When it comes to sharing an inspiring message about breast and ovarian cancer prevention, education and overall health, there is no one better than the Bright Pink® team! Today, Bright Pink’s Community Engagement Manager Jenn Zwillenberg and Paul Mitchell The School owner and Bright Pink Education Ambassador Tina Black are taking over our blog to talk about what it means to be Bright Pink and spread a message of proactive health to the Paul Mitchell community. Learn more about each of their journeys and tips for being proactive with your own health, as they PINK OUT LOUD. Take it away Jenn and Tina!
JENN: Tina! I’m so excited to be doing this with you. When you applied to be a Bright Pink Education Ambassador through your connection to Paul Mitchell® we were thrilled. You’ve been a shining example of what it means to be Bright Pink and share our life-saving education with the Paul Mitchell communities.What makes you so passionate about Bright Pink?
TINA: Hi Jenn! It’s so fun to share this opportunity with you as well. When I met you and Lindsay Avner (the founder of Bright Pink) at FitFest Chicago, you both made it more comfortable to talk about health. Through Bright Pink I learned so much and felt so blessed╌I was given a second chance [after being diagnosed with precancerous lesions on my uterus] for a reason: to help others save their own lives from breast and ovarian cancer. I knew the information I received from Bright Pink was going to help me save lives. I am so proud of what Bright Pink is doing. In fact, I'm sitting here with goose bumps thinking about what Bright Pink and the Education Ambassadors get to do!
JENN: We love to hear that, Tina!
TINA: It’s an honor to spread your message. We’ve been connected for some time now, but will you share how you got your start with Bright Pink with everyone else? What drew you to the organization?
JENN: Growing up in a family with a long history of cancer I always feared not if, but when it would strike the people closest to me. My grandmother had cancer in her 50s and was in remission for more than 40 years. She passed away at the age of 93 in February 2013. As I dealt with losing someone so close to me, I searched for a way to honor her legacy and empower the women in my family who were impacted by her cancer history. And in this search, I found Bright Pink. I love the way Bright Pink puts the power in each individual’s hands to save their own life. It isn’t about relying solely on your doctor or leaving it up to chance, it’s about a holistic and strategic approach to your health management and Bright Pink has the right tools and the right approach.
TINA: Sounds like Bright Pink was the perfect place for you to end up.If you had to choose, what is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
JENN: Getting to see the impact our programs have on women. Knowing that our life-saving education is truly life-saving is immensely rewarding. We get messages daily about how our resources have made the difference for so many people, whether it’s helping a medical provider better care for their young patients or empowering a young woman to dig into her family’s health history. The impact is real and it’s so very important.
TINA: Again, I have goosebumps. The Bright Pink message is so powerful!
JENN: It’s really is! Given that you’ve now become a Bright Pink Ambassador for Paul Mitchell Schools, Why do you think it’s so important for all Paul Mitchell future professionals to be educated about their breast and ovarian health?
TINA: I have over 300 future professionals in my three schools at any given time, and I can tell you that they want this information. You should have seen it; their jaws dropped when I started to educate them on breast and ovarian cancer prevention and detection. Like me, no one had taught them this information╌not in the school system, not from other cancer non-profits, not even from their doctors or women's wellness centers. Any chance that I can educate them on their health and help improve their overall well-being, I take.
JENN: I love to hear that your students are glad to receive this kind of education. It is so rewarding to spread this message and empower women to live healthy lives.
TINA: Absolutely. When women ask you how they can adopt a proactive approach to their health, what simple first step do you recommend they take?
JENN: The first step to managing your breast and ovarian cancer risk is knowing your risk. So I encourage women to gather their family history and to visit AssessYourRisk.org to understand their risk for developing these diseases. You’re familiar with these tools since you’re a proud Bright Pink Education Ambassador! I have to ask: What is your favorite part about The Brighten Up® Educational Workshop?
TINA: During the Brighten Up workshop we talk about knowing your normal. This section of education really hit home for me. I'm 50 years old and I finally know my normal! For years, I rarely performed my own breast exams and I never knew what normal felt like with my ovaries. I never felt comfortable talking about menstrual changes or the like. I'd always been private about these topics, like many women. Asking the question "Do you know your normal?" empowered me to be honest with myself and say, "No, I don’t" and then go down the path of education. The more I opened up and was honest with myself and others, the more I saw others doing the same with a sense of relief. These workshops are the #1 way to empower women to talk about what was considered private matters and then take action!
JENN: Wow, I love to hear that the Brighten Up has given you and the people around you a sense of ownership of your own health. That’s an amazing aspect of your journey personally and as a Bright Pink ambassador.
TINA: Thanks, Jenn! I agree. When it comes to taking your health by the reigns, how do you proactively support your own health and well-being?
JENN: I am a workout class addict! I love new and kooky fitness classes. Half of the Bright Pink team works out together when we can! I am also mindful about what I eat╌French fries are still a weakness╌ but I think it’s all about moderation. I make an effort to make healthy choices each day to manage my health. I also never miss my annual well woman’s exam!
TINA: Those are great tips, especially since they are relatively easy to put into practice. Before we wrap up, I have to ask you a question true to the Paul Mitchell culture:How do you live beautifully?
JENN: Bright Pink helps me live beautifully each and every day. If you can wake up and do something to better your community and the people you know (even the people you don’t know!), that’s a pretty beautiful life! Getting to work with companies like Paul Mitchell and individuals like you is a blessing. It’s so clear that you have a true calling as a leader in the Paul Mitchell Community and for Bright Pink. Have you always wanted to be a salon owner? What would you do if you weren’t with Paul Mitchell?
TINA: That’s a hard one.This isn't like any other company you have seen; it's more of a movement or a revolution than it is a school or a business. As I mentioned I have this heart for our students across the nation; it was like I was put on Earth to help serve them and add value to their lives. I will always be with Paul Mitchell, so I don't believe anything else will ever be an option. I bleed black and white!
JENN: I love your devotion! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me today. It was so fun to hear more about how you put the Bright Pink message to work in your community.
TINA: Same to you, Jenn! It’s always great to spend time with the Bright Pink team and celebrate the PINK OUT LOUD campaign!