My passion to work at the American Heart Association is a personal one, because heart disease has directly impacted many of my family members and close friends. Our You’re the Cure advocates and volunteers are a constant reminder why my job in Advocacy is so important. Their commitment to shaping policy to improve cardiovascular health is a testament to our success in helping others. I strongly believe in the association’s mission, and this is what drives my passion to work each and every day — not to mention I enjoy my co-workers.
One of my most memorable experiences is being the first recipient to win the 2010 AHA Diversity Champion Award. I was recognized by my peers for my outstanding contributions in expanding diversity and cultural competence at the American Heart Association. I have proven to be a leader and role model in embracing these efforts. Being an African-American male, I think it’s very important that all organizations do their part to understand and embrace diversity and cultural competence - which I’ve learned means much more than just race, age, religion and sexual orientation. Our Diversity Annual Report featured our various community initiatives — a few of which focus on the African-American and Hispanic communities, as well as on women. The report also discussed our internal initiatives, such as the CEO Diversity Advisory Cabinet, Diversity Week and Supplier Diversity Program.
As remote staff, located in Washington, D.C., we have created our own sub-culture within the American Heart Association. Being in the Nation’s Capitol, I see first-hand the results of our hard work to pass important legislative issues such as Health Care Reform and new tobacco control regulations. Advocacy is a very important part of the Association’s 20/20 goals as we move toward creating a healthier generation. Integrating Advocacy into other business units within the Association is another way that Advocacy keeps its finger on the pulse.
My job is never the same from day to day. There’s always a different challenge and never a dull moment. Running the daily operations of the Advocacy Department can include anything from working with an outside consultant to managing a department budget of over $4 million dollars, not to mention overseeing logistics for the You’re the Cure on the Hill Lobby Day every spring. It’s also my responsibility to make sure new hires have the tools and equipment they need the first day on the job, so they feel welcome and know we’ve been anticipating their arrival.
Derrick has been with the American Heart Association since 1991:
Human Resources Recruiter, Greater-Washington, D.C. Regional Office
SEIBEL Consultant, Greater-Washington, D.C. Regional Office
Office Coordinator, Greater-Washington, D.C. Regional Office
Business/Operations Manager, Advocacy, National Center