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Red Cross is natural fit for Glenda Bobalik

October 28th, 2013 10:33 am by Katina Rose

Red Cross is natural fit for Glenda Bobalik

Glenda Bobalik, executive director of the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee, has spent her career working in the non-profit world.  

Her first job was with the Girl Scouts and she realized then that she enjoyed working in the non-profit sector. Bobalik started out as a volunteer for the Red Cross and has always embraced the volunteer spirit

“My first job with the Red Cross was teaching canoeing and sailing, a long time ago,” Bobalik laughingly recalls.

Over her 26 years of service with the Red Cross, she has worked in many areas, including volunteer management, disaster relief, education/training and community preparedness.

“The Red Cross has many opportunities for women,” states Bobalik. The organization truly embodies impartiality by offering equal opportunities for women to succeed.  Several women have led the Red Cross including the founder, Clara Barton, and the current CEO, Gail McGovern.

Bobalik’s entire service with the Red Cross has been in Northeast Tennessee and she has enjoyed working with the diverse people of the 12-county region she covers. She tells people that she lives in the most beautiful part of the country and enjoys calling Kingsport home.

Technology has been the biggest change for the Red Cross in recent years and she has stepped up to the task of helping other people accept the change and see it as an opportunity and not a challenge. It is a natural fit for her as she says, “I like challenges and enjoy being a problem solver.” 

The leading challenge, as it is with most non-profits, is the funding.

“I need to secure the funds so we can provide the needed services to the community,” said Bobalik.  

Another challenging part of her position is managing a workforce of over 500 volunteers.  The Red Cross office only has 10 employees and the rest of the dedicated workers are volunteers.

“That is our strength and where the Red Cross gets its vitality, but it also creates a different way of working.  We are completely dependent on volunteers and want to get them in the right position and meet their volunteer needs,” she explained.

“One of the most rewarding parts of the job is just knowing I work for an organization that takes the time to listen to people and can be there for others right after they have experienced a loss or a stressful situation. “ 

Flexibility and a variety of tasks, that vary from day to day, keep Bobalik busy and engaged in her role. But what has kept her in the non-profit world for so long? 

“I get to work with people who are committed to our mission and to this organization. It adds to the fun and fulfillment of the job.  I enjoy being with a group of people who care about our goals and share my commitment to the community.”

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