With more than 25 years of humanitarian service with the Red Cross, Jill Orton is the Chief Executive Officer for the American Red Cross Nebraska-Iowa, which serves more than five million citizens with a workforce of around 1,700 volunteers and more than 50 paid staff. In addition to overseeing operations in Nebraska and Iowa, she also is responsible for three counties in Wisconsin, one county in Illinois and one county in South Dakota.
Jill is a Central Nebraska native with a wide-ranging Red Cross career. Prior to becoming CEO, she served as the Region Disaster Officer from 2013-2014. During that time, she served as Job Director for multiple disaster responses, including tornado and flood relief operations. Her leadership assisted the Red Cross in delivering food, shelter, comfort and care to those affected.
In addition to answering the call for help within the region, Jill regularly deploys nationally as part of the Red Cross’ Elected Official Liaison Network. She has served on disaster response operations around the nation, including Hurricanes Michael, Florence and Irma, Superstorm Sandy, Thurman (Iowa) Tornado and Missouri River Flooding.
She started her Red Cross story in the early 1990s as a volunteer in Hastings, Nebraska. Jill’s first paid Red Cross position came in 2000 as part of the Training Services staff for the Heartland Chapter in Omaha and she became that program’s director in 2006. She then served as Executive Director for the Loess Hills Chapter in Council Bluffs, Iowa, from January 2010-August 2013.
Her honors include being an Alumni Cohort of the Red Cross Leadership, Education and Development (LEAD) program. She is a Rotarian, having served as president of the Council Bluffs Noon Club. Jill is an alumnus of the Institute of Career Advancement Needs (ICAN), Influence Defining Leadership for Women, Leadership Council Bluffs Class XXIII, and the Non-profit Association of the Midlands Executive Institute. She is a graduate of Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota, where she earned a biology and chemistry degree.