Mathes shares challenges faced by D.C.-area Red Cross

This week, Women of Washington hosts Aileen Black and Gigi Schumm sit down with Linda Mathes, CEO of the National Capital Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Mathes shared some of the general goals of the Red Cross across the nation and also touched on specific efforts that are being worked on in the Washington D.C. area.

“Our mission is to prevent and alleviate suffering in the face of emergency. And what we do about that is mobilize volunteers — the power of volunteers, and the generosity of donors, and that’s the real guts of what we do,” Mathes said. “In terms of our disaster work, our disaster preparedness, response and recovery, we’re helping people prepare for emergencies, we’re providing relief to people affected by them, and we’re helping people recover from them, every day and night in this community.”

The Red Cross may be best known as a responder to large-scale emergencies, but Mathes said its work goes far beyond national disasters. “Another challenge, I think, is that people are aware of what we do in terms of major disasters and elsewhere, but they’re less aware of what we do in their community,” she said.

Mathes discussed problems that are unique to the National Capital Chapter of the Red Cross, which exists in the same region as the National Headquarters of the Red Cross and assists with national events.

“In terms of the complexity of this area, there’s no other community like the National Capital Region,” she said. “We have a district and two states, there a numerous local and state entities, and the federal government. And our team has relationships with and works with all of them.

“What we do must be spectacular. We must be agile, and on it, every day, in terms of our ability to respond to whatever happens in this community, to engage and support our people.”

On what she wants to do next in her career, Mathes said, “There is so much work to do. I’m not done yet, truly every day presents new challenges and inspirations.

“I’m just very focused on this work and all of what we need to do to make sure this community is prepared, is safe, is engaged. That every household, every business is fully prepared, safe, and engaged. There’s much to do.”

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Gigi Schumm welcomes Washington's most ambitious and influential female executives to share their secrets to success. Contact Gigi at gigischumm@gmail.com. Subscribe to Women of Washington’s audio interviews on Apple Podcasts or PodcastOne.