For months all of our anticipation for the Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program has built up for this day. We all set out on our journey for Washington DC, which was an adventure in itself. For Tara, it was her first time on an airplane and I can only imagine her anxiety. For Je’von, the journey was two days long as she was the last to arrive. From the airport, we made our way to our dorms. Some chose to take a taxi, while the rest of us learned the ways of the metro which I must say is an awesomely economical and efficient system for larger cities like Washington DC.
As each one us arrived at the tenth floor of the Potomac House, we were greeted with the overwhelming awkward stares of all of us trying to figure out who we were. We played the name-game a number of times and by the end of the night we all figured out who was who. I was very impressed with how open everyone was from the start. It is fun to meet people who let their personalities shine, and it’s comforting to know we are all in the same boat. I kept reminding myself that we are all student athletes who have the challenge of balancing school, sports, work, family and friends, and of course the reason that brought all of us together: service.
After eating at Baja Fresh, we returned to the dorm to get our beauty sleep. This of course was followed by a girl pow-wow party of nail painting, which surprisingly, the boys were not interested in! We are all so excited for this opportunity and can’t wait for tomorrow.
So the first day begins! We got ready and then met for breakfast before heading to the American Red Cross National Headquarters. Once we arrived, we were greeted by our NHQ contact, Jennifer Lourie. We received our ID passes to enter into headquarters, which I must say makes us look pretty legit! It’s amazing how professional we look and feel with the added touch of our picture ID hanging from our pants pockets. The building is enormous with a beautifully modern interior. We made our way to the conference room where we received our binders and were welcomed by Brian Hamil, the National Chair of Biomedical Services. Brian is also the man who saw the vision to put this whole program together, so here’s a huge THANK YOU shout out from all of us.
Shaun Gilmore, President of Biomedical Services spoke to us next. He went over the six core strategic objectives of the Red Cross and gave us personal advice to help us along our career paths. Jerry DeFrancsico, President of Humanitarian Services, covered a lot of the Red Cross history and lines of service. His insights were very helpful and we appreciated both Shaun and Jerry for taking time out of their schedules to come share their knowledge and thoughts with us.
We took a short, very hot stroll to the historic 17th Street Building, the orginial headquarters building,, where President Gail McGovern’s office is located. The three beautiful buildings which make up Red Cross Square are located across from the general area of the White House and Washington Monument. We toured the building that our reception will be held in Monday, along with the courtyard. We returned to back to our building and finished the day by settling into our own desks where we will be designing our own strategic plans for marketing successful blood drives on our college campuses..
After work, we all parted our separate ways. I was able to be in the company of Je’von, Tori, Melissa, Kim, and Beth as we jogged around the White House and past the Washington Monument. Yes, I said White House! We are so close to everything; it’s so exciting. We ate dinner all together at Froggy Bottom Pub and met up with Brian at the Harbor. Brian was kind enough to treat us all to Gelato; thanks again, Brian! (I think the flavor of choice was OREO.) The Harbor is an amazing place and was so relaxing for all of us. It was a perfect way to end the first day as the feelings of the different emotions of the unknown were over. My favorite part of that evening was sitting with everyone on the edge of the water just looking out across the Potomac. Washington DC is a magical place!
There was no need for alarms this morning as we were all awakened by thunder at 7 am. The lightning and thunder storms here are intense; I don’t think I have ever heard thunder so loud. This trip keeps getting better and better. Everyone is starting to open up even more, and as people like Andrew crack jokes, we get the privilege of hearing Jennifer’s snort! Because we are all athletes, it is easy for us to relate to one another and our walls are pretty broken down. At times it may seem as though we are in a Miss/ Mr. America Pageant because we can introduce and refer to one another by our states. So I guess you can call me Miss Utah!
Although it was not a full work day, our agenda was packed full. Eva Quinley, Senior Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs gave us the run-down of blood: what it is, why it’s important, how it’s collected. The Communications Manager from the Southwest Region, Jan Hale, filled our minds with ideas and thoughts that will help to make our blood drives successful. Then we got to enter into Wayne’s World as Wayne Stalvey, Donor Resources Director from the Chesapeake and Potomac Region, shared personal stories that are motivating to save lives by donating blood. Did you know every time you donate, you save three lives? Dave Horine, Donor Recruitment Representative from the Indiana-Ohio Region, stressed the importance of face to face invites. His insight on student donors will benefit us greatly. We’d like to thank all of the speakers today for sharing their time and energy with us.
I think one thing we all learned today was that the leaders of the American Red Cross love their jobs. From humanitarian aid to biomedical services to advertising, all of the employees in these professions are tied together by a common thread: they have a passion to save lives and make a difference in the world we live in. We have a new appreciation for the Red Cross in our world.
