Person of Interest & FemFocused Interviews

FemFocused: Be Well Philly Editor Mary Clare Fischer

Today, Philadelphia Magazine announced the top three finalists for its 2019 Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge. Each year, the city anticipates this announcement, and I’m sharing the three incredible women who are finalists!

Additionally, I’m excited to be interviewing the editor of Be Well Philly, Mary Clare Fischer.

If you’re not familiar with the Health Hero Challenge, it celebrates local advocates who are committed to making a difference and building a healthier Philadelphia. The public chooses the winner by voting for the health hero of their choice which, in return supports the continued health and wellness of Philly. 

There are quite a few aspects about this particular post that I enjoy:

  • Sharing information about three inspiring women who are giving back to the Philadelphia community.
  • From a journalistic standpoint, interviewing an editor at Philly Mag (AH).
  • Promoting something that supports local charities.
  • I have a personal connection with one of the finalists!
Mary Clare Fischer

Here are this year’s finalists! You can vote once a day, every day for your charity/hero through 11/15/19, and the grand prize package includes a $15,000 donation to the charity. Two runners up will receive a $2,500 donation to their charity.

Amanda Piccirilli-Hall, Ainsley’s Angels of America

Amanda is the Southeast Pennsylvania ambassador for Ainsley’s Angels, a nonprofit that pairs able-bodied runners with those who wouldn’t be able to complete an endurance race without assistance. 

Anne Wendel, PreserveFertility.org

Anne is the founder of PreserveFertility.org which is a nonprofit devoted to combating the costs of fertility preservation for cancer patients.

Caitlin Thompson, Little Bellas

Caitlin is the founder of the Philly Chapter of Little Bellas which is a mountain bike organization for girls ages seven to 16 whose goal is to help young women realize their potential through cycling.

Now that you’ve met the finalists, let’s meet Mary Clare…

Welcome to Positive Publicity, Mary Clare! We’re thrilled to have you here. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m from Michigan but have lived in four additional states since graduating from high school. I studied journalism and government and politics at the University of Maryland and have worked at a wide variety of publications, including newspapers, magazines, and websites. I spent almost five years as an editor at 5280, Denver’s city magazine and the Colorado equivalent of Philly Mag, before moving to Philadelphia in January to take over the health editor position here.

Can you describe your history with the Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge?

This is my first year running the Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge, and I’ve been so impressed with the diversity and passion of those nominated and at how many people are working to make the Philadelphia region a healthier place.

What is the process is like for selecting the Health Heros? What do you look for in a potential Health Hero? 

The public nominates the Health Heroes — anyone who lives in Pennsylvania, Delaware, or New Jersey who’s improving the well-being of their communities in some way. They don’t have to work for a non-profit, but they do have to select a non-profit that they’d like our award to go to if they win. We’re looking for innovation/creativity, enthusiasm, mission, and other characteristics that make this person a role model in the healthy living space.

From that pool, we choose ten semifinalists and allow the public to vote on who they think should move on to the next round. The top three finalists then compete in a second round of voting, which we kicked off on November 1st, for a $15,000 grand prize donation to the charity of their choice. The two who don’t win receive $2,500 each.

Why is this Challenge so important to the city?

The Health Hero Challenge gives people the opportunity to learn about everyday heroes — people who aren’t celebrities and don’t have a ton of name recognition, even in their own communities. They’re doing the hard work on the ground to build a movement and reach more folks, so they deserve a lot more publicity, and we’re thrilled to be able to make that happen and share their stories with our readers.

I promise I’m not asking you to pick a favorite, but is there a particular past Be Well Philly Health Hero winner who really sticks out for you? If so, why? 

I’m not falling into that trap! Every year, our Be Well Philly Health Heroes live up to the standards we set the year before — they’re always driven, altruistic, and eager to help more and more people live healthier lives. I’m proud of all of them.

Finally, how can people vote? 

People can vote for the winner once a day, every day, through November 15th at https://www.phillymag.com/health-hero-2019/

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