More Than a Dress: The 15th Annual Woman’s Day Red Dress Awards

Primary tabs

More Than a Dress: The 15th Annual Woman’s Day Red Dress Awards

By Nici Bush, General Manager, Mars Symbioscience at Mars
tweet me:
Mars Symbioscience is partnering with @WomansDay as lead sponsor of #RedDressAwards. Learn what this partnership means to one Mars Associate - as a business leader, a woman, a friend, and a mother http://bit.ly/2sa57VJ

Multimedia from this Release

Image: The (all female!) Mars Symbioscience leadership team wearing our red to raise awareness about women's heart health.

Image: Mars Symbioscience team celebrating Go Red for Women Day on February 2, 2018.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - 8:00am

CAMPAIGN: Mars Associate Stories

CONTENT: Blog

This month, I have the privilege of presenting an award at the Woman’s Day Red Dress Awards, where we at Mars Symbioscience, makers of CocoaVia® dietary supplement, are the lead sponsor for the third year in a row. Before I don my own red dress at this glamorous event, (thankfully picked out by my 18-year old daughter on a rushed Sunday afternoon shopping trip,) I find myself reflecting on what this award means to me as a business leader, a woman, a friend, and a mother.  

First, I’m proud to work for a company that values women, and values scientific and public health achievement. Mars Symbioscience has invested in this partnership with Woman’s Day to raise awareness about heart disease risk, and to shine a spotlight on the medical professionals, scientists and advocates who are advancing our knowledge and progress in fighting heart disease in women. Many of these advocates are women themselves. As a female leader at Mars with a cadre of highly skilled female scientists on my team, I know what a difference we can make when we come together towards a goal. I’m very #proudlymars!

First, I’m proud to work for a company that values women, and values scientific and public health achievement. Mars Symbioscience has invested in this partnership with Woman’s Day to raise awareness about heart disease risk, and to shine a spotlight on the medical professionals, scientists and advocates who are advancing our knowledge and progress in fighting heart disease in women. Many of these advocates are women themselves. As a female leader at Mars with a cadre of highly skilled female scientists on my team, I know what a difference we can make when we come together towards a goal. I’m very #proudlymars!

I’ll be presenting our CocoaVia® Healthy Heart Award to an inspirational woman who is making a tremendous impact in the field of cardiology – Dr. Icilma Fergus. Cardiovascular-related diseases are the leading cause of death in the United States and developing countries, and disproportionately affect women and certain ethnic minorities. When I think of disease risk for women, I typically think of breast cancer, which is why I’ve always been a big supporter of breast cancer research. However, what most people don’t know is that cardiovascular disease is actually the leading cause of death in women in the U.S., which is why it is so critical that we raise awareness of the issue and recognize those that are making strides to combat these statistics. Dr. Fergus has dedicated her career to finding solutions to reduce the impact of heart disease in women and at-risk populations. She is a prominent educator in the local community where she works and is the founder and director of the series of Healthy Hearts projects – Harlem Healthy Hearts and Montserrat Healthy Hearts – which involve education, demonstration and screening for chronic conditions that lead to heart disease. She makes voluntary annual trips to her home country of Montserrat as part of this work. She is also a co-founder of the Programme Ultima Femme, a holistic program incorporating aspects of optimal nutrition, exercise, and self-management techniques to promote wellness in the workplace.

I admire Dr. Fergus’s dedication and steadfast pursuit of health equality. This is something we should all be working towards, together. It’s not OK to me that that someone could be at a greater risk of dying from heart disease because of their gender, ethnicity, or zip code. Equal access to screenings, treatments and preventive care is a bar that we need to set for ourselves as a society.

I admire Dr. Fergus for her incredible contributions in her field. Cardiology is a dynamic area of study and practice, and Dr. Fergus has forged her own path and risen steadily as a leader among her peers. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology and currently serves as the Director of the Cardiovascular Disparities Center and Associate Professor at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Prior to this, she served as the Chief of the Division of Cardiology at Columbia University Harlem Hospital. She is the Immediate Past President of the Association of Black Cardiologists, and a Board Member of the New York City Affiliate of the American Heart Association. She’s helping to set the agenda for the future of cardiology, and she is a tremendous role model for young women pursuing S.T.E.M. careers. 

Finally, I admire Dr. Fergus because she is a woman helping other women. And she’s helping people in the communities where she lives and works. In my interactions with her she is quick to point out the contributions of her team and her pride in their work. I can’t overstate the importance of woman-to-woman support and mentorship. One of my favorite aspects of my work at Mars is the time I spend coaching and mentoring others to achieve their personal and professional leadership goals. Last year I wrote about being bold in leadership and the balance women often have to strike between being bold enough to say “No” without guilt, and bold enough to say “Yes” when they’re uncertain. This kind of leadership is needed to drive change.

All of our CocoaVia® Healthy Heart Award recipients, Dr. Icilma Fergus (2018), Dr. Holly Anderson (2017) and Dr. Joanne Lupton (2016) are boldly leading the way to better health for everyone. I look forward to a future where health equality is realized, our planet and our communities are valued, and women are well-represented at the top of every career field. This February, I’ll proudly wear my red dress in honor of women’s heart health and extend my thanks for the achievements that bring us closer to these goals.