WeSalute Awards

HeroVet: Rear Admiral Marsha J. Evans (U.S. Navy, Ret'd), President and CEO, American Red Cross

Marsha Evans

As President and Chief Executive Officer of The American Red Cross (ARC), Retired Admiral Marsha J. Evans leads this unique, global life-saving organization with the experience and expertise drawn from three decades of service to her country.

The sheer scale of Admiral Evans’ job and the reach and influence of the organization she leads are extraordinary. Roughly one month after the unparalleled natural disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a surge of donations--from families, groups, charities and Corporate America--has enabled the ARC to spend or commit more than $1.2 billion in relief efforts, expected to top the $2 billion mark.

During this period, the ARC mobilized more than 174,000 disaster relief volunteers and staff in the relief effort.

And last year alone, the ARC, with Admiral Evans at the helm, assisted the victims of more than 70,000 natural- and human-caused disasters, from single-family fires to large-scale events including acts of terrorism; collected almost 6.5 million units of blood; trained more than 11 million people in lifesaving skills such as first aid and CPR; helped thousands of U.S. service members separated from their families by military duty stay connected; responded to humanitarian emergencies including four back-to-back hurricanes in the U.S. and a devastating tsunami in South Asia; and initiated the Measles Initiative, a health intervention campaign to eradicate measles deaths in Africa.

These accomplishments reflect Admiral Evans’s capable leadership. For her, however, leading this organization has always been about "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 when she first accepted the position in 2002. "The answer is, quite simply, service."

"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 added.

Since it’s founding in 1881 by visionary leader Clara Barton, the American Red Cross has been become synonymous with helping those in great need amid peril—from comforting countless GIs and Americans through wars, economic depression, natural tragedies, and terrorism. With an annual operating budget of $3.4 billion, the Red Cross serves a range of life saving roles for millions of Americans, from helping victims of disasters, to teaching safety-preparedness and lifesaving skills, to processing nearly half the nation’s blood supply.

"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 Board of Governors - said in a press conference announcing her 2002 appointment as the ARC’s 13th president and CEO. "Her skill and experience are a perfect match for this agenda."

A Lifetime Of Leadership
Evans grew up in Springfield, Illinois, the daughter of a Navy chief petty officer. In 1968, she graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles and was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy. As a Naval officer, Evans held a variety of command positions overseeing multi-million dollar budgets and hundreds of thousands of employees. While in the Navy, she served as a White House Fellow from 1979 - 1980, where she worked at the U.S. Department of Treasury. She retired as a Rear Admiral after 29 years of service.

During her career with the United States Navy, Evans distinguished herself as one of only a handful of women to reach the honored rank of rear admiral, and gained a reputation for forging new ground for women in the military. She led the Navy Recruiting Command, where she managed 6,000 employees in 1,200 locations and recruited more than 70,000 officers and enlisted personnel annually. She also held top positions at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD; and the Treasure Island Naval Station in the San Francisco Bay Area. Evans retired in 1998 as a rear admiral.

Assuming the role of National Executive Director of Girls Scouts of the USA in 1998, she transformed the Girl Scouts from its traditional focus to an organization that testifies before the U.S. Congress to end violence against adolescent girls, awards global service badges, teaches girls how to use technology, and supports mentoring programs to prepare young women for professional endeavors. She herself was a Girl Scout, and received the rank of Curved Bar - the highest achievement in scouting at that time.

Evans currently sits on the corporate boards of The May Department Stores Company, Weight Watchers International, and Lehman Brothers Holdings. She is a presidential appointee to the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Military Academy.

Evans, who counts skiing and golfing among her hobbies, has traveled the world, residing in such cities as Tokyo and London. She lives with her husband, Jerry Evans, a retired Navy jet pilot in the Washington, DC area.

Image Credit: https://alchetron.com/Marsha-J-Evans

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