STAMFORD, Conn. — As a vice president at one of Stamford's larger development companies, Mia Schipani is no stranger to building luxury homes and corporate headquarters. But what she most wants to build are relationships, awareness and knowledge of heart disease and how it affects women. And as chair of the Fairfield County Leadership Council for the Go Red for Women campaign, she gets to do just that.
"Our mission is to inspire women to take charge of their lives," said the lifelong Stamford resident. "They need to realize that the work/life balance is extremely important, and that the dynamic has changed since the '70s."
To that end, Schipani and her committee bring speakers to the annual Go Red luncheon, held at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich each spring by the American Heart Association's Fairfield County Region. "It's a great event, but we felt we needed to do more, throughout the year."
The result is a series of leadership breakfasts, which have been held for the past three years, bringing speakers on a range of topics to groups of more than 100 women. The most recent one, held at the Hilton Rye Town in Rye Brook, N.Y., featured author Gabrielle Bernstein and a panel on ways to bring happiness into a lifestyle that was compatible with a career. "Everyone knows that when you're happy you're healthier," said Schipani. "Physically, mentally, emotionally. If you love your work and are passionate about it, you'll be happier doing it."
Schipani and her group don't neglect the physical aspects of a healthier lifestyle, however. "We're formulating a strategic plan to get the word out to women about healthier living, both for themselves and their families," she said. "Our goal is to partner with big groups, like Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs and schools and get the heart-healthy message to as many people as possible. There's a strategy, a plan and goals.
"We want women to make the commitment to care for their hearts, then spread that message to five other women. If we do that, we can wipe out heart disease in our lifetime."