Board Member Spotlight – Mike Gallagher

By Erin Thayse, American Red Cross Volunteer

Today,  Mike Gallagher begins his term as the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin Chapter Board Chair at the start of our new fiscal year.  We sat down with Mike to learn a little bit more about him to share with our volunteers and donors. 

Gallagher_MikeBackground

Current Location:  Schreiber Foods, Inc.  Director of Yogurt Strategy

Career History: Have been with Schreiber since 2001, prior to that was VP of supply chain for WG&R Furniture for 4 years and 2 years as a consulting engineer for HNTB Corporation in Chicago

Volunteer History: Have served in volunteer roles with the Boy Scouts of America, Schreiber Community Impact Team, Pop Warner Football, and coaching local baseball and soccer teams

American Red Cross

Board Member Since: 2008

Board Chair Since: Term starts July ‘13

Responsibilities/Duties as a Board Chair: As board chair I believe the chief responsibility is engaging fellow board members in the mission and fund raising goals of the Red Cross.  Ensuring that the many skills and interests of these volunteers are leveraged to create value for the people we serve.  The role also offers the opportunity to attend national briefings and share this information with our team.

Questions

How did you become Board Chair of the Northeast Wisconsin Chapter of the Red Cross?

Having been a member of the organization for the past five years and wanting to continue to add value, it was as simply as saying “yes” when approached by Steve Hansen, our regional COO.

 Since 2008, what has been your most memorable moment since joining the Red Cross board?

There are several, but the most memorable has been serving as the fundraising chair for Staci Kring, A Schreiber co-worker, in the 2012 DWOS event.  Being able to increase the awareness about what the Red Cross does in our community with 800 coworkers was a tremendous experience.  It was even more gratifying to obtain $47,000 in financial support and have many of these partners attend the event and continue their support for the Red Cross beyond the dancing event.

(l-r) Shawn Kiser, Special Events, Kate Burgess, Clara Barton Award winner, Jody Weyers, Volunteer Director, Mike Gallagher, Board Chair.

At our 2013 Spring Celebration of Support event. (l-r) Shawn Kiser, Special Events, Kate Burgess, Jody Weyers, Volunteer Director, Mike Gallagher, Board Chair.

What has been the chapter’s biggest achievement since you have joined the board?

There are several areas where our region shines: raising funds, wildly successful special events, and supporting the community and individuals in times of need.  However, I think one of the biggest achievements we’ve made is in successfully executing the consolidation and restructuring that has occurred over the past two years.  When I speak with a donor, I’ve always been proud to say that more than 90% of the funds donated go directly to the people we serve.  The efforts we’ve just completed will continue to make the Red Cross one of the most efficient and effective charitable organizations in the world.

What do you hope to accomplish by being Board Chair?

At the end of the day, our mission is to serve people in times of need.  As chair,  my focus will be on sharing the mission and working hard to support that mission by engaging people to donate to the American Red Cross.

Have you completed a full marathon yet?

It’s still on the bucket list… I’ve completed several half marathons, but haven’t found the right time to balance work, family, coaching youth sports and this goal.  I’ve also replaced a some of my running time with biking as my knees thank me the next morning 😉

Message from our 2010/2011 Board Chair

By Jody Weyers, Volunteer and Communications Director

June 22, 2010 Eric Witczak, Senior Vice President, Retail Banking Manager of Nicolet National Bank became the board chair for the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter. Having a couple of months under his belt as board chair, I sat down with him to see what his vision, goals and objectives are as incoming chair.

Eric has three main objectives: 1. Create more awareness in the community of the services and of the work of our dedicated volunteers.  2. Assist in recruiting additional board members and active participation within the board. 3. Get people to ask,“How can I help”?

“The American Red Cross has an incredible volunteer base that is dedicated to serving our community,” said Witczak.  

As coach of his 8 year old son’s football team in Pulaski, Eric experienced this dedication first hand this summer. One of the moms told him she had to go. “My son’s aunt will be here to pick him up. There’s an emergency and as a Red Cross volunteer, I need to leave to go help.”

“I was amazed by this volunteer’s dedication to serving our community, literally dropping everything going on in her life to go help someone else in need, said Witczak. “This is true humanitarianism.”

Because of this experience Eric believes we need to communicate better with the community on the amazing work our volunteers do every day.  We also need to remind the American people it is because of their financial generosity the Red Cross is able to provide the services we do in the community. We need people to continue to support us year long, not just in times of disaster.

Eric even dancing for a good cause! 2010 Winner of the Fundraising Mirror Ball Trophy for the American Red Cross Dancing with the Stars.

Eric hopes the volunteers, staff and board working together can all help bring greater awareness to the work the Red Cross provides in this community.

One of Eric’s greatest strengths is his drive and passion that he brings to any committee or board he is on. He would like to utilize those skills and his leadership in assisting to obtain additional board members.

“Everyone brings something to the table and we need to hit on that strength to have a committed, high energy, active board,” said Witczak. He recognizes that everyone is not a fundraiser, but maybe it is someone’s time, connections or a skilled expertise that is their contribution to the board to further the message of the American Red Cross.

By creating more awareness of our programs and services in the community, having a strong, active board of directors Eric hopes this will create greater funding for the organization. Funding is vital, because if the Red Cross is not there in times of disasters, who will be?

“I look forward to the challenges going forward and continue to communicate the One Red Cross message,” said Witczak. “The challenge I want to give people is what are YOU going to do to help? Volunteer, give blood, or give a financial gift today to support YOUR American Red Cross.”

Board Spotlight: Ray Kopish, Board Chair

Through community involvement and as board chair for the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter, Ray Kopish touches many lives. Since joining the board six years ago, Ray has come to recognize the needs of the community in a variety of ways.

“One of the great things about the Red Cross is its broad reach and the great number of lives touched through its many services,” said Kopish.”I’ve always felt it’s important to stay involved in your community and stay involved in areas you might not typically be.” Ray finds this helps maintain an understanding and sensitivity to the needs of the community. A community he is committed to being a part of.

Ray gets first hand experience knowing what the needs are with his position as Vice President at the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce. He is also involved in a number of local efforts including being founding board member of the Allouez Optimists Miracle League of Green Bay, acting as N.E.W. Curative Board member for 15 years, and serving as an Allouez Village Trustee.

Ray was born in Marinette, WI and, with his wife, Judi raised their three children here in Green Bay, WI. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Madison and during his time there he participated in the Big Brothers program. The program would be the first of many civic duties he would be involved in over the years.

Ray’s first experience with the Red Cross was over 35 years ago when he started giving blood. Since then he has come to respect the number of services the Lakeland Chapter provides to its service area beyond blood services. Other services include Transportation Services, Disaster Services, Services to the Armed Forces and Health and Safety Services.

 “All of these services reach broad segments of the population and by doing so they are assisting not only the community at large but also area employers, workforce, and more.”

Here at the Red Cross we see how Ray touches many lives with his commitment of leadership to the organization. With the help of Ray, the other 19 board members, staff and 450 volunteers the Red Cross has the resources to touch the many households in need. “It’s been an eye-opening experience to see the need across the Lakeland Chapter and the commitment of the volunteers.”