We left the office early to be able to go to the Washington Nationals baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds. Israel Negron, former NAIA employee, kindly led us down to the field for batting practice. The stadium is awesome and to be down on the field next to all the players was a neat experience. However, we were quickly rushed upstairs to find cover as a storm rolled in. We enjoyed each other’s company and had some dinner at the park as we watched the Draft. The rain didn’t stop, so we headed back home.
We took “Marlin” the Metro which was a fun experience. I must say this group has some serious skill to be able to enter the Metro station and get 17 people onto the blue line in less than one minute. It’s a good thing we are a group of athletes! Running through the station was pretty funny. Some of us were also able to provide entertainment for the entire car as we tried to balance our way home as the Metro suddenly speeds and stops.
The night was ours once we were home, so I joined Tori, Molly, Tara, and Casey as we walked to some of the sites. It’s fascinating how Casey somehow finds himself alone surrounded by beautiful girls. The other boys haven’t quite figured out that their odds are pretty good. (Besides Zach, who is engaged) The night was peaceful as the five of us walked by the White House, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, the reflecting pool, and the Lincoln Memorial.
We began our day listening to Katie Filiatreau, leader and member of the Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program ’08 class. It was wonderful to get advice from a peer who has done what we are about to do. She gave us pointers for who to work with on our campus as well as the importance of showing appreciation to all those who help and volunteer for us.
Jackie Battle is the Senior Administrative Specialist for Biomedical Sales and Marketing. Years ago, Jackie was hit by a car. She suffered from internal bleeding, broken bones, and the possibility of never being able to walk again. Because she had lost so much blood, she needed transfusions to able to survive. She was given many blood transfusions over a 5 day period. After a year of therapy in the recovering process, Jackie regained her ability to walk. She is healthy and a consistent American Red Cross blood donor. She feels that her blood donations are a way to show her appreciation for the people that saved her life. Thank you so much, Jackie, for sharing your story with us. It is the personal stories that make people like ourselves realize how truly important it is to donate.
Wendy Harman, Social Media Manager, discussed the different ways we could promote our blood drives using various forms of social networking sites. I think we’ve all decided YouTube videos will be a perfect visual aid for us to use.
Dr. Richard Benjamin, Chief Medical Officer, informed us of how to donate safely as student athletes. Because we are athletes, we had many questions for Dr. Benjamin and he was able to answer them and even bust a few myths!
The highlight of the day was having the opportunity to meet with Gail McGovern, the President and CEO of the American Red Cross. Gail is a brilliant woman who told us about the organization as well as how she became involved with the Red Cross. The changes and improvements she has made are impacting the world. She also answered our questions about life, career choices, and ambitions. We appreciate her time, kindness, and very helpful advice. We are also grateful for her support in this program. Thanks!
As far as activities go for the evening, all fourteen of us took the metro to Pentagon City for dinner and shopping. The weather in DC is hard for us to predict, so we ran home in the pouring rain which was rather fun in my opinion! Je’von is continuing to win the tripping contest, and the summer night workouts continue even though a security guard came to see what all the commotion was about. At the moment, Beth has commenced the game of Spoons, which she has been dying to play since the moment we arrived.
I can’t believe Thursday is already over. The time has gone so fast, yet I’m glad there is so much more to come. We had a great morning working with Tim O’Malley, founder and lead consultant at Fios Consulting. We discussed the dimensions of diversity and how we perceive ourselves and others. We solved work related problems and played interactive games to simulate how cultures are different and how we can adapt and be understanding of where others come from. We also talked about the pathway to competence which is a continuing cycle we all go through.
After a quick lunch break, we were able to visit with Chris Hrouda and Greg Ballish, members of the Biomedical Services Senior Leadership Team..They told their stories of how they became involved with the Red Cross and left the rest of the time for questions.
The Director of National Accounts and Donor Recruitment, Vicki Thomas, completed our day. She taught us the importance of branding, logos, and statements. We now are fully aware of the rules and regulations of the Red Cross brand, which I must say was a little intense. “The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give Blood.TM” is the tagline for the Red Cross and today we did just that.
We spent the evening together donating our blood. A couple girls were turned away for having low iron, but for everyone else, it was a great experience. We are proud of our first timers: Melissa, Beth, and especially Casey! Because we can save up to three lives every time we donate blood, we were able to save up to 33 lives. How cool is that!
