October 17, 2016

Job Posting: American Red Cross

The U.S. humanitarian organization has opened a search for its next Ombudsman. The position (which is no longer titled, 'Corporate Ombudsman') will oversee and direct a restructured ARC Corporate Ombudsman Program, "including representing the confidential concerns and complaints of employees, volunteers, donors, service recipients, suppliers, partners and the general public about alleged acts, omissions, improprieties and system problems with the American Red Cross."
The Ombuds serves under the authority of the President/CEO and the Congressional Charter of the American Red Cross and now will report to the Vice President, Office of Investigations, Compliance and Ethics. This is a remote, work from home position, and travel from the Red Cross headquarters in Washington, DC may be required.  For the past seven years, the Corporate Ombudsman has been Kevin Jessar.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field; at least ten years of progressive experience in conflict resolution, investigations, organizational development, dispute resolutions, or HR; and seven years supervisory/management experience.  An advanced degree and IOA certification are preferred. No salary or deadline provided.  (Red Cross Posting.)

Related posts: American Red Cross Appoints Deputy OmbudsHarvard Law Students Assist Red Cross Ombuds Office With Strategic Research; Red Cross Issues Second Annual Report; IOA Launches Internet Radio Show; American Red Cross Hires Associate Ombuds; Job Posting (Deputy); Additional Info Clarifies Chronicle of Philanthropy Article About Red Cross Ombuds; Sen. Grassley Asks Red Cross for Ombuds Data Related to Haiti Quake Relief; American Red Cross Ombuds Posts 2015 Annual Report.


  1. If the American Red Cross so strongly supports a program consistent with IOA standards, then they should engage with IOA to ensure their program (and primarily their new reporting structure) in fact aligns with standards. (Hint...it doesn't) Their strong desire for someone to be "certified" within 90 days would be impossible if the new alignment itself would prevent the incumbent from becoming certified (which takes over a year of practice anyway) and could result in the loss of this credential from anyone already certified.

  2. Any thoughts on this reporting chain? Is this more akin to an executive ombuds?

    1. I still don't know enough about the reported restructuring of the program, but you will note that I tagged this post as an "External/Executive Ombuds" because of the duties and reporting line. I also agree that some of the aspects of the job seem incompatible with IOA certification (CO-OP).

  3. This job posting has disappeared from the Red Cross website as of Oct. 21st! What is going on?

  4. The American Red-Cross Ombuds Program has faced a long term struggle with clarity of purpose and definition.

    Senator Grassley, who has championed several classical ombudsman programs was the driving force in the creation of this program in the relevant legislation.

    The structure and execution was originally intended (and described in documents) - in my opinion - closer to that of a classical ombudsman or even an Inspector General. Translation by organizational leadership and errors in early program structure and execution created additional problems. Kevin has done a masterful job at running a quality program. But what was desired in the legislation and what was executed in the organization were not the same. ARC is a pertinent study in the challenges of building a fully aligned, embedded and integrated ombuds functions.

    Will be interesting to see where this goes. The pattern seems similar to many corporate programs where the ombuds function is becoming a piece of the ethics and compliance system.

    Years ago at the IOA conference in Arizona there was discussion about the fact that if a profession does not define itself it will be defined by others. The challenges faced at ARC demonstrate again the importance of the work of defining the ombuds function and being able to reasonably demonstrate the contributions and value of the IOA definition versus hybrids or alternative visions.

    John W. Zinsser
    Principal+Co-founder - Pacifica Human Commmunications
    Lecturer, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution - Columbia University

  5. It looks like this job posting was for show only, so they can claim the job was technically "posted". They must have someone in mind already because it was advertised for only a few days and then disappeared from the Red Cross website.