Nancy M. Blaschak, Western New York/Finger Lakes Regional CEO, has announced that she will be retiring from the American Red Cross after a 35 year career. After starting in Personnel and Human resources in 1979, Blaschak was named Executive Director of the Greater Buffalo Chapter in 1992. In April, 2013, she was named CEO of the combined Western New York and Finger Lakes Regions.
“When I started with the American Red Cross in 1979, I never imagined that I would still be here 35 years later,” Blaschak said in making the announcement. “It has been my honor to serve Buffalo and the Western New York community, and to work with so many incredible employees, volunteers and supporters over the years. It is difficult to walk away from this great organization, but knowing that there are still so many people committed to ensuring the Red Cross will continue to be a vital part of the Western New York community makes this decision a little bit easier.”
Blaschak has led the Red Cross response to several incidents, including the October Surprise Storm of 2006 and the crash of Flight 3407 in Clarence in 2009. In addition to leading the delivery of disaster preparedness and response, health & safety courses, emergency communications for the military and other community services in Western New York, she has also supported several disaster responses across the country. In 2013, Blaschak started and directed the Hurricane Sandy Long Term Recovery Project in New York City 2013.
“As the outgoing Chair of the Western New York Chapter Board of Directors, I can clearly recall my initial involvement with the organization over 14 years ago being the direct result of meeting Nancy,” said John Yurtchuk, Board Chairman. “It seems ironic yet somehow fitting that my term as Chair and on the Board itself is now over and that Nancy has chosen this same month to retire as CEO. I have always respected her as the consummate professional and a skilled leader, but just as important, I was always impressed by her enduring enthusiasm and fun loving side that added a special energy to our success at fundraising. She can also be quite serious when it comes to presenting the Red Cross mission to our immediate WNY community, the greater New York region or even at national meetings. She will greatly be missed by us all, but her legacy of establishing one of the best performing chapters in the country will surely live on.”
“This is a very bittersweet moment for not only me, but all of us who have had the honor and pleasure of working with Nancy,” said Don Herring, Northeast Division Vice President. “Nancy’s contributions to the organization and the community over the past 35 years cannot be overstated, and while we soon will be naming highly qualified new managers, Nancy’s leadership and commitment will be impossible to replace. On behalf of everyone at the American Red Cross, we cannot say thank you enough to Nancy for all of her efforts, and we wish her the very best as she moves on to the next chapter of her life.”
Blaschak is currently Chair of the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York’s Fellows Action Network, and serves as a member of the Boards of Housing Opportunities Made Equal; the Advisory Council for Catholic Education, Diocese of Buffalo; and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of WNY. She has been a leadership volunteer for several local organizations, including the United Way Agency Executives Association, Meals on Wheels, Canisius College MBA Alumni Association, Leadership Buffalo, Gilda’s Club and Central Referral Service. She was an adjunct faculty member at Canisius College and taught at the graduate level.
Blaschak is a graduate of the Charter Class of Leadership Buffalo and the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York’s Fellowship Program. She has received the Distinguished MBA Alumni award from Canisius College, the Leadership Buffalo Service Award, the Business First 40 Under 40 Award, the D'Youville College Center for Women in Management Manager of the Year Award and the Girl Scouts of WNY Distinguished Woman Award for Public Service.
Nancy and her husband John live in Eden, N.Y. along with their two children, Stephen and Elizabeth.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.