By Martin Gagliano
Meet Susanne Newswanger, a Red Cross nurse recently honored with the Clara Barton Award for Meritorious Leadership
Over 13 years with the Red Cross, Susanne Newswanger has demonstrated the essence of being a Red Cross nurse: she cares for people during disasters and emergencies and works hard to ensure the well-being of volunteers, staff and the communities we serve are met.
From her role as the Coordinator of Disaster Health Services in the Silicon Valley Chapter to her current position as the Pacific Division Staff Health Lead, Susanne has been a driving force for recruiting, onboarding and training Disaster Health Service volunteers.
“When I first joined [the Red Cross]in 2009, my primary goal was to deploy to disasters. [In addition,] I also joined the Deployment Team and found great satisfaction in preparing our members to respond to a disaster,” she said.
Her teammates often say that she is a resourceful leader, always willing to try innovative techniques to engage and lead them to serve our community.
In recognition of her dedication, she was recently honored with the Clara Barton Award for Meritorious Leadership. Named after the founder of the Red Cross, the award acknowledges volunteers who have held several leadership positions throughout their years of service.
“It does feel good to be recognized for years of service. That said, anything I have accomplished has been with the help of my fellow volunteers. Disaster Health Services is more than a group of co-workers. We are a close community of friends,” she mentioned about her award.
“I think of the Red Cross as a lifelong volunteer job,” Susanne explains. “The interesting part of volunteering with the Red Cross is that it is rarely boring or routine. Every disaster is different, and it forces me to be creative, open-minded and effective for our clients and staff. It is challenging and gives me a sense of satisfaction that other volunteer opportunities do not provide.”
She also appreciates the slower-paced and routine opportunities that her current role provides when she is not involved in a disaster response. “These are the day-to-day jobs that keep the organization running,” she explains.
Susanne’s humanitarian spirit honors the Red Cross mission. The Pacific Division and the Northern California Coastal Region are proud to have leadership volunteers like her. Congratulations on your well-deserved award!