American Red Cross CEO Named 2015 Administrator of the Year

PROVO, Utah – Mar 30, 2015 – The Romney Institute of Public Management honored Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, as its 2015 Administrator of the Year for her leadership of the disaster relief and service organization.  

“I’ve been impressed with Gail’s career and all she’s been able to do in her life, and I believe that she exemplifies what we stand for at the Romney Institute,” says Josh Romney, Romney Institute Advisory Board member who nominated McGovern for the award.

The award is given annually to outstanding administrators in the public sector who have demonstrated ethical and moral commitment to service. Past recipients include former FDIC chair Sheila Bair and former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker.

McGovern has led the American Red Cross since 2008, successfully strengthening the organization and instituting new technology to further its lifesaving mission. She says the job has been both intellectually challenging and humbling, and she is grateful to be honored for the work she has done.

“It’s amazing to me to be honored this way — both on a personal level and on behalf of the American Red Cross, since the LDS Church is one of our most important partners,” McGovern says. “I have also developed a lot of values through my own faith, so I see the link between faith and service.”

When she began leading the organization, it was deeply in debt and its hundreds of chapters were operating autonomously. She was able to consolidate the chapters and manage the budget to turn the organization around through her effective leadership.

Before entering the nonprofit sector, McGovern was a faculty member at Harvard Business School and was president of Fidelity Personal Investments. She also previously served as executive vice president at AT&T for the consumer markets division.

During her visit, McGovern held a Q&A session with MPA students and was honored at a banquet on campus, where she was presented with the award. At the banquet she addressed MPA students and shared some of the lessons she has learned during her career.

“Since joining the American Red Cross I’ve learned that in the nonprofit world you’ve got to lead through the power of ideas, not through the power of your office, and that has made me a better leader and a more humble person,” McGovern said. “When you see the sorts of disasters that I see, you learn the things that you should truly be thankful for.”

The Romney Institute of Public Management, part of the Marriott School’s Master of Public Administration program, was named in 1998 for three-term Michigan Governor George W. Romney. A part of the Brigham Young University’s Marriott School, the Romney Institute offers a master’s degree in public administration through both pre-service and executive programs. The Romney Institute has a long tradition of preparing young people for careers in public service and is dedicated to educating men and women of faith, character and professional ability who will become outstanding managers and leaders in public and not-for-profit institutions. Brigham Young University is the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. 

Gail McGovern was honored as the Romney Institute's 2015 Administrator of the Year.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Angela Marler