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Ten New Members Appointed to Red Cross Regional Board of Directors


Chicago, IL (Oct. 5, 2015) - The American Red Cross today announced the appointment of 10 new members to the organization’s Board of Directors for the Chicago & Northern Illinois region. The local chapter is celebrating its Centennial year in 2015 with a legacy of leadership.

The new board members include seven current and retired corporate executives, two academic medical professionals, and the head of a local media company. The volunteer Board includes more than 30 business, civic and community leaders from a range of professional backgrounds for the region that serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties in Northern Illinois.

“For 100 years, since our chapter was established in Chicago in 1915, local leadership has played a large role in guiding the strategic direction of the humanitarian services and programs of the Red Cross in our community, and that legacy continues today through the support of our current board and the addition of 10 new members,” said Fran Edwardson, Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois.

Former Red Cross board members over the past century include prominent Chicago leaders including founding members Cyrus H. McCormick, Mrs. Potter Palmer, A.A. Sprague II, Mayor William Hale Thompson, Charles H. Wacker and William Wrigley, Jr. in 1915 to recent members like Michelle Obama, who stepped down from the Board after becoming first lady.

The 10 new members who joined the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois Board of Directors this fiscal year 2015 are:

Richard Ashworth, President of Pharmacy and Retail Operations for Walgreen Co., based in Deerfield. Ashworth is responsible for bringing together all Walgreens services in markets and communities across the country. He joined Walgreens in 1992 as a service clerk and was promoted through store management holding several roles from store manager to district manager from 1999 to 2007. After a number of leadership roles at the company’s corporate office, beginning in November 2013 Ashworth served as Director of Healthcare, Health & Beauty UK and Republic of Ireland at Alliance Boots, which was Walgreens strategic partner prior to the full merger of the two companies in December 2014. Last year Ashworth rejoined Walgreens in his current position.

Brenda Battle, RN, BSN, MBA, Vice President for Care Delivery Innovation and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the University of Chicago Medicine. Battle is responsible for facilitating integration of care between the hospital and the community. She leads the Urban Health Initiative, the University’s community-facing brand through which population health initiatives, research, patient care, and community benefit are executed in collaboration with community health centers, schools and other organizations.

Deirdre Drake, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Office for U.S. Cellular Corporation. Drake joined U.S. Cellular in April 2014. In this role, she leads the human resources organization and is responsible for enabling business driven human resources strategies that ensure U.S. Cellular’ s leaders and associates are aligned with the company's culture, values and behaviors. She collaborates with various teams to ensure there is appropriate support for the organization's vision of providing the world's best wireless experience for customers.

Katherine Mabe is the Executive Vice President, Allstate Brand Distribution. Mabe joined Allstate in 2011 as president of the West Territory and led the team on a path to sustainable and profitable growth. She also led a renewed focus on the Allstate Independent Agency channel and has guided the ongoing development of the Allstate Auto Dealership Program.

A. Kyle Mack, MD, an attending physician in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Dr. Mack and his colleagues started the Blue Tie Tag Program which treats predominately African American patients with sickle cell disease who are in need of on-going blood transfusions. He is also Assistant Professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, the author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, and is involved in a number of research studies on thalassemia and sickle cell.

Ryan McKendrick, recently retired Chief Executive Officer of AMCOL International, a $1 billion global differentiated specialty minerals / materials company with 3,000 employees and operations in 26 countries. McKendrick started his career with AMCOL in 1977 and was promoted to the CEO position in 2010. He has most recently been engaged with consulting for projects involving mergers and acquisitions as well as identifying growth opportunities for several companies.

Kevin Newell, Zone President, West, of McDonald’s LLC. Newell is a 24-year veteran of McDonald’s with extensive experience in marketing and restaurant operations. Building on a career in advertising and media, Newell joined McDonald’s in 1989 and eventually became Marketing Officer of McDonald’s Central Division. He moved to the operations side of the business, becoming Vice President and General Manager of the Great Southern Region – where he oversaw nearly 700 restaurants with annual sales exceeding $1.4 billion.

