It’s the thrill of immediate gratification to see our messages come alive and much more of a challenge since it’s earned media. I truly love being a part of such a great cause that is saving the lives of so many Latina women.

11. Tell us about your educational background.

I graduated from Southern Methodist University, in Dallas with a Bachelor in Advertising and received a Spanish minor from the University of José Ortega y Gasset in Madrid, Spain.   As a college student, I really loved the world of marketing and took advantage of internship opportunities  and advertising programs offered, and in 2005 was selected  the “Most Promising Minority” by the American Advertising Federation. Post graduation, this passion took me to New York City where I accepted an offer at Ogilvy  and Mather in their Associates Program, where we learned all aspects of marketing and  more specifically, advertising.  A great learning experience overall!

12. What is one of the best lessons your parents taught you about life?

To have big dreams and work hard to achieve them. Education is key and they always made this a priority growing up.

13. What is the most important business habit you have?

I would say there are a couple. First, to always treat people with respect. Relationships are far more important in my mind than just getting the work done. When we focus on building up those around us, we create a stronger team with the same goals and vision. Second, is to take responsibility instead of making excuses when things do go wrong. This happens a lot in our world, and I think honesty is the best possible answer in all circumstances.

14. What advice would you have for young people exploring Hispanic or multicultural PR careers in the non-profit sector?

To start researching different non-profits in their area and find out about the organization’s Hispanic outreach efforts. Any internship opportunities are also a great way to get your foot in the door at a non-profit. Find a cause that you are passionate about, then get ready to roll up your sleeves and be a part of that change.

15. What are your top three favorite news resources to find out what is going on in the US Hispanic world and what do you look for in these resources?

Twitter! I follow quite a bit of Latina bloggers and communication professionals. I like to read interesting articles, studies, and campaigns targeting Latinos.  I really like BeingLatino on Facebook as well – they have a great collection of articles that are always relevant to our culture. And of course , Hispanic PR Blog – what else?!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *