For more than 20 years, Tim Duncan has been hooked on the Red Cross mission.
The CEO of the American Red Cross Monterey Bay Area Chapter is leaving his post at the end of June, completing a long career spanning multiple Red Cross Chapters and regions, to retire and be closer to family.
Tim’s compassion and commitment to the mission, as well as his strong leadership skills, lead to his accomplishments, say those who have worked closely with him.
“He’s a quiet leader,” said Pat Hofmaster, a former Vice President of the Western Division for the American Red Cross. “His sensitivity and compassion are huge in terms of leading to his success.”
Tim left the theatrical world, working as Executive Director of the Miami City, Cincinnati/New Orleans City and Pacific Northwest (Seattle) ballets as well as general manager of the San Francisco ballet, to join the Red Cross. His first role was in Merced as the Executive Director of the Merced/Mariposa Chapter in December 1992, where he stayed for three years. He then moved to Santa Rosa where he was CEO of the Sonoma County Chapter for 10 years.
In Santa Rosa, Tim says, he truly connected to the work of the Red Cross.
“I got hooked on the mission,” said Tim of an experience in 1995 in Santa Rosa, when he visited a Red Cross shelter at the Veteran’s building filled with 350 people displaced by severe floods across Northern California. “It just tore me apart and that kind of sealed my commitment at that point. It was my defining Red Cross moment.”
After his time in Santa Rosa, Tim began working in Sacramento for the National office of the American Red Cross where he was a consultant and also a fund-raising development director. After over four years working at the national office, Tim then moved on to work for the Monterey Bay Area Chapter, first as Chief Operating Officer and then as Chief Executive Officer, spending four years there.
He came to the chapter in the midst of the Monterey/San Benito Counties Chapter merging with the Carmel Area Chapter to create the Monterey Bay Area Chapter. Pat says Tim excelled as a calm, yet focused leader amidst the changes.
Monterey Bay Area Chapter Board President Luis Alvarez agrees that Tim excels under pressure and in times of flux.
“Those of us that were working around him never felt the chaos,” said Luis, who is also CEO of Alvarez Technology group in Salinas, of working with Tim. “We [the board members] were insulated because of his calm demeanor and we understood that he had things under control.”
Luis added that Tim’s positive attitude and humor contributed to his success.
“His compassion, sensitivity and humor are Tim’s greatest attributes,” said Pat. “He certainly is going to leave a legacy that will be felt and remembered by many.”
For all of Tim’s success on the business side, he has also been a great friend and motivator to his team.
Daniella Zapata, the community relations manager for the Red Cross Monterey Bay Area Chapter credits Tim with helping her improve her public speaking skills, arranging opportunities for her to give presentations while he stood by in support.
“He has a way about him that you know that he truly and sincerely believes in you, even when no one else is behind you,” said Daniella. “He has really contributed to our futures as people and professionals.”
Some of Daniella’s favorite memories working with Tim include how he would eat lunch with staff at least four days a week, and share his dry sense of humor on long car rides and during staff meetings.
“We feel like this is not only a work relationship but a sincere friendship between him and the entire staff and the volunteers,” said Daniella. “People feel like they can come in and ask him anything.”
It seems the feeling is mutual among Tim and his staff.
“I’ve never found anyone I couldn’t work with,” said Tim. “You aren’t competing. You always feel at home when you are with a group of Red Cross folks.”