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Watch Me: Cheree Johnson, McCormick and Company Inc.

As part of the 25th Anniversary of Top 100 Women, The Daily Record is supporting the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign.

Cheree’ H. Johnson

Cheree’ H. Johnson

Cheree Johnson
Deputy General Counsel with McCormick and Company Inc.
American Heart Association

As a corporate lawyer for McCormick and Company Inc., I live and die by my calendar. I am a wife and mother of two beautiful children. To say we lead busy lives and are running in all different directions is an understatement, so our family calendar is also important to us. If it isn’t on our calendar, it isn’t important. I think we are like a lot of families who rely on our calendars and are trying to find 30 minutes to stay connected with each other. It is also important that I find time for myself, whether it’s meditating or exercising or staying connected with my husband.

On Aug. 24, 2018, my life changed forever. About nine months before that day, I was experiencing chest pain, normally at night. It would be so severe it would wake me up. I went to my primary care doctor, and she took all my vitals, she looked at my height, weight, my body type and told me I was OK. She told me it was probably stress and sent me on my way. I ate a healthy diet, I exercised, I was not what was considered to be a part of the at-risk population for a heart attack. Even though she reassured me I was OK, I knew something wasn’t right. But I trusted my doctor and continued to live my busy life.

On Aug. 24 I experienced chest pains during the day — this time not just at night — and they only progressively became worse, which led my husband to call the paramedics. I had a heart attack. I had been having a heart attack for about 18 hours that day. Had I arrived at the hospital 30 minutes later … I would not be here today to share my story.

I realized even with all my training and education I was still ignorant of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. I didn’t know that a heart attack can affect men and women differently.

Today, I am passionate about sharing my story and encouraging, not just women, but everyone to listen to their bodies and advocate with their health care providers when they know something isn’t right. I am passionate about encouraging people to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. I am also passionate about spending 30 minutes on my health. We are in a place in history where we are all at home, and it is so important to continue to prioritize your time. We still live and die by our calendars; it may look a little different now during a pandemic, but we make time to have lunch together as a family, exercise and meditate.

What does 30 minutes mean to you?

For more information on signs and symptoms of heart attacks in women visit: https://www.goredforwomen.org/en

To learn more about the Go Red for Women Movement here in Maryland visit: https://ahabaltimore.ejoinme.org/MyEvents/20192020BaltimoreGoRedLuncheon/tabid/1072841/Default.aspx

Women Who Lead This article is featured in The Daily Record’s Women Who Lead: A Woman’s Guide To Business. The mission of the Women Who Lead (formerly Path to Excellence) magazine is to give our readers the opportunity to meet successful women of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs and learn how they define success. Read more from Women Who Lead.

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