by Moxye Staff

The American Red Cross of Greater Cincinnati and Dayton has a new leader.

Stephanie Byrd has been named CEO effective May 7, succeeding Elvia Price who had served as interim director since February. Patricia Smitten, the previous CEO, retired in January after more than five years at the helm.

Byrd is currently the senior vice president for early learning strategies at United Way of Greater Cincinnati. She previously served as the founding executive director of Cincinnati Preschool Promise, a $15 million tax levy-funded preschool initiative.

“Stephanie has a wide breadth of leadership skills, professional experience and community involvement that make her an outstanding choice to become the new regional CEO for our local Red Cross,” Delores Hargrove-Young, board chair, said in a statement. “Stephanie has demonstrated throughout her impressive career the ability to effectively implement new, large-scale programs; inspire staff, volunteers and community stakeholders; as well as engage corporate sponsors, foundations and individual donors in a manner that delivers the mission of the Red Cross.”

Byrd is the first African-American woman to lead the local chapter.

“Stephanie has made tremendous contributions for the past 15 years,” Robert Reifsnyder, president of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, said in a statement. “She guided the Kindergarten Readiness movement in our region through coordinating initiatives like Success by 6 and the Cincinnati Preschool Promise. In this new role, she will continue to contribute to our region and we look forward to working closely with her.”

Prior to her time in the nonprofit sector, Byrd worked in health care, holding executive positions at Christ Hospital, Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati and the Drake Center.

Byrd is a member of the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council and co-chair of Groundwork Ohio, a nonpartisan education advocacy organization. She is a board member for Teach America, Greater Cincinnati and Nadherny Scholarship Fund, and member of the Cincinnati Chapter of the Links and the Cincinnati Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

The Cincinnati-Dayton Red Cross chapter dates to 1905 and is one of 60 in the U.S. It covers a 27-county region in Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana and employs 50 workers who serve alongside 2,000 volunteers. Each year, it responds to about 1,000 disaster incidents, providing assistance to more than 1,200 families; assists more than 2,500 members of the armed forces; trains more than 50,000 people in first aid/CPR/AED and water safety, and provides disaster education.

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