Friday, January 30, 2009


I can't believe January is almost gone... Do you have anything to show for?

If you don’t, you might want to get your agendas out and take note. After you recover from the Super Bowl (guys from your hangovers and ladies from picking up our mess), get ready to mark your calendars. The Auxiliary Board of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago hosts a series of social mixers, held quarterly, at some of Chicago’s hottest venues with some of Chicago’s sassiest young professionals.

Raising much-needed funds, Flirting for Disaster supports the work of your local Red Cross as we respond to disasters in Chicagoland every day. But don’t think you’ll need to shell out major cash. Attending these events will cost you no more than an average night on the town – actually, less. Since everything is donated – the booze, food and venue – all the proceeds go to our Chapter.

See below for some of our upcoming events, and please join us and this way, you can talk about some of the stuff you did over the weekend (at least the part about going to a Red Cross mixer), whatever happens after that, you can keep to yourself. Also, purchase Mission Red tickets at a 50% discount at these events (ask Auxiliary Board members).

Heart V-Day
Feb. 5, 2009
3458 N. HalstedChicago
Buy Tickets Here
Learn more about the event here.

Coming soon...
Coqueteo con PrĂ³posito
March 19, 2009
1960 N. Clybourn Ave.Chicago

Herald the Arrival of Spring!
May 14, 2009
222 W. Chicago Ave. Chicago

As part 4 of our 25 part introduction of our Auxiliary Board, I present our fourth profile: the lovely Angela So – my WPP colleague, and Member of the Auxiliary Board.

Angela So: Angela loves telling people she's from the Greatest City in the World (yes, Chicago). She is the Central Regional Manager for OgilvyAction, founding member of OA's Leadership Committee and recently graduated with an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Loyola University Chicago. Angela also teaches Cycling for Equinox. One of her goals is to reach 500 contacts on LinkedIn (she's halfway there...). Connect with Angela here.

So long for now, and join us again next Friday for our next edition of HAPPY FRIDAY!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tips to Melt Our Frozen Chicagoland Hearts

Are you sick of the cold yet, Chicagoland people? I sure am. While other parts of the country are just starting to gear up for snow (we hear you grumbling, St. Louis), most of us here are ready for winter to be over. (Officially spring begins on March 20, but we know how laughable that is.) Still, I can’t help daydreaming about how glorious it will be when I can step outdoors without my fuzzy scarf, big blue hat, a pair of ridiculous mittens and the Chicago Coat. You know the Chicago Coat. It’s the full-length, black puffy monstrosity that kills all notions of style or shape, but it sure does keep me warm.

Do I sound like a veteran of the Chicago winters? Well, I might be able to detect the difference between 20 degrees and 10 degrees below zero, but I’m not really an expert. The Greater Chicago Red Cross website still enlightened my frozen brain with nuanced winter safety tips. Say you were to get stuck in the snow in your car on the side of the road—would you really know what to do to stay safe and warm? What about safety while shoveling the snow—do you know how to take care of your heart while you’re flinging that white stuff off the concrete?

Take a gander at these tips, then do me a favor. Share your own winter safety tips here in the comments—how do you stay cozy during the long, long winters? Leave some hints that will warm your fellow frozen Midwesterners.

Monday, January 26, 2009

President Obama Wants YOU!...... To Serve

Last week, we shared with you our contributions to “A Day On, Not A Day Off” in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Historically, MLK Day has been promoted as a day of service, a call for Americans just like you to get out into the community and make a difference.

Today, we join President Obama in challenging you to make a commitment to service – not just one day but an ongoing effort to better your community, your peers and as a result, yourself.

Looking for ways to help?

We’d like to take a moment to discuss our program, AmeriCorps,and then we’ll share with you a few other excellent volunteer opportunities. Remember, volunteers come from all walks of life, and every effort has an impact.

