Michele Averill’s ties to the American Red Cross started at a very young age. She credits a book from her childhood for her decision to pursue a career in health care and, ultimately, her new role as the Community Chapter Executive of the American Red Cross Monterey Bay Area Chapter.
Growing up in rural Corralitos, California, Michele and her brother were free to ride horses and motorcycles. But it was a book their mother shared from her childhood that really sparked their imagination: a 1930's hardcover copy of the American Red Cross First Aid textbook.
“We would spend hours reenacting the scenarios and acting out the first aid instructions presented in the book,” Michele said. “I have had the book with me forever and wonder how much this little book has shaped our lives. My brother is now a fire captain with Cal Fire, and I took Red Cross lifeguard and swimming instruction courses as a teenager and CPR more recently. Now, my Red Cross experience has come full circle.”
Michele has spent 16 years in the health care industry, most recently as the Chief Executive Officer for Saint Louise Regional Hospital Foundation. The Red Cross is an organization she feels lucky to join.
“I not only believe in the mission of the Red Cross, I have seen it achieved locally,” Michele said, recalling the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989 when her parents’ home was damaged and she would pass by the Watsonville Fairgrounds where the Red Cross was sheltering hundreds affected by the disaster.
Having begun her new role in early April, Michele provides leadership to the 300 local volunteers and six employees who serve nearly 484,000 residents in Monterey and San Benito Counties.
“I’m excited and honored to be here, and I’m looking forward to working with the community, expanding our outreach, and increasing our community support through the launch of some new special events,” she said, adding she is working on a Farm to Table fundraising event for later this year.
Michele enjoys doing yoga and Pilates. At her home in Aptos Hills, she is an avid gardener who loves spending time tending to her hydrangeas, delphiniums, and her great-grandmother’s rose bushes. She sits on the board of the Arboretum at the University of California Santa Cruz.
Learn more about MIchele at: http://www.redcross.org/ca/monterey/about-us/leadership/leadership-bios.