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How long have you worked for the Red Cross?

I started with the Red Cross in September 2007 as an AmeriCorps
worker for the office in Kalamazoo, Michigan. AmeriCorps is kind of
like a domestic Peace Corps program; participants serve for a year at
one of thousands of nonprofit or government organizations, and I
helped out with almost all of our lines of service: Service to the
Armed Forces, Biomedical Services, Disaster Services, and Health and
Safety Services. I started full-time with Service to the Armed Forces in
September 2008: I was an Assistant Station Manager at Fort Carson,
Colorado and Camp Casey, Korea. After that, I was a Station Manager
at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and Landstuhl, Germany. In January 2015, I
moved to Washington, DC to start a new job as the Senior Associate
for Policy and Program Development at our National Headquarters.
So, overall, Ive been with the Red Cross for about 7.5 years!


I heard that you were developing and creating

programs and policies in your new job at Red Cross
headquarters in Washington DC. Can you tell me more about
your job?
I love my current job as Senior Associate for Policy and Program
Development. Until I came to DC, I was working out in the field, which
was great I got to work face-to-face with the people I helped, be on
the ground helping people, and it is a very fulfilling experience.
However, one of the frustrations of being in the field is sometimes the
policies and rules dont seem to make sense because theyre either
outdated or they were written by people who had good ideas and
intentions, but didnt necessarily know the reality of how programs
should/could be delivered out in the field.
In my current job, Im able to change that. Im working on creating
training for our emergency casework, presentations about the
military, Service to the Armed Forces, and I think Im currently
working on updating or writing about three or four different policies
on different services and programs. A cool experience I had last
month was helping the senior people in my department write and
prepare a presentation for the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Because of my background in English and Public Administration (as
well as that field experience!), I was able to come in almost-new and
do a good job putting that together to present to members of the
Senate. I also get to teach some of our new courses that were
developing Im going to be presenting our new Fundamentals of
Casework class at the end of May at a Training Institute in Oregon!


What made you want to do work for the Red Cross?

When I was growing up, I always wanted a job where I did good
stuff. I grew up in a medical family my dad was a PA and my mom
was an RN so I knew I didnt want a job where I worked with blood
and guts, but I loved the aspect that they were directly helping
people. When I graduated from college, I wasnt sure if I wanted to
continue my education or find a job. I was lucky I found a career
that I love. I didnt know much about the Red Cross before I started
there as an AmeriCorps, but I very quickly learned to truly believe in
the mission and the importance of the services we provide.


Do you think that the modern Red Cross follows in

Clara Bartons footsteps?
Interesting question the world has changed so much that Im not
sure if Clara Barton would recognize it! That being said, I think she
would see that the organization has continued to evolve to meet the
changing needs of the American people and military, and our focus
on delivering that mission has stayed the same. Quite literally, we do
follow in her footsteps, though we have served alongside the
American military during every conflict since the Spanish-American
War, something that she would have been proud of.

When I was researching Clara Barton, the three biggest goals that
she established for the Red Cross were disaster relief, safety, and
family notification during the war. Do you think that these things
are still the priority for the Red Cross today?
Absolutely. We are Congressionally-mandated as a Federal instrumentality to
deliver disaster relief as well as emergency notifications and other services
to our military and their families. I like to tell people that if the Red Cross did
nothing else, we would continue to provide disaster relief as well as services
to our military. Clara Barton was the Angel of the Battlefield during the Civil
War, and that legacy lives on. Recently, Ive had Red Cross friends deployed
to Djibouti, Afghanistan, and Kuwait, and before that to Iraq. You can turn on
the news and see that the Red Cross is still one of the primary disaster relief
organizations our goal is to provide immediate emergency relief and we
collaborate with other organizations and local, state, and federal
governments to provide complete disaster and emergency relief and
You can absolutely use my name and job title: Leah Barber, Senior Associate
for Policy and Program Development.