Upon graduation, we both took an opportunity with AmeriCorps to answer this call to service.
AmeriCorps is a volunteer program, similar to the Peace Corps, where members devote a year of their lives to serving the needs of a community here in the United States.

Our specific program works in conjunction with the American Red Cross Disaster Services.
At the start of the program, we were trained in Disaster Assessment, Client Casework, Defensive Driving, Psychological First Aide, Disaster Response Workshop, Introduction to Disaster Services to name a few.

Our primary responsiblities include responding to residential fires and other weather related incidents within the city of Chicago and seven surrounding counties.
When we are not responding to fires, we spend quite a bit of time on the phone following up with those who we have assisted, offering various resources to organizations that assist in long-term recovery.

During our time in AmeriCorps, we also complete a special project of our choice. Sam, for example, is very excited to be working with International Services helping to create and administer presentations about the American Red Cross’s role in International Humanitarian Law at local universities and colleges.

Not only are we out in our community directly assisting those in need, but we are also given many opportunities for personal and career development.

As promised, here are a few of the many organizations found on President Obama’s new website,

Volunteer Match
MLK 365
My Good Deed
Citizen’s Corps
Hands On Network

This site details the importance of community service and the need for all Americans to particpate. It also provides links to local opportunities.

Visitors to can find volunteer events within their communities by following the“Find an Event” application.

No matter what you are passionate about, you can find a volunteer opportunity that suits your interests.

Get out there America!
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi

- Lily and Sam

Friday, January 23, 2009


Welcome to the Auxiliary Board’s weekly blog. If you’ve read our first two entries, your patience has paid off, and you’ll finally get the low down on what we do. In this edition, I’ll provide a brief rundown of the Auxiliary Board (as promised), list some of the events we have coming up this year, including our upcoming membership event next month, and introduce another Member of our Board.

The Auxiliary Board of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is a group of young, active professionals, promoting the mission of the American Red Cross through social fundraising events that support the Greater Chicago Chapter.

Members of the Society and the Auxiliary Board contribute to Chapter initiatives by joining committees that support several fundraising events we plan and host throughout the year, including a series of social mixers called Flirting for Disaster, our annual golf event called the Red Cross Classic Golf Outing, and our inaugural annual experience auction debuting this August, called Mission Red experience auction.

Additionally, members serve as Red Cross Ambassadors and build awareness of our mission among fellow civic-minded professionals, as well as supporting with Auxiliary Board and Society Membership.

With all of these great events and wonderful experience and exposure, there’s a five year cap to Auxiliary Board membership, so we’re always passing the torch to let new groups of young professionals take advantage of the tremendous opportunities available to Red Cross Auxiliary Board Members.

With an impressive group of alums in every field and industry, you’ll certainly run into former members at some point, and what’s true for American Express is true for us, “membership has its privileges.”

Attend our Auxiliary Board & Society Membership Event
Come out and learn how you can get involved. All are welcome, so bring a friend! Reservations are required. To register, click here or call (312)729-6134.

February 19, 2009
5:30 to 8 p.m.
China Grill at the Hard Rock Hotel
230 N. Michigan Avenue

Here’s our Member profile of the week, and the third installment of our 25 part introduction of our Auxiliary Board. I present the one and only Ray Padilla (a.k.a. Candidate #5) – my close buddy and Co-Chair of the Mission Red experience auction.

Ray Padilla: A product of Toronto, Ray has spent the better part of his life in a much warmer Chicago. His career has spanned roles in the high-tech and financial services industries and management consulting, and Ray can now be found navigating the labyrinth of cube farms at the Northern Trust managing a variety of banking operations or technology programs and efforts. One of many inspirational quotes: Sun Tzu, from his Art of War - "To ... not prepare is the greatest of crimes; to be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of virtues."

We hope to see you at the membership event next month, and look forward to sharing more about our Chapter and in our next edition of HAPPY FRIDAY!

Posted by Erick Laseca at 12:07 AM

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Flirt for the Red Cross this Valentine's Day Season!

The Red Cross Auxiliary Board will present our inaugural Flirting for Disaster with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender community in partnership with the Northalsted Area Merchants Association on February 5th from 6-9pm at Hydrate (3458 N. Halsted Street).
This is a great opportunity to sip cocktails with other Chicago professionals and flirt the night away at this loveable, Valentine’s Day-themed happy hour party!

The bar will be open for free drinks from 6-7:30 and special featured drinks by 10 Cane Rum, Absolut, and Budweiser will be all night long! The Kit Kat Divas will be performing and a leather fashion show by Shel-Don Chicago with eyewear by I.D. Chicago will show off the hottest trends of the season! Appetizers will also be complimentary and the first 100 guests will receive free gift bags.

Additional vendors from the Northalsted Area Merchants Association will be present offering specials and the Red Cross will be present to provide information on HIV/AIDS Awareness and classes.

All of the funds raised will go directly to support the Chicago Red Cross’ lifesaving services.
Get your tickets in advance for discounted pricing and express check in at the event! Tickets are only $20 in advance and will be $25 at the door. You can purchase tickets by visiting or call me at 312-729-6130.

I hope you will join us at what is sure to be a fabulous night of flirting fun in Boystown!

This event is part of a Series of Flirting for Disaster events, which take place throughout the year at hip, trendy venues where Chicago professionals can network and socialize, all while raising money for the Red Cross! You can learn more about our other scheduled events at and I hope to see you at an event soon!

Carli is happy to have been involved with the Red Cross for over a year, managing special events and fundraising activites. She also manages the Red Cross' Run Red marathon team and is a three time marathon finisher herself.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

John Is NOT a Hero. Nominate Someone Who Is.

Have you made a nomination for the 2009 Heroes Breakfast yet? You know you like breakfast (French toast, muffins, coffee, mmmm), so what’s the heroes part all about? Each year, the Greater Chicago Red Cross honors regular people from the Chicago area who have done selfless, great things.

Some heroic acts happened in an instant—rushing into a burning building to save a child. Other became heroes over time—volunteering hundreds of hours of community service. We’re looking for brave, kind, dedicated people who inspire us and reveal the potential for good that lies within everyone.

Not like John. John is NOT a hero. There’s goodness that lies within him, sure, but he’s certainly not letting it out. We hope this video makes you smile and reminds you to go make a nomination. Share it with your friends!

It's time to recognize a hero in your life. I bet you know some people who are changing lives in our community—teachers, police officers, mothers, students, friends. To learn more about the categories (which include Youth Good Samaritan, Nursing, Law Enforcement and more) and to make your nomination, visit

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

We might be rather cold here in Chicago but, imagine standing outside for hours watching the Inauguration in D.C. in similar temperatures! Don’t worry though; the Red Cross is on the scene for the event of the year.

The Red Cross in D.C. is helping to find people with hypothermia and those in need of first aid. Most important of all they are providing safety tips to stay warm in the cold. In their preparation video, Maya Chawla, a Red Cross employee out in D.C., stressed the needed to layer, utilize hand warmers, and wear hats, gloves and scarves. We hope the estimated two million people watching the Inaugural events are keeping warm!

President Obama...Honorary Chairman of the American Red Cross? The USA presidents began holding the title of Honorary President in 1913 (later changed to Honorary Chairman in 1947) thanks to President Woodrow Wilson. Learn all about the history of the Red Cross Presidents, Chairmans, and CEOs here.

Want to hear the latest from the Red Cross in D.C.? Check out these Twitters…Claire Sale from the mall and Laura Howe from headquarters.

Hey Chicago, its still cold here! STAY WARM!

Photo courtesy of Claire Sale/American Red Cross.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Day on Not a Day Off!

A very happy Martin Luther King Jr. day to all! To celebrate, volunteers from Hope Worldwide, AmeriCorps, and the The American Red Cross met in the south suburbs, Harvey and Riverdale, to hand out information on fire safety.

