South Florida technology evangelist drives equitable health as American Heart Association Leaders of Impact winner

Published by the American Heart Association on Dec 13, 2023.


The American Heart Association recognizes local changemaker as champion for improving health across the community

Lenny Chesal

HOLLYWOOD, December 13, 2023 – Lenny Chesal, driven by a commitment to make a difference in one person’s life each and every day following his sudden cardiac arrest last year, has been named the American Heart Association South Florida 2023 Leaders of Impact winner for his work in driving equitable health. Over the course of seven weeks, Chesal participated in a blind fundraising competition against seven other South Florida professionals. He was named the 2023 Leaders of Impact winner after raising the most funds for research and development to prevent and treat heart disease.

Lenny serves as the Chief Evangelist at iM Critical, he joined the American Heart Association’s National Leaders of Impact initiative to raise awareness of heart health, the lifesaving skill of CPR, and ubiquitous AED placement. 

“We’re so grateful for Lenny’s commitment to the mission as a survivor himself,” said Marisol Garcia, executive director of the American Heart Association’s Greater-Miami and Fort Lauderdale market. “His hard work and dedication to this campaign exemplifies the passion he has towards making an impact and saving lives right here in South Florida. We celebrate and congratulate Lenny!”

In South Florida, life expectancy varies by up to 30 years,[1] which can often be caused by the social determinants of health and the barriers to achieving health equity for all communities — factors that include structural racism[2] and lacking access to quality healthcare[3].

“Being the Leader of Impact winner means continuing my journey of highlighting the importance of heart health and awareness,” said Lenny Chesal. “Don’t ignore the signs and learn CPR. It saved my life!”

The American Heart Association, devoted to a world of healthier lives for all, has invested in community health, innovative research and bold initiatives that save and improve lives. Funds raised through Leaders of Impact will support the Association’s 2024 Impact Goal which aims to advance cardiovascular health for all including identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality. In South Florida the Association is specifically focused on women’s heart health, nutrition security for all, and empowering communities with the life-saving skill of Hands Only CPR. The local priorities are Community Readiness, i.e., training the community in the lifesaving skill of Hands-Only CPR, tackling Nutrition Security by providing access to fresh, heart-healthy foods in under-resourced communities, and Patient Care which targets blood press control.

Leaders of Impact launched on Sept. 29, World Heart Day in 150 cities across the nation and culminated on Nov. 15, National Philanthropy Day. Each nominee’s participation focused on opportunities to be a changemaker with a shared purpose to raise the critical awareness, action and fund the mission of the American Heart Association.

Other local nominees included:  

  • Angela Bivins, Executive Assistant, Jackson Memorial Hospital
  • Kenneth Hernandez, Project Manager, B&I Contractors
  • Manish Hirapara, CEO, Peak Activity
  • Milena Robison, Sales Execution, Northwestern Mutual
  • Naim Dahdah, M.D., Founder, DCLINIK
  • Ross Calvert, Vice President, CUNDY, Inc.
  • Venessa S. Goodnow, AVP & Chief Pharmacy Officer, Jackson Health System

Leaders of Impact is held annually as a part of the South Florida Heart Ball. The Heart Ball will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2024, at The Diplomat Beach Resort.  This year’s event will celebrate 100 years of the American Heart Association as a relentless force for longer, healthier lives. The 2024 Heart Ball Chairs, Andrew & Deana Koenig of CITY Furniture will honor the collective impact of the 2023 Leaders of Impact nominees of South Florida, while recognizing Lenny Chesal as South Florida’s Leaders of Impact winner amongst South Florida’s top community leaders!

For more information about Leaders of Impact and a list of all the 2023 nominees, visit www.heart.org/sflheartball.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries: Christina Vitale:  [email protected]                                                  

heart.org and stroke.org


[1] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data-visualization/life-expectancy/

[2] https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000936

[3] https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000753


This article was originally published at heart.org