Chief Public Affairs Officer
Suzanne (Suzy) C. DeFrancis oversees all enterprise-wide communications, government relations and strategic partnerships to advance the mission of the American Red Cross.
Previously, DeFrancis served as assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She oversaw all communications and managed the department’s press office, speech and editorial division, web division, and broadcast studio. Before that, she served in the White House as deputy assistant to the president for communications where she developed communications strategy, messaging and planning for a wide range of policy issues. From 1997 to 2002, DeFrancis was senior vice president and director of public affairs at Porter Novelli.
Areas of Expertise
Vice President, Public Relations
Laura Howe is responsible for public relations and overall corporate media strategies for the Red Cross. She serves as one of the primary Red Cross spokespeople and oversees day-to-day corporate media relations and crisis communications efforts. In addition, she manages specialized communication teams for disaster services, international services, biomedical services, services to Armed Forces, social media and chapter operations.
Laura also manages the team responsible for all Red Cross social media efforts and has led the organization’s effort to use of social media as means to get information to disaster victims. She often appears at conferences and on panels promoting the use of social media during disasters.
She also spent eight years as a television news reporter and anchor and now frequently provides interviews on behalf of the Red Cross for national media outlets such as The New York Times, USA Today CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and The Weather Channel.
Areas of Expertise