Organization: The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest!

About The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:

The American Red Cross mobilizes people to help their neighbors – down the street, across the country and around the world – in times of emergency. The mission of the American Red Cross is to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. Founded by the visionary leader Clara Barton, for more than 130 years the American Red Cross has been there to help people at the moment of their greatest need.

The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves more than 9.5 million people in 21 counties in northern Illinois and responds to more than 1,200 local disasters annually, mostly home fires which occur an average of 3-4 times daily. This region is divided into three chapters—Greater Chicago, Southwest Suburbs, and Northwest Illinois. The Greater Chicago Chapter celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015.

The American Red Cross delivers on its mission through five lines of service:

Disaster Cycle Services: The Red Cross seeks to help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to natural and human-caused disasters. Between 2003 and 2012, 21 million people were affected by disasters, four times the number of people in the prior decade. The Red Cross provides support through the immediate mobilization of people and resources and also plays a role in helping communities recover from disaster. Each and every day, the Red Cross works with partners to develop and test disaster plans, provides school and community based education to prevent and mitigate the effects of disasters, and installs smoke alarms to help prevent death and injuries from home fires. This new smoke alarm installation program aims to reduce fatalities from home fires by 25% nationally over the next several years.

Services to the Armed Forces: The Red Cross also provides support to the Armed Services, working to assist service men and women, their families, and veterans. Whether it is connecting families to their loved ones overseas or providing counseling upon return, the Red Cross provides a strong support network to these groups.

International Services: As a member of the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the largest humanitarian network in the world, the network has unparalleled access to cities villages and rural communities around the world. With more than 189 country societies and 17 million volunteers, together these partners around the globe respond to disasters, build safer communities, prevent diseases such as measles, and educate future humanitarians. Within the United States, the American Red Cross reconnects families separated by war and disaster internationally, and also educates future humanitarians.

Health & Safety: The Red Cross prepares communities by teaching swimming, First Aid/CPR, and other health and safety lessons for children and adults, both directly and via a “train the trainer” model. Programs focus on making all information and materials as accessible as possible through different medias, such as cell phone applications. These applications feature first aid tips, information on where to find the closest disaster shelter, and warnings to alert of a tornado or other serious weather threat.

Blood Services: The Red Cross also leads a tremendous part of blood collection efforts nationally, providing nearly 40% of the nation’s blood supply. In the United States, someone requires blood every two seconds and with every blood donation there is the chance to save up to three lives.

With more than 95% of the Red Cross workforce comprised of volunteers, the American Red Cross is in large part a volunteer organization. The American Red Cross is a non-profit organization chartered by federal statute. It carries certain responsibilities assigned to it under federal law. It is not a government instrumentality or funded by government. Its humanitarian work is supported by the generosity of donors.

For more information on the Red Cross of Greater Chicago & Northern Illinois please visit:

The Opportunity:

The CEO of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois is the chief executive of the Red Cross in Northern Illinois, and is responsible for representing the American Red Cross in the community. The CEO will focus on core mission delivery, fundraising, and being the face of the Red Cross for the media, donors and their communities.

The CEO has oversight of the following lines of business for the Red Cross service in Northern Illinois: Disaster Cycle Services, Services to the Armed Forces, and International Services, as well as fundraising, volunteer resources and external relations for the Red Cross in the region.,. S/he manages the community resilience programs, which include working with community partners to ensure that communities build local capacity to prepare for, prevent, respond and recover from disasters. Additionally, the CEO ensures that youth and young adults and other volunteers, are recruited engaged and retained in order to meet service delivery plans.

The CEO is accountable for achieving performance targets for the Region, including service delivery, fundraising/revenue and expense targets. In conjunction with the Division Fundraising Vice President, the CEO has primary responsibility across the region for achievement of fundraising goals. The CEO partners with executives in the Blood Services and Preparedness, Health and Safety business units to increase blood collections, maintain hospital relationships, and sell classes that teach life-saving skills to corporate partners and individuals. S/he also is responsible for partnering and supporting the local Board of Directors and maintaining all Red Cross real estate in Northern Illinois (currently 11 sites).

The CEO serves as a member of the Division leadership team, supporting and contributing to Division goals and activities. The region’s fundraising goals comprise 21% of the Division’s fundraising goals for FY2016. S/he utilizes the support activities of HR, IT, Finance, Communications and Marketing through the national organization.

On a fundamental level, the CEO will have the following responsibilities.

  • Maximizing the Red Cross Presence in the Community;
  • Developing and Growing Financial Revenue/Resources;
  • Leading Change Effectively;
  • Management and Accountability;
  • Leading the Chicago and Northern Illinois region as a visionary; and
  • Demonstrating Red Cross Organizational Citizenship.

Candidate Profile:

The ideal candidate will have the following personal competencies and characteristics:

A Strong Ambassador for the American Red Cross: The CEO will be a high-energy, charismatic leader who will serve as an ‘Ambassador’ for the Red Cross, sharing the mission and vision with a range of constituents and helping to expand the role of the Red Cross and an understanding of its brand The CEO will have exceptional interpersonal skills with the ability to build and sustain strong support across a wide range of stakeholders including staff, volunteers, Board, the national organization, donors and the public. S/he will be politically astute and attuned with an appealing, mission-driven presence.

An Exceptional Fundraiser: The CEO will work in close collaboration with the Board, staff and national organization to identify, approach and cultivate donors who share the strategic priorities of the Red Cross. The CEO will have a proven background in building assets coupled with a deep understanding that fundraising and the development of partnerships are fundamental responsibilities. The CEO will inspire, broaden and deepen support from donors in order to maximize the impact of the Red Cross. The CEO will have an appealing and confident demeanor enabling him or her to represent the Red Cross with a range of donors, including corporate leaders, high-net-worth individuals, Red Cross volunteers and the general public.

A Relationship Builder and Communicator: The next CEO will be a collaborative leader who is comfortable building relationships and promoting the Red Cross throughout and well beyond Chicago, both regionally and nationally. S/he will actively and strategically seek partnerships and build coalitions with government and community partners and leaders on behalf of the strategic vision of the Red Cross. An understanding of how to lead through influence in a matrixed internal environment, as well as with complex external constituencies, will be a critical skill.

Executing for Results: This leader will be skilled at upholding the Chicago region’s reputation for high performance and accountability for results. S/he will effectively lead a performance-driven team that is one of the top performing chapters in the Red Cross and the source for innovation and fresh ideas on top quality execution. The CEO will lead the regional Red Cross team to success with mission delivery and fundraising while successfully working with larger, matrixed structure.

A Passion for the Mission: The CEO will have a genuine passion for the mission of the Red Cross and fundamentally, for helping residents of the Chicago region. S/he will be deeply motivated to expand the reach of the Red Cross in Chicago and well beyond. The CEO will treat others with respect and be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation. Reflecting their deep commitment to the mission, this leader will approach the role with a blend of authenticity, confidence and humility.

A Bachelor’s degree is required, an advanced degree preferred.


Koya Leadership Partners has been exclusively retained for this search. This search is being led by Alison P. Ranney and Alexandra N. Corvin.

To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials through Koya’s online link: or email Alison and Alex directly at

All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit: