The American Red Cross of Greater Idaho has added three new board members. Corey Cook, Melinda Merrill and Ann Riedesel have joined the humanitarian organization’s board of directors.
Cook is the dean at the School of Public Affairs at Boise State University. Before joining Boise State, Cook was the director of the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good at the University of San Francisco. The center oversees graduate programs in public affairs and urban affairs and works with government and nonprofit stakeholders to solve problems facing the university’s region.
He taught political science at USF, San Francisco State University and Rutgers University and holds two bachelor’s degrees in political science and peace and conflict studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and master's and doctoral degrees in political science from the University of Wisconsin.
Cook lives in Boise.
“I'm enthusiastic about serving on the board because I am eager to do what I can to support the Red Cross's critical role in international humanitarian relief and in helping communities become more resilient,” he said. “This means more than just being prepared for potential natural disasters or crises, it means working with public, private, and nonprofit partners to increase social capital and sustainability. This is a vital mission in Idaho, around the United States and abroad.”
Merrill is a partner with Eiguren Ellis Public Policy. She has more than 20 years of experience managing issues and crises for clients throughout the Pacific Northwest and provides Eiguren Ellis clients with media, reputational and crisis communications counseling.
Prior to joining Eiguren Ellis, Merrill was director of Public Affairs for Fred Meyer Stores for more than a decade, where she was media spokesperson and managed government affairs for the company’s more than 200 stores in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. She also implemented Fred Meyer’s multi-million-dollar donations, sponsorship, community relations and employee volunteer programs in the four states.
Merrill has provided reputational and media management for clients facing issues ranging from labor strikes, shipwrecks, oil spills, local government and real estate siting and planning issues, product recalls and importation of goods. She spent eight years in the Portland office of the international public relations and public affairs firm Hill & Knowlton. There she provided reputation and crisis management counseling for clients including grocers, cell phone service providers, economic development organizations, convention and visitors’ bureaus, electric utilities and the owners of the New Carissa, a ship that wrecked on the Oregon Coast spilling tens of thousands of gallons of oil.
Merrill earned her M.A. in journalism and mass communications with an emphasis in public relations from Kent State University, and a B.A. in journalism with a broadcast emphasis from the University of Montana.
She served on the Association of Washington Business Executive Committee; the board of Oregon Food Bank and as chair of its advocacy committee; and as president of the Board of the Oregon/SW Washington Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She was named to Progressive Grocer’s Top Women in Grocery list in 2014.
She and her husband live in Meridian.
“I’m honored to be a part of this organization that plays such a critical role in the health of our community,” she said.
Riedesel is the communications director for Fluor Idaho. She has more than 20 years of experience in communications and public relations in federal and state government, private industry and nonprofit organizations. She has worked with large government contractors – including Fluor, BNFL Inc. and EG&G Inc. – as well as two Idaho-based small businesses, North Wind Group and Portage Inc. She is experienced in strategic planning, internal communications, community outreach and media relations.
Riedesel also has significant nonprofit experience. She is currently the chair of the Idaho Falls Arts Council. She previously served as the executive director for the Tautphaus Park Zoological Society and has directed two successful Blue Angels air shows, as well as supported planning for three other air shows. She has served on numerous nonprofit boards including the Idaho Falls Community Outreach Center, Grow Idaho Falls, Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, Butte County Incubation Center and the Partnership for Science and Technology.
Riedesel has a B.S. in Communications from Idaho State University. She lives in Idaho Falls.
“Working with the Red Cross provides an opportunity to be involved with an organization that serves people from all walks of life when they need assistance most,” Riedesel said. “It also provides a unique opportunity to be involved with an organization that serves at a local, regional and national level.”
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. The Red Cross depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/idaho or facebook.com/redcrossidaho.