Hillenbrandt, Crisafulli Russo co-chair Go Red for Women Luncheon

Co-chairs

Andrea Crisafulli Russo, Carrie Hillenbrandt to chair 2016 Go Red for Women Luncheon

12th annual American Heart Association event will improve the heart health

of Capital Region women

They work in fields predominantly staffed by men, but their focus this spring is on women and their heart health.

Carrie Hillenbrandt, director of sales and marketing for BBL Hospitality, and Andrea Crisafulli Russo, president of Crisafulli Bros., are chairing the 2016 Capital Region Go Red for Women Luncheon set for Thursday, May 26, at the Albany Marriott.  

The Go Red for Women Luncheon raises money to help the American Heart Association raise awareness about – and the funds to fight – heart disease in women.

“BBL has been involved with the American Heart Association since our founder, Donald Led Duke, died suddenly of a heart attack in 2010,” Hillenbrandt said. “I’m involved with this because the numbers around disease in women are too high. I have two daughters, and I would hate to have them lose someone.”

“When I heard that 1 in 3 women dies of heart disease, that number really stuck with me,” Crisafulli Russo said. “It’s also sobering that more women die of heart disease than all cancers combined. I have three sisters, a daughter and six nieces. That strikes a chord with me.”

Both women take their own health seriously.

“I made a couple of small changes recently,” Crisafulli Russo said. “I make sure I eat vegetables every day, and make it a point to set aside time to exercise. Even small changes matter.”

“So much of heart disease is preventable,” Hillenbrandt said. “The Luncheon helps build awareness, and lets us educate people that lifestyle choices – like what you put in your body, exercise and managing stress – play a huge role in heart health.”

Hillenbrandt works out in the mornings, and tries to take lunch breaks outside the office.

“It’s really difficult to take a break sometimes,” Hillenbrandt said. “I think we all get swamped. But if I can take that mid-day break, it gives me a burst of energy to get through the afternoon.”

Hillenbrandt has been in her position at BBL for eight years. Prior to that, she was director of sales and marketing for the Albany Marriott. She is a Siena graduate who lives in Guilderland with her husband of 19 years and two daughters, 15 and 12.

In addition to chairing the Go Red for Women Luncheon, Hillenbrandt will be leading a team at the JDRF Walk. She also supports the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, The Sage Colleges and the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau. In her work at BBL, she has the opportunity to represent the company in community relations.

Crisafulli Russo is proud to lead the family business her grandfather started 77 years ago. She began her journey performing administrative tasks while earning her college degree at Russell Sage. She lives in Bethlehem and has three children, 16, 18 and 19.

Crisafulli Russo works closely with the Ronald McDonald House, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, and serves on the board of Women@Work and the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce.

More than 400 women attend the Go Red for Women Luncheon, from 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 26. The Festival of Red takes place in the morning, and includes a silent auction featuring “Purse-Onalities” donated by local women. There are health screenings and health information.

This year’s lunch program will include a brief hands-on learning activity, stories from local survivors of heart disease and stroke, the introduction of the 2016 BetterU class, and a keynote address from Dr. Annabelle Volgman, who created the Rush Heart Center for Women in Chicago.

“The Luncheon is inspirational and powerful,” Hillenbrandt said. “It really helps people, and I’m proud to have my name on it.”

“We can make the changes we need to,” Crisafulli Russo said. “The Luncheon is also something women can do for themselves. When is the last time you did something for yourself?”

The Capital Region Go Red for Women Luncheon is set for Thursday, May 26, from 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at the Albany Marriott. Carrie Hillenbrandt, director of sales and marketing for BBL Hospitality and Andrea Crisafulli Russo, president of Crisafulli Bros., are co-chairing the Luncheon. Benita Zahn of NewsChannel 13 is the emcee. Dr. Annabelle Volgman, founder of the Rush Heart Center for Women in Chicago, is the keynote speaker. The Festival of Red begins at 10 a.m. and includes a silent auction, health screenings and health information. The Lunch and Learn includes a hands-on learning activity, a survivor speaker and the 2016 BetterU class. Sponsors include BBL Hospitality, Crisafulli Bros., Market 32 by Price Chopper, Neil and Jane Golub, Price Chopper, SEFCU, Albany Medical Center, CapitalCare Medical Group, BetterU media sponsor The Times Union, WNYT, B95.5 and Bizwomen. For information, visit CapitalRegionNYGoRedLuncheon.heart.org or call 518.626.8756.

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