What are you doing on your “day on?”

Since we spent the morning sharing fire safety tips with some Chicagoland communities, we would like to share a disaster services experience from this weekend.

Yesterday, we met with a man who spent a lovely weekend in Ohio, only to return home to a disaster. His attic apartment had been completely destroyed by a fire that had taken place Friday afternoon. This is where the American Red Cross DAT team comes in; we provided this man with food, clothing and shelter to ensure his safety and well being in the days following his disaster. And now back to fire safety. The man stated that his home most likely caught fire due to a malfunction in a space heater.

Do you use a space heater?

Here are some friendly reminders when operating a space heater in your home:


Fires and burns caused by contact with or close proximity to the flame, heating element, or hot surface area.

Fires and explosions caused by flammable fuels or defective wiring.

Indoor air pollution caused by improper venting or incomplete combustion of fuel-burning equipment.

Carbon monoxide poisoning caused by improper venting of fuel-burning equipment.


Select a space heater with a guard around the flame area or the heating element.

When selecting a heater, look for one that has been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.

Buy a heater that is the correct size for the area you want to heat.

Read and follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions.

Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

Keep doors open to the rest of the house if you are using an unvented fuel-burning space heater.

Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or leave the area.

Never use or store flammable liquids (such as gasoline) around a space heater.

Place heaters at least three feet away from objects such as bedding, furniture and drapes. Never use heaters to dry clothes or shoes. Do not place heaters where towels or other objects could fall on the heater and start a fire.

This information was found in a report on space heater safety done by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. More information can be obtained at their site by following this link:

- Lily and Sam

Friday, January 16, 2009

Happy Friday!

If you’re like me – which according to my humble yet self-gratifying assessment, most of you probably are – you’re thinking about ways to grow: get your name out there, grow your career, expand your network and build your brand.

As a young professional and an ambitious urbanite that eats, breathes and sleeps aspirations of growth, I can attest to the many opportunities available to do all of the abovementioned items, and even have fun in the process.

At the risk of sounding like Richard Simmons, or Tony Robbins (yes, I quoted Richard Simmons…don’t judge), I believe we can all reach our potential and accomplish some of our most ambitious goals if we surround ourselves with like-minded people and learn and network from those who have been at it for some time. And if sounding like Richard wasn’t bad enough, I almost just sounded like my mom, so enough of that!

But seriously – and I promise I’m going somewhere with this – without overstressing the “who you know” creed, your rolodex and interpersonal relationships open doors, and with that, I turn to the point of this roundabout discussion about your personal brand: community involvement. The beauty of becoming personally involved in your community is akin to how major organizations participate in corporate social responsibility programs, and the result is that everybody wins.

Without corporate participation in some of the longest-running aid programs throughout the world, much of the good deeds that have widespread impact would not be possible. And you could argue that these organizations have much to gain through their involvement in such charitable deeds – and you’d be right. But so do the recipients of such benevolent acts.

The reciprocity of charity is what makes this undertaking such a gratifying and beneficial experience for all involved. Those who participate, network with colleagues and high-level donors throughout our business community; learn team-building and professional management skills through the planning and execution of various campaigns; associate their names with global, non-profit megabrands that have strong ties at the highest of levels (with status in some cases comparable to countries, from a brand equity perspective); and most importantly, find a rewarding outlet in which to accomplish all of these goals, while being surrounded by the community’s most influential citizens.

Now that we’re all knee deep in… (ya’ know) the “philosophical self-reflection” I just served up, let’s not forget that I’m living the benefits of such involvement as a member of the Auxiliary Board of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. I’ve met some of the brightest, coolest and most well-connected people through the Auxiliary Board that I ever imagined. I’ve grown in my short involvement with the Board in myriad ways, and I can’t tell you about how rewarding my contributions are to me.

