Friday, February 21, 2020

My Red Cross Story: Doug VanDyke

Meet Doug VanDyke, American Red Cross
Board Member, Chief Executive Officer of
Enquizit, Lifelong Volunteer, and Blood Donor
Written by: Clarice Nassif Ransom, Communications Volunteer

Doug VanDyke,
American Red Cross Board Member (since 2014)

Profession: Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Enquizit, an application development and cloud migration company headquartered in McLean, Virginia; other highlights include Amazon and Microsoft

Home: Ashburn, Virginia

Family: Wife, three children

Role models who inspired VanDyke’s volunteer leadership: LaRhea VanDyke, mother; Linda Mathes, American Red Cross Chief Executive Officer for the National Capital Region; and Teresa Carlson, former boss and former American Red Cross Board chair for the National Capital Region.

Volunteering is a lifelong pursuit for Doug VanDyke. “Growing up, my mother was involved in every local volunteer activity and Board in the community, and she would bring me with her, so I was exposed to volunteering at an early age,” said VanDyke. “I watched my mother volunteer and assumed volunteering is something you do as an adult—you give back to the community.”

Now, VanDyke is continuing his journey of volunteering by sharing his leadership skills as an American Red Cross Board member. VanDyke is proud of how the American Red Cross responds to disasters to help those most in need, including collecting and delivering blood donations; provides food, shelter, and safety after natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, or wildfires; and proactively installs smoke alarms in homes to help prevent home fires.

“When others are running away from a disaster, 
the American Red Cross is running straight at it - 
and they stay until it is resolved,” 
says VanDyke.


Since 2014, VanDyke has served as the chair for several American Red Cross events, from Salute to Service Gala fundraisers (which honor active duty service members and veterans) to the 2nd Annual Disaster Preparedness Summit in Washington, D.C., which was held on January 28, 2020.

“The Disaster Preparedness Summit addresses the disaster risks we face in the Washington, D.C. area and explores the impacts a significant disaster would have on our region,” said VanDyke.

“Our goals were for attendees to hear from experts who have real-life experience dealing with complex disaster coordination challenges and for attendees to leave with a better understanding of the hazards we face and how to prepare for and respond to disasters in their communities, organizations and households.”

In preparation for the 2nd Annual Disaster Summit, VanDyke had to rally fellow American Red Cross Board members to support it at a meeting last fall.

“It was a meeting with a lively discussion about speakers, topics, format, and location,” said VanDyke, who then agreed to chair the Summit.

“We were in the office of the American Red Cross in Fairfax; a blood donation center had just been added to the 3rd floor of the building. I was in a good mood, so I walked upstairs and the blood donation center staff were able to take me right away. I have O- blood type and am a universal donor. I have been told O- blood can even be used by premature babies. That is inspiring. Also, both my wife and my father have had open-heart surgeries that required donated blood. Someone before me was there to donate for them. I'm glad I can be part of the virtuous cycle and give to someone else who will need it.”

In the Fall of 2019, Doug VanDyke attended a meeting to plan the 2nd Annual Disaster Preparedness Summit in the American Red Cross office in Fairfax, VA; immediately after the meeting, VanDyke donates blood on the 3rd floor in the building's new blood donation center. 

Another American Red Cross leadership effort VanDyke was involved with was in 2018 when he was employed with Amazon Web Services.

“The American Red Cross, Voice Foundry, and our team at Amazon Web Services set up an emergency call center to help those impacted by Hurricane Florence,” said VanDyke.

“We had more than 100 Amazon Web Services’ employees who volunteered to staff the call center. We serviced more than 1,000 calls. Employees volunteered from around the world, even as far away as Singapore, to staff the call center and help those in need. Many of these calls were very emotional, helping reconnect loved ones.”

VanDyke’s leadership experience with the American Red Cross has helped him both personally and professionally.

“Personally, it provides me a channel to give back,” said VanDyke.

“I see direct results, and I can contribute through multiple channels. Professionally, it has helped me build a support network outside my company—people I like and trust.”

"Volunteering is one of the best ways people can feel connected to each
other and to their communities," according to VanDyke.

“There is more to life than making money,” said VanDyke.

“Volunteering is a great way to improve the overall quality of life in our communities. It is personally rewarding, by helping us learn skills and develop friendships. It is also valuable to the community by providing for needs that aren't being covered by government or businesses.”

As Chair of the 2nd Annual Disaster Preparedness Summit, Doug takes preparedness seriously and encourages everyone to have an emergency plan. If you don't have one yet, here's what you can do to prepare yourself and your family for a disaster:

Create Your Emergency Plan in Just 3 Steps

1. With your family or household members, discuss how to prepare and respond to the types of emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play.

2. Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and how you will work together as a team.

3. Practice as many elements of your plan as possible.

For more information about creating a family emergency plan, including templates to help you be organized, go to:

Make a difference in your community. Click here to become a Red Cross volunteer.

Click here to learn more about donating blood with the American Red Cross near you.

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