The American Red Cross of South Carolina announced the resignation of longtime CEO, Louise Welch-Williams effective July 10th, 2020. Her decision was made in February, but Welch-Williams chose to support the region through the beginning of Fiscal Year 2021.
“I’ve made a personal choice to resign as the Regional CEO of the American Red Cross for the South Carolina Region,” Welch-Williams said. “It has been an honor to serve our amazing Red Cross mission for nearly 19 years as paid staff and two years as a volunteer.”
Welch-Williams was born and raised in South Carolina and grew up in Kingstree. Her first experience with the American Red Cross was after Hurricane Hugo and became an active Red Cross volunteer again in 1998 after Hurricane Floyd. Since that time, Louise served in several different leadership roles not only across South Carolina, but in Washington D.C. at the organization’s National Headquarters.
In September of 2014, Welch-Williams was named the Regional CEO and served in that role ever since. During that time, she established herself as a trusted leader not only across South Carolina but the entire country. She has repeatedly led the organization and the South Carolina community through difficult tragedies like massive hurricanes, historic flooding and the Charleston Church Shooting. She also oversaw the region in significant victories including leading the nation with 78 lives saved through the Home Fire Campaign project.
“For nearly two decades, Louise has proven to be an extraordinary leader within the Red Cross. She has spearheaded several innovative projects, which have helped not only South Carolina, but the entire organization to better serve communities in need,” said Gail McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross. “At Louise’s core is service. We’ve been privileged to have her lead through multiple natural disasters with care, compassion and grace. She will be sorely missed by the communities in South Carolina and our entire organization. We wish her all the best, and we are grateful knowing that she will be a Red Crosser for life.”
As CEO, Welch-Williams was called upon repeatedly to pilot, test and plan the future of the organization. South Carolina was called upon to serve as one of three Beta regions in the entire nation to launch a new integrated community engagement initiative aimed at strengthening the organization while ensuring the most efficient delivery of all services. Welch-Williams lead South Carolina as the Alpha Beta for this new strategic model which has been used as an example for the rest of the country to follow.
Welch-Williams deployed dozens of times across the country to help in the American Red Cross’s national response to disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ivan and California Wildfires. She was able to bring lessons learned from those experiences back to South Carolina in order to improve and strengthen the local response to disasters by the regional team.
“I am very proud of what we have accomplished in South Carolina and I am committed to help make the transition for my replacement as seamless as possible,” said Welch-Williams. “It has been my great privilege to work with an exceptionally dedicated and skilled Red Cross team of staff and volunteers in SC and across our nation,” said Welch-Williams. “I could not have asked for more supportive donors, peers and partners across our great state and I treasure the friendships I have cultivated with each.”
A new Regional Executive has been named in South Carolina and an announcement is forthcoming.