Making a Difference in Every Way - Michelle's Reasons for Serving
Michelle Harris is the board chair for the Omaha-Council Bluff Metro Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. She hopes that her experience with the Red Cross will encourage others to pursue opportunities as volunteers and board members.
What interested you in joining the Red Cross as a board member, and how long have you served on the board?
I have always been interested in the Red Cross and its mission, and I became interested in the board when I learned my company had representation on the local board. I was asked to join the Emerging Leaders of the Red Cross group at the time and that was a great stepping stone into the board. I’ve served for eight years.
What company or organization do you represent on the board, and why do you feel that representation is important?
At this point, I represent myself, but I do work for a company that matches my charitable contributions. However, in seeing the tremendous way our board represents a diverse footprint from organizations across the region, I find this representation instrumental in getting the Red Cross mission, volunteer engagement opportunities, financial donations to meet and oftentimes exceed our goals, as well as recognition for the Red Cross brand in our community.
What would you say to someone considering lending their time and talents to the Red Cross as a volunteer or board member?
I would say that the Red Cross is a phenomenal organization and with so many different volunteer opportunities. There is something that fits everyone’s season in life, skills and abilities. The board is engaging, well supported by the Red Cross, and a wonderful way to network and give back to our community. The ability to engage in something you’re passionate about and make a difference in every opportunity is what one can hope to gain from engagement with the Red Cross. Whether a volunteer or board member, there are opportunities to learn and enhance leadership skills that are transferable to all other aspects of life. The friendships built in the Red Cross community and the vast array of engagement opportunities are strong and vast.
How do you spend your free time?
I enjoy volunteering with the Red Cross as a Blood Donor Ambassador, helping with the fire alarm campaigns and I recently started helping with Volunteer Intake Screenings. I also love spending time with my family and friends and enjoy being near the water. I am an avid reader, like to golf and occasionally find time to binge watch my favorite shows on streaming apps.
What is a Red Cross moment that has stuck with you? Or, what does being a member of the Red Cross Board mean to you?
I have had the honor of experiencing many favorable Red Cross moments, but some of the most memorable come when working with staff at blood drives. There are so many good people in our community and it’s fun to get to know them! The Red Cross staff makes donating blood fun for our donors and I enjoy the comradery I’ve seen and been engaged in.
To learn more about how you can serve with the American Red Cross, visit redcross.org/volunteer.