I love how friendly we all are and I’m so glad we’re becoming closer. The laughs are never ending. Funny stories of the day: 1) During diversity training, we were writing down reactions to differences, and Tara meant to write ‘smile’, but instead she wrote ‘scented’ as she was writing with a scented marker. 2) As kind-hearted Angela tries to help everyone she said, “Cheeze-its have iron in them!” Soon to be corrected by Casey, “But that didn’t help Carlie, did it?” I guess you have to be there, but at least we’re having a good time.
Today was an amazing day to end the first week of work. Bianca Kahlenberg, Treasurer of the National Youth Council and President of the Red Cross Club at the University of Florida began our day. She told us how she got involved with the American Red Cross and what the National Youth Council was all about. She gave us five steps and great advice for starting a Red Cross Club on our campus, as well as how to get the word out.
We were given time before lunch to work on our strategic plans which was definitely needed. We have so many brilliant ideas sparked from all of our speakers that we need to put into action. The person with the best plan will be able to take a large American Red Cross banner home to hang on campus, so the competition begins!
After lunch we reviewed with Brian what went well and what we could work on. I feel like we’ve done so much, yet it doesn’t feel like the first week should be over. We’ve been given a lot of information and advice, so now we’ll see what we do with it.
Maddison Hamil, an American Red Cross Board Member spoke to us in the afternoon. Maddison shared ways she has been successful and what steps she took in order to get there. She supplied us with a to-do list for before each of our blood drives and a great business survival guide. We had so many questions, especially when it came to dress and etiquette.
Dave Recchion, Chairman of the Board of the Red Cross Northern Ohio Blood Services Region from 2005-2008 was our final speaker. He spoke from his experiences and talked with us about what he’s learned throughout his life. He gave us seven steps for success and answered so many of our never-ending questions. His words were inspiring and made a lasting impression on the entire class.
Thanks to Maddison, Brian, and Dave for answering all of our questions!
As for the fun of the night, we took a cab to Lauriol Plaza restaurant. We had a large feast and walked the town, or I should say city. We did a little shopping and tried to watch the hockey game at ESPN Zone, but it was a full house. For the most part, the night was laid back as we walked by some of the monuments. We enjoy each other’s company and spent the evening learning more about each other. When we learned that Molly bowled a 275 at state, Casey interjected, “that’s bowlin!” Beth continues to entertain us with her fun ideas like finding new love interests or waking up early to walk with Ruby who was meeting fans for an exercise walk in Georgetown.
Thanks for reading my blog, tomorrow the entire group is talking a walking tour of DC…more to come!
Our Washington DC Tour with Jennifer Lourie! Jennifer gave us a history of the city, fun facts about architecture and the stories behind our destinations. Places we visited: Union Station, Columbus Monument, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, Botanical Gardens, past the Capitol to the National Gallery of Art, and the Tower of the Old Post Office.
Jennifer’s Fun Factoids:
- Coffers in Union Station and the Metro designed to stop sound (coffers for sound) and keep with the overall design inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. When Union Station it was the gateway to the District of Columbia which explains why Columbus (for whom DC was partially named) stands in front. The monument, symbolizes the idea of entering into a new world that merges the old with the new: Inviting visitors to explore Washington DC the same way Columbus explored the New World.
- Details of the branches of government while standing out front the Supreme Court. Liberty Enthroned Guarded by Order and Authority sits in the pediment of the Supreme Court and because freedom cannot exist without boundaries and enforcement. And the turtles under the lamp post signify justice moving slowly.
- The Library of Congress adds 10,000 new volumes each day.
- At the National Gallery of Art, we were able to see art by Van Gough, Monet, and Manet.
- We finished the day off on the Tower of the Old Post Office and overlooked the entire city and enjoyed the beautiful view.
Thanks to Jennifer for an amazing day!
Funny Stories: 1) The fact that Brian and Michael showed up dressed as twins! 2) The cute squirrel at the Library of Congress 3) Jumping in front of the Capitol Building for a snapshot 4) Seeing a parade of naked men riding bikes through the city! 5) “I’m on a Boat!” – joining a party on a boat by the harbor 6) Playing trivia with Beth.
Today was our day of rest. We have been on the go this whole week, so a day of being lazy and relaxed was perfect. Some of the group made their way to Arlington National Cemetery where they saw the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They also saw the eternal flame that is located by John F. Kennedy’s grave. They came back and were amazed by the miles of men and women who have died serving our country. Others of the group attended church services, walked around Georgetown, and took naps. This evening we decided to stay in the Potomac House (dorm), so we ordered pizza and raided the basement to watch the NBA finals and Army Wives.
We found ourselves laughing uncontrollably all night. Here are some quotes for us to remember that started a few of those moments:
“Why would you say Claudia-Joy. It’s not like Mary-Beth. It doesn’t roll off the tongue.” – Casey
“I’m just tired of talking.” – Beth
“Here, just use this card.” – Katie M.
