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Tufts Grad To Head Red Cross

Tufts Grad To Head Red CrossTrailblazing Navy veteran Marsha Johnson Evans will leave her post as Girl Scouts executive director to join international humanitarian organization. Washington, D.C.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [06.27.02] Marsha Johnson Evans is a trailblazer. During her 29-year career in the U.S. Navy, she became just the second woman to earn the rank of Rear Admiral and the first to command an American Navy base. And as executive director of the Girl Scouts, she increased the organizations' membership by 2.8 million. On Thursday, the American Red Cross named the accomplished Fletcher graduate as its 13th president and CEO.

"Marty brings a career of leadership and accomplishment that makes her the ideal person to lead the red Cross in this era when the public's expectations of our institutions have never been higher -- and the concept of disaster preparedness is being revised to reflect the 9/11 scenario," David McLaughlin - chair of the Red Cross Boad of Governors - said in a press conference on Thursday afternoon. "Her skill and experience are a perfect match for this agenda."

[Watch the American Red Cross Press Conference]

For Evans -- who earned a masters degree in international security at Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy -- the new post is a continuation of her long career in public service.

"Today many people may be asking themselves why someone who has already completed a military career and several more years with the Girl Scouts would want to take on the challenge of this role," she said. "The answer is, quite simply, service."

And joining the American Red Cross, Evans said, offers a chance to help lead one of the top service organizations in the world.

"Delivering the disaster, health and safety, and other life saving services that Americans look to their Red Cross to provide is the highest calling and most noble cause I can imagine," she said.

The job is not without its challenges.

"On the one hand, we need to motivate Americans to donate their time and their treasure, which is never easy, but always comes down to whether they trust an organization and believe in its work," Evans said during the press conference. "One the other hand, we face a host of challenges including the need to better prepare this nation for disasters both natural and man-made; as well as the rigors of furnishing a safe and available blood supply with all the costs and complexity this involves."

And to do that, Evans will need to ensure that the Red Cross has a steady stream of people who want to serve.

It's a familiar role for the former head of the Navy Recruiting Command.

During her tenure in that post, Evans was responsible for the recruitment of 70,000 officers and enlisted personnel each year.

While head of the Girl Scouts, Evans also proved her ability to attract new recruits. Girl Scout membership increased by nearly 3 million under Evans' leadership, while the number of adult volunteers rose by over a million.

When the Tufts graduate takes office on August 5, she said she will work to strengthen the public's perception of the American Red Cross - which faced criticism following the distribution of relief funds to the families of World Trade Center victims.

But Evans says the organization has a strong foundation within the American public.

"[There is an] enormous reservoir of trust" for the Red Cross, she told the Associated Press. "We have to continuously add to that trust account on a day-by-day basis."


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