After she beat ovarian cancer, promoting health and wellness became the focus of Andrea Annese-Como’s professional life, and fundraising and advocacy on behalf of ovarian cancer research and awareness became her personal mission.
At work, she implemented a wellness program at Annese & Associates, the technology company with offices throughout New York State that she owned with her three sisters (including Yvonne Annese LoRe ’87). Her leadership in both wellness and corporate philanthropy helped the company – now known as Annese, a ConvergeOne Company – earn recognition as a top workplace in New York State, the Healthiest Employer in Central New York, and a spot on the Best and Brightest in Wellness list compiled by the National Association for Business Resources.
It’s been widely reported that corporate wellness programs lower health care costs, reduce employee sick days and increase productivity. At Annese, it helped attract and retain highly-qualified employees, too. “We strive to be an Employer of Choice,” said Annese-Como, “and go to great lengths to encourage healthy practices and work/life balance.” She described programming that supports a broad definition of wellness, spanning physical to financial health, including a weekly speaker series, reimbursement programs and worksite-wide challenges and contests. Service and philanthropy projects with non-profits like Ronald McDonald House Charities, the American Cancer Society and Elmcrest Children’s Center in Syracuse are also a point of pride for Annese-Como, and encourage a sense of connection among coworkers and with the community at large.
Outside of work, Annese-Como is active in state and local activities to increase awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms and raise funds for research. She is a former board member of Caring Together New York, a support and awareness group, and is dedicated to recruiting 100 runners and walkers to her team – “Team Lucky” – for the annual Teal Ribbon Run 5K in Albany in September. She also candidly shares her story at events and in the media statewide, and with medical and nursing students, including those at Russell Sage College. “As an Ovarian Cancer survivor, I realized very early on that I was one of the lucky ones,” she said of joining the Survivors Teaching Students program coordinated by the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance. “I felt the importance of sharing my story with students to make them aware of the early signs of ovarian cancer. The students can hear a few different survivor stories and hopefully they will remember this when they are caring for a patient. My passion is to educate as many students as I can.”
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Sage Sisters: “My sister Yvonne Annese LoRe went to Russell Sage as well. I came with her on her visit and I was immediately interested in attending Sage. I also liked the fact that it is a women’s college and I felt the city campus was completely different from my hometown [Herkimer, New York].”
Early Career: “I was a Marketing major with a minor in Economics. I did my internship at Ethan Allen and worked for them for a few years before I joined Annese & Associates. My Dad [the founder of Annese & Associates] always felt that it was important to have other work experiences.”
Learn MORE: September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Read about Andrea Annese-Como’s activities on behalf of ovarian cancer-related nonprofits at andreacomo.com and about the Teal Ribbon Run 5K caringtogetherny.org/2017-run-walk.