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Marsha Johnson  

Marsha Johnson Evans became President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross on August 5, 2002.

As President and CEO, Evans lead an organization that in 2005 assisted the victims of more than 70,000 natural and human-caused disasters, from single family fires to large-scale events such as hurricanes, floods, or acts of terrorism; collected and processed 7.2 million blood donations, nearly half the nation's blood supply; trained almost 12 million people in lifesaving skills such as first aid and CPR; transmitted 14 million emergency messages for more than half a million military families; and responded to international humanitarian emergencies such as unsafe, non-potable water, mass starvation, and life-threatening diseases such as measles.          

Evans has an impressive array of experience including her position at the Red Cross - not the least of which is a 29-year career with the U.S. Navy. As a Navy officer, Evans held a variety of command positions overseeing multi-million dollar budgets and thousands of employees. Between 1993 and 1995, she led the Navy Recruiting Command. With more than 6,000 employees in 1,200 locations, she was responsible for recruiting some 70,000 officers and enlisted personnel annually. She served as superintendent of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where she led an effort to restructure and adapt educational programs to better meet demands on incoming officers. She also held the position of chief of staff at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland and commanding officer of the Treasure Island Naval Station, where she directed Navy personnel and civilians in support of Navy operating forces and families in the San Francisco Bay Area. After an extremely successful career, she retired in 1998 as a rear admiral; one of very few women to reach this rank.          

Assuming the top staff position at the Girl Scouts of the USA in January 1998, a natural continuation of her efforts to expand professional roles of women in the Navy, Evans labored to offer young women meaningful programs, both personally and professionally. Under her leadership, the Girl Scouts created or expanded cutting-edge programs to enhance girls' knowledge of science, technology, sports, money management, and community service. Spearheading efforts to update the Girl Scouts' image and change recruiting practices, Evans presided over a substantial increase in the number of adult volunteers. At a time when many charities reported a dramatic decline in their volunteer ranks, the Girl Scouts increased their numbers to nearly one million adults, the highest in the organization's history, with corresponding increases in young members.          

With her rich background, Evans is no stranger to issues facing the Red Cross and scores of other nonprofit organizations, among them, the need to recruit volunteers and employees from diverse backgrounds. She has championed the development and implementation of the Red Cross Diversity Business Model, and incorporated diversity into the Red Cross strategic plan as an organizational priority. To this end, she has led the charge to create programs and establish business practices that are inclusive of all populations.            

While at the Red Cross, Evans saw the need for strong, exponential growth. With the input of over 6,000 Red Crossers, community leaders, and other stakeholders from across the country, she developed the 2003 Strategic Plan. This innovative plan is aimed at focusing Red Cross resources on the programs and services communities need most. Additionally, Evans led the Red Cross in implementing a bold, new initiative, Together We Prepare. With five simple steps - make a plan, build a kit, get trained, give blood, and volunteer - this initiative empowers Americans of all ages to prepare themselves, their homes, schools, businesses, and neighborhoods for the unexpected.                

Throughout her career, Evans has received various honors, awards, and accolades. Most recently, Evans was presented the 2003 American Women Award from the Women's Research and Education Institute, as well as named a 2003 Woman of Distinction, adding her name to a roster of distinguished past recipients, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Phyllis George. A 1979-80 White House Fellow, Evans was also awarded the prestigious 2002 John W. Gardner Legacy of Leadership Award by the White House Fellows Association.  

"Marty," as she is known to friends and colleagues, grew up in Springfield, Illinois, the daughter of a Navy chief petty officer. She entered the Navy immediately after graduating from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a B.A. in Law and Diplomacy. Some years later, the Navy provided her with the opportunity to earn a Master's Degree in International Security at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Her degree was supplemented by additional studies at the National War College in Washington, D.C., and the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.          

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.


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