The fact that the new Red Cross chapter manager knows both sides of the organization as a volunteer and as a board member caught the attention of Charles McKinney, chairman of the board of directors.
Carol Barbe began volunteering for the Loudoun County chapter of the American Red Cross in 1992, serving on several committees and becoming the board’s chairperson in 1993-94. The Potomac Falls resident also worked in business for 22 years, her last position as assistant vice-president of Innovative Management, Inc. in Herndon, where she has worked since 1994.
“Not only does she know how policy is made; she knows how to effectively implement policy,” McKinney of Ashburn said in a statement.
Barbe resigned from the board earlier this year to take care of her newborn son with her husband Phil. In the meantime, the board continued searching for a new chapter manager, a search that began in November 2001. The board asked Barbe to apply for the position.
“We really didn’t think she would bite on the offer, but we made it anyway,” said McKinney, board member since June 2001 and chairman since February 2002. “This is the first time we’ve had a chapter manager that was someone the board sought after. …We felt she had the best background for this chapter.”
BARBE VOLUNTEERED for Red Cross in several facets of program management, including disaster services, health and safety services, budgetary planning, human resources and fund-raising.
One facet of the program provides disaster services for Loudoun residents who are displaced from their homes following a fire, flood or manmade disaster. The services include obtaining shelter, food, clothing and medication for the residents.
“Primarily, in Loudoun County, we respond to a lot of fires, and that’s increasing daily,” Barbe said.
The chapter assisted 22 Loudoun families from July 2001 to June 2002, compared to 32 families the year prior.
Red Cross also offers health and safety services with CPR, first aid and water safety classes. Other Red Cross services include:
* Armed forces emergency services to provide a communication link for members of the military and their families or to help stranded military members with funding and other needs. This service and the disaster services are considered required services of the Red Cross.
* Senior transportation services to provide transportation for the elderly to appointments, stores and other locations.
“It’s a real feel good program. We do whatever it takes to help them,” Barbe said. “It goes beyond just driving them. It goes to personal care … whatever it takes.”
AS CHAPTER MANAGER, Barbe is the chief operating officer of the Red Cross, responsible for overseeing day-to-day management of the operations and programs of the chapter, along with managing personnel and fund-raising efforts. She plans to strengthen the chapter financially with additional and more consistent fund-raising projects and to keep the funds within the county, she said.
“Over the past 10 years, we struggled with having some permanency in the position with the same vision as the board,” Barbe said. “I’m eager to grow this chapter to the next level. As the community is growing, our needs are growing.”
Additional goals of Barbe’s include increasing the volunteer base at the Red Cross, providing additional training for volunteers and educating the community on disaster preparedness and health and safety issues through mail-outs and speaking at community and club meetings. Currently, the Red Cross has 60 volunteers for disaster services, health and safety services and in the office, along with eight staff members.
“Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that helps people,” Barbe said. “It’s near and dear to my heart. It’s an organization that helps people at their worse time.”
The American Red Cross was established March 9, 1917. The Loudoun chapter has been in the current location in Leesburg since the late 1980s.