Susan Noyes, Founder and Publisher of Make It Better Media, and Founder of Make It Better Foundation. Noyes launched a small website targeting the women of Chicago’s North Shore in 2007, which rapidly grew to become a digital, print and events media company for Chicagoland. As a logical extension of the company's mission to amplify best practices, Noyes launched the Make It Better Foundation in 2012. Noyes is also a Tiffany Circle member, a community of women leaders who advance the American Red Cross mission through a focused investment of time, talent and treasure by engaging women locally, nationally and internationally.

Paul Sternlieb, Group President, Global Cooking Equipment within the Food Equipment Group of Illinois Tool Works (ITW). Sternlieb is responsible for leading all of ITW's worldwide cooking equipment businesses with major product lines including convection and combi ovens, baking ovens, ranges, fryers, griddles, charbroilers, steamers, kettles, braising / bratt pans, heated holding cabinets, and ventilation equipment. These products are sold under the Vulcan, Wolf, Hobart, Baxter, Gaylord, Bonnet, Thirode, MBM, and Elro brands. Prior to ITW, he held senior roles at Danaher and H.J. Heinz, and was an Engagement Manager with McKinsey & Company.

Vicki Znavor, Executive Managing Director and Chief Human Resources Officer of The PrivateBank. Znavor is a member of The PrivateBank’s Operating and Executive Committees. As the HR lead for the company, Znavor is responsible for talent strategies and programs, including recruiting, compensation, benefits, engagement and retention, and employee relations.

The board is led by Chairman Grant Hellwarth, a Partner at PwC in Chicago. A full list of members is located at

Very much ingrained with the City of Chicago, the Board Member list of the Chicago Chapter over the past 100 years, starting in 1915, reads like a list of street names, historical landmarks and successful companies still very much a part of the Chicago landscape today: Arthur T. Aldis, Dr. Frank Billings, Caleb H. Canby, Mrs. Benjamin Carpenter, William J. Chalmers, Joseph Cudahy, Charles G. Dawes, J.V. Farwell, James B. Forgan, W.A. Garnder, James Keeley, S.C. Kingsley, Frank G. Logan, Dr. L.L. McArthur, Cyrus H. McCormick, Julian Mason, Arthur Meeker, J.J. Mitchell, Seymour Morris, Dr. J.B. Murphy, Adolph Nathan, John J. O’ Connor, Mrs. Potter Palmer, H.J. Patten, James Patten, George Porter, George M. Reynolds, John Scott, Francis T. Simmons, James Simpson, Orson Smith, A.A. Sprague II, Horner A. Stillwell, B.E. Sunny, Mrs. Frederick Tice, Mrs. Russell Tyson, Fred W. Upham, Mayor William Hale Thompson, Charles H. Wacker, and William Wrigley, Jr.

100 YEARS OF SERVING CHICAGO The American Red Cross is celebrating 100 years of serving Chicago in 2015. For the past century, the Red Cross has been there for people in the Chicago area during the moments when they needed us. Since our chapter was chartered in 1915, we have helped millions of people affected by local disasters including home fires, floods, tornadoes and seasonal emergencies. From health and safety classes, to lifesaving blood collection and support of military members, their families and veterans, the Red Cross has helped make our community safer and more prepared for what may come in the next 100 years. Join us during the 2015 Red Cross Centennial: Volunteer, Donate, Celebrate.

SOCIAL MEDIA Our centennial web site highlights the past 100 years in Chicago featuring local people and their Red Cross stories. Share your story on our web site and use the centennial hashtag #ChicagoRedCross100 when posting to social media accounts. Receive updates on Red Cross services, programs, centennial events and activities at @ChicagoRedCross on Twitter and American Red Cross of Greater Chicago on Facebook.

READY 100 CENTENNIAL SPONSORS Centennial sponsors of the Red Cross in 2015 include: Otho S. A. Sprague Memorial Institute, Schneider Electric, Ace Hardware, Allstate, The Chicago Community Trust, Discover, Fresenius Kabi, Grainger, Gerald A. & Karen A. Kolschowsky, Kirkland & Ellis, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Navistar, PwC, USG, Aon, Baxter, BMO Harris Bank, Constellation Brands, C. Reed Parker, Deloitte, Fortune Brands Home & Security, JLL, Nicor Gas, Oil-Dri, and UL.

About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:

The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. 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 us at or visit us on Twitter at @ChicagoRedCross.