Boston executive director honored for engaging top companies

Jay Blackwell, executive director of the American Heart Association’s  Greater Boston region, has been named the 2019 recipient of the Association’s Corporate Catalyst Award for having had significant success engaging top companies.

The American Heart Association Staff Awards recognize the behaviors, competencies and skills of exceptional employees. Jay was among 14 employees and teams to be honored this year.

Since becoming executive director in Boston in 2017, Jay has created a bold vision for building broad corporate relationships in Boston and has empowered local volunteer leaders to make big things happen.

When the Boston leadership development chair engaged Airflow Sleep CEO Andy Fligor in April 2019, Jay recognized the potential of a partnership with the Wellesley-based company. He quickly engaged cross-functional partners within the American Heart Association to mobilize a team, understand the needs of Airflow Sleep and needs and build a cohesive opportunity.

The result speaks for itself: Airflow Sleep committed $6 million to become a National Healthy for Good – Be Well Platform Sponsor. Airflow Sleep, which has developed a patented pillow to help people breathe better while sleeping, will highlight American Heart Association science showing that a good night’s sleep is critical to good health. Millions of consumers will be touched through major retailers such as Bed, Bath & Beyond and Walmart.

This significant success engaging a top company is the result of Jay’s leadership and great internal collaboration between local, affiliate and national staff and engaged volunteers.

The American Heart Association received more than 300 submissions from across the country for this year’s Staff Awards. The winners were chosen by a 46-member selection committee comprised of colleagues appointed by Association executive leadership.

Jay began his career at the American Heart Association in 2001 as the director of the Boston Heart Ball, moving to be the national Heart Ball director in 2006 where he remained until 2011, leaving to become the executive director of the Washington D.C. market.  Jay returned to Boston in 2016 to become the executive director of the Greater Boston region.

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