Tell us a little bit about yourself (where you work, hobbies, background).
I have worked in the public health sector my entire 23-year career. Since graduating from Northern Illinois University in the late 90s, I have worked for local public health departments, non-profit hospitals, the American Cancer Society and now, the American Heart Association. For the past 9 years I have worked for the American Heart Association and I truly love working for a deeply mission based organization that is dedicated to improving the health of our communities. As I was trying to find my “perfect” job, I thought for sure I was going to be a nurse, but it turns out I am quite queasy around blood and needles. I also explored becoming a teacher. I think my career path has been a perfect combination of the two.
Tell us a little bit about your family (spouse, children, grandchildren, pets, etc.).
I grew up in central Illinois outside of Springfield and met my husband Bob at a community college we both attended. We have been married 21 years and have 3 children. My oldest is a freshman at Mizzou and I have two at home, a freshman in high school and an 8th grader. We are an active family. Each of my kids plays at least one sport and if we aren’t pacing the sidelines at their games, we love to go to other games — Cardinals, Blues, Mizzou, or the Illini keep us busy.
Tell us some fun facts about yourself.
Unfortunately for my bank account, I am a huge Disney fan. My parents treated us to annual trips to Disney World every Christmas and I have carried on the tradition with my family. My youngest made her first trip as an infant and we have been going as often as we can for many years.
I also love Christmas! And I unapologetically start decorating for Christmas as soon as I close the door for the last Halloween trick or treater. I just love the joy of the season and want it to last as long as my family will allow.
Creamy or Crunchy?
What is your dream vacation destination?
I have been dreaming of a trip to Italy and it would be ideal to be immersed in the culture for weeks or months. I have been trying to learn Italian to be prepared.
What is your favorite sports team?
Besides the ones my kids are on? That is pretty easy. We are St. Louis Cardinals fans in our house. This was a tough conversation to have with my father, a diehard Cubs fan.
What your favorite book?
I love to read, so there are too many to pick from. In recent years, my favorite thing has been reading books that my kids are reading. Right now, my daughter and I are reading Harry Potter and re-watching the movies.
What your favorite movie or TV show?
This is a tough one, I really like most movies and TV shows. I like to be entertained by most anything except horror or scary movies. If I had to pick a favorite though, it would be any Hallmark Christmas movie. Again, I love anything Christmas!
What is your go to healthy habit?
I have been an athlete all my life and I played softball through college. I don’t like to exercise, but I do love playing sports. My boys have been teaching me lacrosse, which it turns out is harder than softball. I think I will stick with my right fielder position. Just recently I was introduced to yoga and I am excited to work on that as the weather turns colder.
How do you partner with Community Strong?
Community Strong and the American Heart Association have the same mission of making St. Charles County healthier. We align together in the chronic disease and workplace wellness strategies.
Why is it important to you to partner with Community Strong?
I love partnering with organizations that share the mission of the AHA and those that are rooted in the community. I also love that collaboration is a large part of my job. We won’t have an impact on the health of our communities unless we work together and Community Strong has already shown great successes as a young organization.
How do you hope to impact St. Charles County through your partnership with Community Strong?
I hope the resources of the American Heart Association coupled with Community Strong partners will lead to lasting impact. We are all striving to support our neighbors in making healthy choices for optimal health. Together, we can be a strong catalyst for change.
What have you learned about yourself through partnering with Community Strong?
Working with Community Strong has allowed my personal and professional goals to merge. As a resident of St. Charles County, I want to help create positive change where I live, pray, and play. Working for the American Heart Association and getting paid to collaborate with great organizations like Community Strong and other coalition partners is a great bonus!
If you could encourage someone else to partner with Community Strong, what would you say?
Partnering with Community Strong allows you to be a part of a larger collective to impact change. Each organization and individual have unique strengths and assets to bring to the table. Maximizing each other’s strengths will get us to the finish line faster.
Meet Rachelle Bartnick