One of many amazing aspects about the volunteers of the American Red Cross is how diverse and unusual each volunteer’s background can be. That is certainly the case of Mrunmayee Pradhan, who began volunteering with the Missouri-Arkansas region three years ago. Timing is everything: she moved from India to the US in 2019, eventually settling in the Bentonville, Arkansas, area.
“My husband works for Walmart and we fell in love with the Natural State,” she said. “Ever since my childhood I have heard about Red Cross initiatives during various national and international disasters. I have always appreciated the selfless assistance the Red Cross provides in making the world a better place, and I wanted to be a part of this.”
Mrunmayee received a law degree from the university of Mumbai, India, and for many years had a thriving legal practice there managing 16 lawyers focusing on real estate and other large project financing. She broadened her skillset by mastering data analysis tools from Google, Microsoft, and Tableau and began using them for large scale workforce management and tracking applications. “What specifically piqued my interest was the insights you can derive from looking at huge amounts of data. In a way the Red Cross has played a very important role in helping me to pursue and expand my career interests.”
Mrunmayee has worked on several different Red Cross projects, including one where she built and analyzed a survey for better volunteer engagement and another for the Resiliency Project workshops and other events that are aimed at helping members of the military. “This project was a collaboration across military bases, veteran homes, and correction centers, all to help participants cope with their deployments. It involved partnering closely with facilitators before, during, and after the events.”
The workshops included training to help build communication skills and achieving calmness, both geared for veterans, caregivers, and their families. This program is part of the long-running Red Cross initiative, Service to Armed Forces. Each year, the Red Cross provides 471,000 services to active duty and retired military and their families, using more than 14,000 licensed mental health volunteers from around the world.
Because of the large number of attendees, her skill at data analysis was useful to create the best schedules and to decide which future events would have the biggest audience and best optimize volunteer engagement. “I helped build the survey instrument and then analyzed the results.” Mrunmayee is just one of many volunteers who are leading the way where data is a central focus for future American Red Cross efforts.
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