Q & A with Evelyn Carter

Going Red Again

Photography by Edges Photography 

This year, Evelyn Carter, director of community relations for Wegmans Food Markets and past SWM cover woman, once again takes the helm of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign. We caught up with her to talk about her plans for the campaign, the AHA’s Silent Discos and how Evelyn stays heart healthy.

SWM: Congratulations on being named chair of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign! This is going to be your second tenure as chair. You helped lead a successful campaign in 2015. What do you think led to that success?

Evelyn: Thank you for your well wishes. I was very pleased at the outcome of my first time as chair. We had a diverse group of women who participated. We also exceeded our financial goal. I’m very proud of those achievements.
The success was due to the fact that it was a team effort. It wasn’t me; it was the team. The team included my executive leadership team, my employer, Wegmans, the many men and women in Central New York who participated in one capacity or another and organizations I have personal affiliations with. It was everyone. We have great people in our community who recognized the need and did whatever they could to help.

SWM: How did you become the 2018 Go Red chair?

Evelyn: That’s a great question. I simply was asked to consider serving as chair… again. The again part is funny to me. Typically, this is a one-term, one-time role. We had other people in mind to serve in this capacity who weren’t able to fulfill the role this year, due to other commitments. So when asked if I would consider serving again, after a little contemplation and a few calls to make sure I would have the support needed, I said yes.

SWM: What did you learn from your time as chair in 2015 that you plan to apply to this year?

Evelyn: We have a community of phenomenal men and women who will do what is needed when asked. I had friends and colleagues who I simply asked for a check for $1,000 to support our community. They didn’t even know exactly what it was for when I first asked. But they trusted me enough to believe in whatever the effort was. I got several donations that way. They became Circle of Red participants and very involved in the campaign. That level of support is a true indicator of the power we have as a community. Just ask.

SWM: Is there anything new on the horizon for this year’s campaign?

Evelyn: I want to continue to build on the momentum of previous campaigns, while ensuring it remains inclusive. There are a few untapped markets I would like to explore. My goal is to help establish a foundation in these markets that can be built upon in subsequent years. I also want the Go Red luncheon in October to be both a true celebration of goal achievement and a must-attend event.

SWM: Your employer, Wegmans, has been a big supporter of the American Heart Association. How do you balance your time between work and community efforts?

Evelyn: Wegmans’ support has been HUGE. I would not be able serve as chair without their support. Wegmans’ support has included being a company sponsor and giving me the flexibility to serve in this capacity, allowing me to do what is necessary to be both effective and impactful. Several Wegmans leadership team members also participated in Circle of Red. The great part is my role at Wegmans includes community engagement, so that allows me to fulfill the role of chair and a portion of my job responsibilities simultaneously.

SWM: What’s your advice to busy women who want to give back to their communities?

Evelyn: My advice is find ways to fulfill multiple priorities at the same time. One can do this by finding ways to incorporate family time into community service activity. My son, Austin, has participated in numerous community activities with me. Wegmans is very supportive of this, so while I’m working in the community, I’m spending time with my son, as well. It’s a definite win-win.

SWM: Silent discos have been a successful way to raise awareness for the Go Red campaign. Talk about how they help bring together the community to fight for heart health.

Evelyn: The silent disco is a great way to have fun and get exercise at the same time. It highlights the fact that exercise doesn’t have to be grueling and can have the same physical impact traditional exercise does. Music is universal. It brings people together. We may enjoy different genres of music, but we all like music of some sort. The silent disco lets you “dance to your own beat.” You pick the style of music you want to listen to and start dancing.

SWM: What’s your favorite song to dance to at silent discos?

Evelyn: I don’t have a favorite song, but I love music. Listening to music is an integral part of my day. My favorite genres of music are contemporary gospel and old school rhythm and blues. I’m not the greatest dancer, but I can keep the beat. That’s all you need to be able to do to participate.

SWM: What do you do to keep your heart healthy?

Evelyn: I try to incorporate healthy eating habits into my daily life. It’s a work-in-progress because I have a few favorite foods that are hard to totally eliminate from my diet. So, I focus on moderation. However, Wegmans makes healthy eating easy, which is very helpful to me. I’ve also found that having fresh fruit visible in the house encourages more fruit intake. When kept in the refrigerator, it’s almost hidden and forgotten. However, when I put a bowl of fruit on the counter, I’ve noticed even my son eats it more frequently. I also regularly monitor my blood pressure and am conscious of my salt intake. I get a little exercise in when I can, but could definitely improve in that area. SWM

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Mark your calendar! The American Heart Association’s next Silent Disco is slated for April 21 at the SRC Arena, Onondaga Community College, 4585 W. Seneca Turnpike.

Evelyn would like to thank her Go Red executive leadership team members: Aminy Audi, Stickley, Audi & Co.; Mara Charlamb, United Radio; Susan Crossett, Harris-Beach; Bea Gonzalez, Syracuse University; BridgetAnn Hart, Kinney Drugs; Amy Kremenek, Onondaga Community College; Renee Lane, C&S Companies; Angela Lee, Hill-Rom; LaVonda Reed, Syracuse University; Caeresa Richardson, National Grid; M. Catherine Richardson, Retired, Bond Schoeneck & King, PPLC; Laura Serway, Laci’s Tapas Bar; Kimberly Townsend, Loretto; Barbara Huntress Tresness, CHAT Collective; Gwen Webber-McLeod, Gwen, Inc.