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Women Leaders Strengthen the American Red Cross Mission

The Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders, created five years ago for women who give their time, talent and treasure to the American Red Cross, just keeps growing. Now with more than 70 chapters across the nation, and more than 650 members, the society has raised roughly $30 million to support the Red Cross mission.

This record of accomplishments in just five years makes the Tiffany Circle one of the most successful initiatives in the organization’s history. Members came together for the Tiffany Circle Leadership Summit in Washington D.C. on June 5-6.

Highlights of the summit included a keynote address by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In addition, inspired by the generosity of the American people in response to the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami, Mr. Tadateru Konoé, who serves as the president of both the Japanese Red Cross Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, offered remarks. Other honored guests included Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands.

The Tiffany Circle consists of women such as Mary Pang, who lived in New York City on September 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. Wanting to help, she volunteered with the Red Cross. As a volunteer, Pang, who is fluent in Chinese, worked with families living in Chinatown, a neighborhood adjacent to the Financial District in which the Twin Towers were located.

“As a first-time volunteer, I was blown away with the Red Cross,” Pang says. “The Red Cross brought organization during a time of complete chaos.” After a decade of volunteering, Pang remains impressed with the discipline the Red Cross brings to disaster situations, and says its leaders are “incredible.” She will be co-chair of the 2012 summit.

For Nini Sakaguchi, volunteering with the Red Cross is a family affair—she is co-chair of the Tiffany Circle at the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region and her husband is chairman of the chapter’s Board of Directors.

Sakaguchi credits her husband with getting her interested in serving as a Red Cross volunteer. “When Jeffrey became a member of the Board about seven years ago, I didn’t understand all the good work the Red Cross does around the world, and even in my local neighborhood,” she says.

She explains that the possibility of a fire or an earthquake is always on the minds of the residents of Los Angeles. “The Red Cross brings hope; it gives us something to hang on to when we are under duress,” Sakaguchi said.

Founded in 2007, the Tiffany Circle is a society of women leaders and philanthropists who commit a minimum of $10,000 a year in support of Red Cross work. The annual summit is an opportunity for members to share their best Red Cross practices, getting ideas for new ways to make an even bigger impact in their communities.

Tiffany Circle members follow in the footsteps of a long line of women leaders who have helped the Red Cross serve the American public in times of war and peace with disaster assistance, blood collection, safety training and service to members of the military and their families.