Executive Staff Leadership

Our executive staff leads a loyal and dedicated team, comprised of employees and volunteers, who are committed to assisting the community.

Heidi Ruster - Utah Region CEO

Heidi Ruster is a 20-year veteran of the American Red Cross, and has served in numerous capacities within the organization. Her journey with the Red Cross began in 1992 at the US Naval Station in Rota, Spain, where was a volunteer. She continued to work with the Red Cross, serving as Lee County Red Cross CEO in Florida and, later, Regional CEO for Florida’s Gulf Region. She was selected as Utah Region CEO in July, 2013, following a nationwide CEO search. Deeply committed to the mission of the American Red Cross and to Utah communities, her extensive knowledge and experience are making a real difference in taking Red Cross operations in Utah to the next level.

Jalae Thompson - Regional Disaster Officer

For over 17 years JaLae Thompson has effectively served the American Red Cross in Emergency Services, Donor Recruitment and Volunteer Management. Beginning her career in Logan, Utah JaLae led Red Cross disaster planning, preparedness and response efforts in Cache County until returning to New York City in the summer of 2001.

As a Disaster Support Specialist in the Mid-Atlantic Region, she oversaw Emergency Services programs in Maryland and the metro-DC area, and assisted with Red Cross disaster response to the September 11th terrorist attacks in client casework and external relations management. In 2004, JaLae returned to the west on a Homeland Security project and ultimately accepted a management position for the Lewis and Clark Region where she has effectively led the organization in long-term recovery, volunteer management, blood donor recruitment and Emergency Services programs.

Throughout the course of her career she has served on over 17 national and regional disast er relief operations and currently serves as the Regional Disaster Officer for the Utah Region managing disaster preparedness, response and recovery. She also serves as an American Red Cross Subject Matter Expert in Employee and Volunteer Engagement for the Southwest & Rocky Mountain Division, covering Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Rich Woodruff - Utah Region Director of Communications

Rich Woodruff is a 30-year broadcast media veteran holding several upper management positions in major markets such as Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, and Northern California. His experience has primarily been in radio but he has also worked in an advertising agency environment focusing on all other marketing and PR initiatives including television and social media platforms. Prior to joining the staff as Director of Communications for the Red Cross Utah Region he served as a Red Cross Volunteer in Southern Utah for 4 years.

Chris Lambe - Armed Forces & International Services Regional Manager

Chris served in the United States Army for 11 years before joining the American Red Cross team. Through Outreach, Organizing, planning, mentoring, and program development, Chris oversees all of the SAF (services to the Armed Forces) programs for the Utah Region. One of the newest is the Veterans Mentorship program that enlists and trains SAF volunteers as advocates to help veterans and family members navigate through the systems of support and transition from military service to civilian life. Other programs include the Veterans History Project and Restoring Family Links program. IHL (international humanitarian law) programs include “Raid Cross” and “Born on the Battlefield”. Chris graduated from Liberty University in Virginia with my bachelors in multidisciplinary studies and is currently working on his Masters in Emergency and Disaster Management at Trident University.

Kristy Denlein - Volunteer Services Director

Kristy Denlein joined the American Red Cross in 2010 bringing a strong passion for volunteerism to the organization. She has served in numerous capacities including a year-long term of national service through the AmeriCorps program. As part of the Utah Region leadership team she currently serves as the Volunteer Services Director. Her extensive knowledge and experience in volunteer management has helped the Utah Region's volunteer program grow exponentially, while setting new standards of excellence. Kristy holds a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations, and is passionate about utilizing her diverse skill set and extensive experience to support and enhance the mission of the American Red Cross.

Margie Woodruff - Chief Development Office

Margie Woodruff has successfully led the fund development efforts of several non-profit organizations for over 25 years. As Chief Development Officer of the Red Cross Utah Region she develops and oversees regional fundraising strategies and collaborates with national headquarters to capitalize on resources and partnerships that can help the Red Cross better serve our communities on a local and national basis.

Woodruff joined the Red Cross in November 2010. She previously served as Corporate Relations Director of the Red Cross Utah Region. Prior to that she served as the Development and Community Relations Director for the Red Cross in Southern Utah Chapter.

In 2011, Woodruff was the recipient of the Utah Business Women’s Outstanding Public Service award. Woodruff is an alumna of the University of Northern Colorado.