And with that, even though I promised to reveal more about what the Auxiliary Board “actually does” per my last post, I’ll end our discussion here, and in “cliff hanger” style, will sign off. C’mon, you didn’t think I’d go all the way on our second encounter. I’m not that kind of blogger.
As part 2 of our 25 part introduction of our Auxiliary Board, I present our second profile: the lovely Maureen Mulvihill – my good friend, the Chair of the Auxiliary Board and a terrific gal.

Maureen Mulvihill: Maureen is a personal and professional philanthropist, supporting the incredible work of the American Red Cross as Chair of the Auxiliary Board and through her day job as Community Affairs Manager for W.W. Grainger, Inc., a B2B distributor of industrial supplies. When she's not volunteering, Maureen can be found on the dance floor, exploring foreign countries or eating at her favorite sushi spot - Coast.

So long for now, and join us again next Friday where I’ll continue to reveal what the Auxiliary Board does and probably say something concrete this time.

Posted by: Erick Laseca Friday, January 16 at 12:02 a.m.

Monday, January 12, 2009

DAT Weekend Update

Looking for new and exciting ways to spend your weekend? Throw away the RedEye (actually, please recycle) and get off Metromix.

Here’s a little taste of a weekend with the Disaster Action Team:

Sunday morning, I was woken up around two in the morning with a call from dispatch, advising of a fire on S. Holman. I took a quick look at my schedule, called Sam and we were on our way.

Arriving at the scene of a fire is always a bit unnerving.
This fire in particular greeted us with lights from a dozen fire trucks and police cars that lined the street and cross street.

When the Red Cross Disaster Action Team arrives at a residence that caught fire, there are several steps we take.
First, we check in with the fire department and get any and all information that we can about when and where the fire started and how many people were affected.
Then, we locate the families of the affected buildings or units and ask them to walk us through their home.
From there, we can assess the damage to determine what kind of assistance we can provide – this includes things like food, clothing and shelter to medicine and infant supplies.

Fortunately for my teammate and myself, we were greeted on scene by two rock star volunteers who passed along all the information they had gathered.
We were looking at three single family homes; a fire had started in the middle home and communicated to both homes on either side.
As soon as Sam and I got the “Ok” from the fire department to go inside the homes, we began our assessment. About a half hour later, we had assisted eleven people with food, clothing and shelter for the evening – and a couple of teddy bears for two very brave little boys.

We left the scene about six o’clock in the morning with both heavy hearts and a feeling of satisfaction of fulfilling the mission of a truly great organization: The American Red Cross.

A little bit about us:
Lily Pavone and Sam Gieryn are two of the Disaster Services five AmeriCorps members this year.

AmeriCorps is a volunteer program, similar to the Peace Corps, where members devote a year of their lives to serving the needs of a community here in the United States.

We specifically are working with the Disaster Action Team in Chicago, serving the city and six surrounding counties.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Help the Red Cross Help You

I am fortunate to say that I’ve never had a fire in my home, though one day I could. My home hasn’t been terribly flooded, but one day it could. I’ve never needed CPR, but one day I might. Even though I’ve never needed Red Cross help after an emergency, the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago has been there for me in more ways than one. It has helped my career.

I began as a Bilingual Public Relations intern, and then I became a volunteer for the Marketing and Communications department. Since I began my involvement with the Red Cross, I knew it was a place where I could learn, network and strengthen and develop new skills.

Helping out is not only fun and looks great on your resume, but it’s easy. Find something you like to do or something you’re good at, and the Red Cross will be able to benefit from your time. I expressed my interest and availability and next thing you know it I’m posting a blog once a week. When I tell people (old professors, colleagues, friends) that I continue to stay involved with the Red Cross, they are very impressed. Anything that you do to help the Red Cross (no matter what your major was in college) can be a learning experience and just as importantly, will going to help many others.

