The Chamber’s THRIVE initiative got straight to the heart of the matter Feb. 18, 2022 at an inspiring luncheon held at the Boston Marriott Peabody that ultimately served as a call to action for the businesses community.
Ashley Lucchese shared the life-altering story of the day her heart stopped without warning in 2017 at the age of 33. The young mother and former Salem resident went into cardiac arrest while at work at the Boston Marriott Peabody. She spent the next several days in a coma before defying the odds and regaining her life.
Ashley was joined in the program by Tara Bassett, the general manager of the Boston Peabody Marriott and a member of the North Shore Chamber Board of Directors. Tara performed CPR on Ashley after she collapsed and is credited with helping to save her life until paramedics arrived. What’s even more remarkable is Tara had just undergone CPR offered through her workplace just two days before Ashley collapsed.
Tara says she leads with the philosophy established by Mr. Marriott: “Take care of your associates and they will take care of the guests.” She promotes safety and well-being and ensures that her staff has the training and tools to do their jobs. The Peabody Marriott, she says, offers CPR training annually to all employees — in both English as well as a bilingual program. She urged business owners who are able to provide their staff with the same training opportunities.
Dr. Sohah N. Ikbal, chief of cardiology at Salem Hospital, offered steps that individuals can take to maintain heart health, which includes adopting an active lifestyle and healthy diet and maintaining routine medical care, and underscored the importance of CPR training for everyone.
Dr. Ikbal also stressed the importance of mindfulness and meditation. She led attendees in a breathing exercise and encouraged the group to incorporate the exercise into their daily routine.
After polling guests on whether they were CPR certified, Karen Andreas, president and CEO of the North Shore Chamber, said The Chamber would look to host a CPR training course for businesspeople and their employees. Andreas also said The Chamber would explore available resources to help equip businesses with automated external defibrillators, which are considered a key component of a safe workplace.
Ashley — who today lives in Westminster with her husband, Joe, and 6-year-old son, Connor, and works in global sales for Marriott— has also been on a quest to raise awareness of heart disease in women and the importance of CPR training in the workplace since her experience.
She has been an advocate and public speaker for the American Heart Association, and has run the Boston Marathon for Tedy’s Team, named after former New England Patriot Tedy Bruschi — all in an effort to help save lives. Her biggest lesson? “Live in the moment. Be grateful for what you have,” she says. “Life is short. Do things that make you happy and bring you joy.”
Mary Anne Clancy, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the Institution for Savings, co-chair of Thrive and a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, served as moderator for the program.
The Thrive luncheon was made possible through the generous support of Title Sponsors Windover Construction and the Institution for Savings, Presenting Sponsor AgeSpan and Supporting Sponsor Groom Construction.