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A New leader for the Region; A Q&A with Randy Johnson, CEO

Randy Johnson, Minn-Kota Region CEO

Fargo resident Randy Johnson began on January 9, as the new Regional CEO of the American Red Cross serving North Dakota and Western Minnesota. Johnson comes to the Red Cross after serving as the Vice President for Human Resources and Development at Noridian Mutual Insurance Company since 2006. He most recently volunteered with the United Way of Cass-Clay as the 2011 campaign chair.

Why did you want to be part of the American Red Cross team?

I served on the board of the Minn-Kota Red Cross in the late 90’s, and really fell in love with the mission of the organization at that time. Also, as a volunteer during the recent floods, combined with my leadership role in the 2011 United Way of Cass-Clay campaign, I interacted with the Red Cross once again. I have been in a corporate leadership environment for nearly 25-years and I feel privileged to apply my skills to an organization like the Red Cross. I feel that being a part of the Red Cross gives me a chance to live out some of my personal mission of service and community development.

What makes the Red Cross such a great organization?

First, it has such a strong legacy of helping others in their time of need. Whether through disaster services, military support or a preparedness course, when people need help, the Red Cross is there. The staff at the Red Cross believes in the mission and delivers excellence to the communities we serve. Another aspect I love about the organization is it is so volunteer driven. The breadth of our impact can only be reached if we have volunteers to carry out our mission. It is an honor to be a part of the legacy of leaders who have made the Red Cross the relevant, reputable organization that it is today.

What in your past has prepared you to take on the role as the Regional CEO?

First, I think my personal mission and approach to life have prepared me for this role. I always try to approach life with a posture of service and community. At my core, that is who I want to be. Second, I think my human resources background has given me the skills to deal with people in an effective manner. This will be critical as we continue to develop relationships in our communities and build an effective staff and volunteer team. Third, my business background will serve me well as we continue to manage an efficient, effective operation.

What are some of the challenges that you think the Red Cross faces?

We face the challenge of meeting the ever changing needs of the communities we serve and we must continue to position ourselves as integral service providers in those communities. Most people recognize Red Cross as the organization that is there when disaster strikes. We must strengthen our capacity as everyday providers of community readiness for disasters, military support and overall providers of community health and safety. We must continue to move our image to the everyday, ‘top of mind’ organization that is integral in our communities.

Our goal remains to continue to build our base of support with individuals, volunteers, governments, corporations and community leaders to ensure our readiness to serve. Of course, we are responsible to ensure that locally, our Red Cross organizations continue to be managed effectively and efficiently to be good stewards of our donor support.

What do you see changing/happening in your first 90-days?

It is a little early for me to have strong opinions on strategy, but I intend to spend my first 90 days in a strong learning mode. I plan to visit communities across the geography we serve, to learn, connect, listen and plan. I want to get to know the staff in each of our offices and of course, I want to meet the boards of directors in each location. I want to meet the volunteers and the community leaders that have given us their support in the past.

My ears will be my most valuable tool in my first 90-days….and I intend to use them.