2010-2011 Season

How Business Skills Helped Turn Around the American Red Cross

 Gail  McGovern

Gail McGovern
President & CEO
American Red Cross

View Biography

Following a successful career in business, Gail McGovern took on challenges of a different kind in 2008 when she became president and CEO of the American Red Cross. She will discuss how the Red Cross erased a $200 million operating budget deficit in the midst of a recession, responded to disasters across the country and around the world, and how this nearly 130-year-old organization became a leader in social media and mobile giving. Gail McGovern will discuss what lessons non-profits can learn from business; and what the private sector can learn from non-profits.
  • Meeting Date: Thursday, December 09, 2010
  • Time: 11:30 a.m.
  • Location: The Westin Book Cadillac


Speaker Biography

Gail McGovern   
Gail J. McGovern was named President and CEO of the American Red Cross on April 8, 2008. Gail, who held top management positions at AT&T Corporation and Fidelity Investments, has experience running large organizations in competitive industries, and a track record for improving business performance and service delivery to the public.

Gail joined the faculty of the Harvard Business School in June 2002 where she taught Marketing to first year students in the MBA program and Consumer Marketing to second year students.

Prior to joining Harvard University, Gail was president of Fidelity Personal Investments, a unit of Fidelity Investments, serving 4 million customers with $500 billion in assets. In this role she had overall responsibility for Fidelity's retail mutual fund and brokerage businesses and was a member of Fidelity's Operating Committee. Gail joined Fidelity in September 1998 as president of Distribution and Services. Previously, she was Executive Vice President for the Consumer Markets Division at AT&T, responsible for AT&T's $26 billion residential long distance service and largest business unit. She began her career at AT&T as a computer programmer and moved up through sales, marketing and general management assignments, including chief strategist of AT&T's Communications Services Group and Executive Vice President of the $25 billion Business Markets Division.

Born in 1952, Gail received a Bachelor of Arts degree in quantitative sciences from Johns Hopkins University in 1974. She received an MBA from Columbia University in 1987. Gail received alumna of the year from both universities. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins University, the Board of Directors of the Hartford Financial Services Group and the Board of Directors of DTE Energy.

Gail was recognized by Fortune magazine in 2000 and 2001 as one of the top 50 most powerful women in corporate America.