Jill Palmer leads the American Red Cross Florida Gulf Coast to Heartland Chapter as the Executive Director. 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.
A former healthcare executive, Jill is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a Master of Science in Health Science focused on health services administration, gerontology, and legal studies. She is a non-profit professional bringing more than 20 years of experience in volunteer management and community service. Prior to joining the Red Cross senior leadership team in 2017, Jill served as an active board member for the local Red Cross chapter heading the Volunteer Engagement & Mission Capacity Committee while working for Lee Health as the Director of Volunteer Services, Auxiliary Development and Arts in Healthcare. Recognizing her outstanding contributions and innovations in the field of volunteer administration, in 2015, she was awarded the Sally Sitta Commitment to Excellence in Volunteer Administration Award from the Florida Associate of Directors of Volunteer Service, Inc.
As Executive Director, Palmer supports a team of staff and volunteers who proudly serve more than 1.3 million residents in Collier, Glades, Hendry, Highlands and Lee counties. She serves as an ambassador in the community, working closely with community stakeholders, partners and the chapter board to educate and bring awareness and ensure the Red Cross goals and mission are effectively delivered.
Jill believes in giving back to the community and is an active volunteer with Community Cooperative; Jill also served five years on a United Way of Lee County allocations team.
From an early age she learned of the importance of volunteering and the Red Cross mission to alleviate human suffering. Growing up, Jill lived in Guam and the Philippines while her father served in the U.S Navy and her mom was a nurse volunteering and teaching life-saving Red Cross swim lessons and water safety. As a teen, Jill completed a Red Cross babysitting certification program.
Jill believes in the mission of the Red Cross and knows first-hand how the mission impacts and changes lives. She is a dedicated blood donor and has deployed multiple times in support of disaster operations across the country. In 2010, her family became disaster clients of the Red Cross when they lost their home to a fire in the middle of the night. After safely escaping the home with their two-young children, among the first responders were volunteers from the Red Cross.