NAWIC Lansing #177 Membership Meeting (Speaker-Keesa Smith, JD-"Go Red for Women" Speaker/Heart Health Champion & AHA Grand Rapids Chapter E.D.-Jeanne LasargeBono)
DATE: February 10th, 2021
TIME: 5:30PM EST
Contact us if you would like to join!
Speaker: American Heart Association Grand Rapids Chapter Executive Director Jeanne LaSargeBono. She will give a brief intro of the AHA, February Heart Health Month and the Go Red for Women Initiative
Speaker: Keesa Smith, JD will speak in honor of the American Heart Association -February 2021 "American Heart Month" and the "Go Red for Women" international awareness campaign dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and control of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women. She will connect Go Red for Women with our RED Theme for our 50th Anniversary RED - Relevant. Engaging. Dynamic.
Keesa will discuss her inspiring story of surviving a quintuple coronary artery bypass surgery and her path to maintaining heart health.
Keesa M. Smith, was born with ischemic heart disease but was unaware of this condition until she turned thirty and began training to run her first half marathon. After waking up with sharp chest pains, she underwent months of testing before being advised that she needed to have a bypass immediately as she was at risk for sudden death due to her heart abnormality.
Keesa underwent a quintuple coronary artery bypass surgery in August 2011. Thanks to the support of her family and friends, she returned to work full time in November 2011 and gained enough strength to participate in the Little Rock Marathon's 10K in March 2012. In March 2013, she completed the goal she was training for and completed her first Half Marathon. A year later, on March 2, 2014, Keesa completed the Full Little Rock Marathon while raising money and running for the American Heart Association.
Ms. Smith is a 2013 Central Arkansas Heart Association Survivor which gave her the opportunity to share her heart story along with nine other ladies. This opportunity has lead to Keesa being featured in various magazines and news stories and obtaining the chance to talk to groups about heart health and the importance of women making their health a priority
She currently serves as the Arkansas Department of Human Services Deputy Director for Youth and Families, overseeing all youth-related divisions. Before joining DHS, Keesa served as the Chairman of the Arkansas Board of Review after being appointed by Governor Mike Beebe in November 2011.
Keesa previously served on Beebe's communication and external affairs teams, as deputy legal counsel, liaison to the Public Service Commission, and State Implementation Director for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for Governor Beebe. In this role, she was responsible for ensuring that the stimulus funds allocated to the State of Arkansas were used in accordance with the federal mandates. Keesa is the first African American woman to hold the position of Deputy Legal Counsel to the Governor of Arkansas.
Prior to joining the Governor's Office, she served as staff attorney for the Center of Arkansas Legal Services. Keesa earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication with a concentration in public relations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2002 and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law in 2005. A North Carolina native.
She was also named one of Arkansas Business' 40 under 40 in 2013. She is the mother of Afiya, a sophomore nursing major, and Keesa is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, where she serves as the Risk Management Chair for Beta Pi Omega chapter.