FIR Interview: Jackie Mitchell, American Red Cross of Greater Chicago


The press release begins, "The American Red Cross is ‘burning’ people’s most precious memories to raise awareness about fire prevention during Red Cross Month. Home fires occur every eighty seconds in the United States, and the Red Cross responds to a fire every eight minutes nationwide. In less than 80 seconds, people can save lives by participating in an awareness campaign to help."

The Every 80 Seconds campaign, launched by the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, is a multichannel effort that virtually burns personal images from the Facebook pages of those who connect to the campaign. The desired result: a more personal understanding of the devastating loss that comes from a home fire.

80secondschicagotribuneIn this FIR interview, co-host Shel Holtz speaks with Jackie Mitchell, director of marketing and communications for the American Red Cross’ Chicago region, about the origins and execution of a campaign that exists almost entirely away from the Red Cross’ website, leveraging Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social channels. Partners are also an important part of the campaign. For example, visitors to the Chicago Tribune website will see the page burn up before their eyes, leading them to an invitation to visit the Every 80 Seconds campaign and witness their personal photos consumed by fire.

(Note: The audio quality on Shel’s track is less than exceptional; we were unable to filter out hotel room noise picked up the microphone. Sorry about that.)

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About our Conversation Partner

jackiemitchellJackie Mitchell leads marketing and communications efforts for American Red Cross of Greater Chicago and serves as a Red Cross national media spokesperson throughout the US by virtue of Red Cross deployment. With experience in the non-profit and Fortune 500 sectors, Jackie combines the best of international for-profit operations with non-profit purpose.

Jackie speaks in Chicago and nationally on how social media has introduced a unique opportunity to engage and mobilize a new kind of employee and volunteer – the ambassador. Most recently, she spoke at Ragan Communications Social Media Conference, PR/MKTG Bootcamp, Northwestern University’s FORUM, and the Social Media Club of Chicago. She is published writer and has received numerous awards and recognitions for her contributions to the writing, communications, and public service fields including the Illinois Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award and the American Red Cross Advance Public Affairs Team "Rookie of the Year."

Connect with Jackie on Twitter at @your_mssunshine.

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This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information:

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(Cross-posted from For Immediate Release, Shel’s and my podcast blog.)

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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