“Well we left the building with no real plans and wondered what you were doing. So, the bench outside the dorm is where we ended up.” – Tara
“Oh they’re just all gooey. It’s their 4th month anniversaries.” – Carlie
“Sometimes when I wake up, I’m confused. It takes me awhile to figure out time, space, and matter.” – Beth
The first week has ended. We have learned so much, become great friends, and are ready to finish week two strong. We have realized that this internship is not just about the business side of things, but more about becoming a better person. We are committed to life-long leadership and service. We have a lot to look forward to. See you tomorrow!
Representatives of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes) came to speak to us today. Rob Haworth, Vice President of Champions of Character, spoke on what the five core values mean to him: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership.
We discussed the book 212° the extra degree by S.L. Parker and what it means to put the extra effort into everything you do. We also talked about being contagious in spreading our message of being champions of character and of saving lives through donating blood.
Sharon Jaksa, Chief Executive Officer of the Great Lakes Region and Delisa English, Chief Executive Officer of the South Carolina Region spoke to us this afternoon. They gave us keys to success, told us how we can impact our Regions, and what expectations our CEO’s have of us. Their dedication to generation Y was evident in their enthusiasm to be with us. Thank you to Sharon and Delisa for traveling distances to spend time with us.
We also answered interview questions on film for the NAIA, which was something we weren’t exactly expecting. Therefore, for a small moment in time, we were anxious, nervous, and somewhat excited.
This evening we went to a reception to mix and mingle with leaders of the American Red Cross and the NAIA. There were great finger foods as we made our way around the room getting to know one another. This was a great opportunity for us to expand our network. And Michael once again proved his cheesecake eating skills to the world.
After the reception, we all did our own thing. However, just like every other night, we end up getting together and talking all night. Our random and honest conversations are always entertaining and hard to end. The night’s events included a push-up contest, singing in the elevator, watching Tara spray milkshake out of her mouth, watching Michael spin in a chair, and coming up with the idea of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Shirt! We then stayed up to wish Kenneth Charles Wieder a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! We love you.
First let me start by saying…HAPPY 20th BIRTHDAY to CASEY! We love him and are excited to be able to spend this day with him.
We were so sad Meghann (Hess) had to leave us this morning and we miss her dearly. Meghann is a member of the first Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program class (2007-08) to participate in the program and was here this week to help us! Thanks Meghann, have fun in Charlotte!
Today NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr, Vice President for Champions of Character Rob Haworth, and Director of Public Relations and Communications Staci Schottman led the discussions. The topic was student leadership and we were able to learn from one another and give feedback on a number of ideas. It was nice for us to be able to give our voice on subjects we are involved with.
The rest of the day was spent at our desks working on our strategic plans (for campus blood drives). We had enough time to think through our ideas and promotions, analyze and set new goals and put the finishing touches on our presentations. Time is coming to an end…we will present our strategic plans on Friday morning to Red Cross leadership!
We tried to go to dinner at ESPN Zone for “sportster” Casey’s birthday celebration, but once again, ESPN Zone had a special event going on that surprisingly was not Casey’s birthday party. So we went on a scavenger dinner hunt, but our success was not great. Despite the change in plans, this evening has topped everything so far because of Beth Gilgenbach! Beth serenaded us and all the tourists with “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” while doing a very energetic dance directly in front of the White House. It was amazing to say the least. Then we did patriotic caroling and got the tourists to join in. We completed the evening with our usual talks and were entertained by a few of the best kept stories.
The day started early for us because of another amazing opportunity! We had breakfast with Senator Tom Harkin from Iowa, a great state and also home to Molly. We then took an incredible tour of the Capitol. The sculptures, chandeliers, paintings and architecture were so beautiful and rich with history. We ate lunch at one of the Senate cafeterias and then made our way over to the Supreme Court for a small tour. Then we literally ran to catch the bus to take us to the National Cathedral. The Cathedral was enormous and so detailed. We wandered around taking pictures and relaxing. As we were leaving we saw our bus driving away. Thanks to Andrew’s quick feet he was able to not only catch the bus but hold it for the rest of us! This is the second time today our group of 15 to have to run to catch a bus. I just hope we don’t make it a habit.
Today was awesome to be able to see some of the best sites and take a break from work. We have been extremely busy making the most of our time here in DC, but now the exhaustion is starting to catch up with us. We were all very tired today, but hopefully we can get to bed early tonight (I doubt it though). This evening we are meeting up with Brian Hamil in Georgetown for dinner.
Thanks for reading!