MY TOP TEN REASONS WHY GAIL MCGOVERN ROCKS
10. Because she likes to be called Gail. I know of at least three people that were (very politely) corrected when they called her “Ma’am” or “Ms. President.” Folks, she’s Gail. Don’t forget it.
9. Because she doesn’t have “post-purchase cognitive dissonance,” more commonly known as buyer’s remorse. She says that she has no regrets whatsoever about leaving the world of for-profit corporations and educational institutions to come to the American Red Cross. Actually, she wasn’t even recruited for the job…exactly. She was being recruited for an entirely different position, but the Red Cross opening came up in conversation. She asked for more information, expressed interest and then pursued it herself.
8. Because she compared the Red Cross to Barack Obama. No, this isn’t in violation of our principles of neutrality and impartiality. But Gail talked about how Obama went from an unknown three years ago to now raising $25 million a week, with average donations of $100. His campaign is marked by “special moments,” which the Red Cross is filled with. If he can do it, so can we.
7. Because she’d take the blood of a veteran. While she knows that the eligibility guidelines (the majority of which are set by the FDA) are what keep our blood supply safe, she was personally moved by a Blood Services employee who was a veteran and wasn’t able to donate. Gail said that, if she ever needed blood herself, she’d come and take his.
6. Because of her art collection. Gail told a story about her visit to China after the earthquake. She mentioned how picturesque it was from one side of the mountain — “like Shangri-La” — but on the other side was utter destruction. The school was a pile of rubble, with backpacks and shoes strewn about….200 children had died. She talked with a 6-year-old girl who had survived only because her art class was outside before the quake. A photo of this little girl is now in Gail’s house and when she has a tough day or overhears Red Crossers arguing, she’s reminded of the power of our mission. Wow.
5. Because she’s not too important to ask for feedback. After an interview occurs, most people simply move on. Gail showed that she’s humble by asking for feedback on what she could do better. Always a good sign.
4. Because she wants to see the Red Cross go from a cool brand to a cult brand. One example she gave? She wants to see Red Cross clothing be considered the epitome of cool. Gail, I’m with you.
3. Because she gives out hugs. Oh yes, she really did. And she also said that people could e-mail her questions. I LOVE LOVE LOVE when CEOs aren’t afraid to interact with staff and are willing to open direct lines of communication when possible.
2. Because she mentioned potato starch forks when she was talking about sustainability. Does that mean that Gail is a loyal Cross Blog reader? She also said she read that you could eat them, but I’ve tried…you can’t.
Bottom line: Gail is pretty awesome and definitely a pip herself. If you met her yesterday, we want to know what you thought…leave your comments below!