I hope I can motivate you to consider putting your gifts and talents to good use, I know it’s something I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to do, so should you! To learn more, visit

Amerit Del Rio is a volunteer at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.

Happy Friday! Welcome to the Auxiliary Board's Weekly Blog

Happy New Year! And Happy Friday! As the first (conscious) Friday of 2009, I welcome the American Red Cross of Chicago’s blog readership to the seminal installment of the Auxiliary Board’s “Happy Friday” weekly blog.

To live in a big city and be young means to Tweet, to Facebook (yes, it’s also a verb), to instant message, to text and to blog. It doesn’t take long to run into young Chicagoans on their smart phones checking stock quotes (plummeting at the moment), G-chatting or AIMing to their hearts content. Some among us are clandestine celebrities on Twitter and some of us even have our own websites and blogs. You can find a blog for every group or topic imaginable (just type in whatever search term comes to mind and you’ll find a community that toils over every aspect of that…whatever that is).

As a member of the Auxiliary Board of Chicago’s American Red Cross chapter, I’m proud that our Chapter is part of this long-running revolution and has developed a very robust blog with dynamic functionality and a very user-friendly interface. What I’m concerned about, though, and have taken the first step with this entry to put an end to, is that the youngest members of this organization’s ranks – the tech-savvy, vibrant youth of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago – has not yet contributed to our Chapter’s blog! No more!

We are joining this revolution and have a lot to talk about. We want to share our thoughts and open our hearts and minds. We want to talk about our charitable efforts throughout the community and our weekend, beverage-assisted adventures with our buddies, spouses and/or significant others. We also want to share some lessons from our professional lives that may apply and serve our readers. From now on, our merry band of social philanthropists will post a blog entry every Friday, headed by yours truly, in the hopes of informing you of our goings on, sharing our varied workplace perspectives and entertaining you in the process.

For now, I’ll leave you with the first member profile of our Auxiliary Board - mine - and profile one member each Friday until all 25 are introduced.

Erick Laseca: Erick is a grad student at Northwestern University, PR Director of his marketing program’s academic journal, and a media specialist in Burson-Marsteller where he is a founding member of both BM’s U.S. Diversity & Inclusion Council and Marketing Committee. He serves as Marketing Co-Chair for the American Red Cross of Chicago’s Mission Red experience auction and enjoys traveling, reading and quiet time. Personal motto: Dance like nobody's watching; sing like nobody's listening; and run like you stole something.

Join us next Friday when I’ll write a little about what the Auxiliary Board actually does and what we have coming up for 2009.

Posted by: Erick Laseca Friday, January 9 at 8:57 a.m.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Red Cross Collaborates For Relief Effort in Gaza

After following the news closely for the past 10 days or so, it has become more than apparent that there have been serious consequences for the civilians caught in the middle of the Gaza conflict.

I feel hopeful and empowered knowing that there are international humanitarian organizations, such as the Red Cross and its sister societies, that are actively laboring in solidarity with each other and in common respect for human dignity despite the challenging conflicts that lay before them.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has been working in close conjunction with the Palestine Red Crescent Society and Magen David Adom, who are each responding to the affected populations and civilian causalities within their respective regions. Together, they are all making a difference.

On the home front, the American Red Cross has pledged to contribute approximately $250,000 in support of humanitarian aid of the International Committee of the Red Cross. With the situation abroad is becoming increasingly more dire, the financial contributions of the American Red Cross will go toward providing the much needed water, medicine, medical support, as well as hospital supplies. Additionally, the American Red Cross continues to stay informed and involved with the efforts International Committee of the Red Cross as well as its sister societies abroad, prepared and available to help.

If you would like to continue to stay conscious and further educate yourself on the role of organizations such as the Red Cross during armed conflicts, take a class! The American Red Cross offers some interesting courses on Humanitarian Law for both youth and adults to foster dialogue and understanding of the basic principles of human rights. Learn more about these courses here.
(Photo courtesy of