Dawn Lindblom

Dawn Lindblom '08

From: Sacramento, CA

MAOL Concentration: Strategic Management

Career: CEO, American Red Cross — Capital Chapter

Choosing the nonprofit world:
I had a "watch the clock" type of job. Then I got to Volunteers of America, and it was exciting. I was about 25 and I worked directly with the CEO. One day he said to me, 'Someday you could be sitting in this chair' and I thought, 'this is a $10 million organization. You're kidding me!'"

Finding her leadership abilities:
I did a nine-month leadership program for young adults and I fell in love with the study and exploration of leadership. Later I thought about getting a master's degree in nonprofit management, but I continued to be drawn to leadership, so I chose St. Kate's MAOL program.

On working and going to school:
On the one hand I had my educational experience at St. Kate's and the amazing people there. Then, I would go to work where I was able to share what I was reading and hearing in the classroom. I would ask my boss and colleagues, "How would you approach this?" I was in a constant learning mode, and I learned that what we should always be doing is questioning and exploring.

On leadership:
When you become a leader, you become responsible for board activities, finances and fundraising. If you thought about how much you are responsible for, you'd want to hibernate and never come out.

A rewarding job:
The American Red Cross truly resonates in my heart. It's my home. It's so humbling to be the person who takes on the responsibility for making sure we carry out our mission and how our employees feel about being a part of that.

Overcoming challenges with help from the MAOL:
"When I became CEO of our chapter a year ago, the morale was low. One of my responsibilities is to let my management team know I recognize all of them as leaders. I talk to them about MAOL's three legs of leadership. I tell them, we will fail and it's OK, but we also are going to have incredible successes. Now it's a completely different place. It's lively and our team is visionary."