Spotlight On Excellence: Dr. Anngie Johnson

By Shannon Randol, intern contributor, American Red Cross

The Diversity Ambassador Award recognizes volunteers and employees who significantly contribute to making the Red Cross a diverse and inclusive organization. The nominee must demonstrate an extensive personal commitment and leadership in promoting diversity in any area of Red Cross operations.

Originally from Wichita Falls, Texas, Anngie attended Texas Women’s University (TWU) where she got her bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in chemistry. She complemented her academic studies with work tours at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

NASA wanted more women in the work place and went to TWU looking for the perfect candidates. Anngie joined the co-op, working one semester with NASA, the next semester at college and so forth. She almost missed the opportunity of a lifetime because she said her parents “wouldn’t have their daughter living alone or in Houston for that matter.”

“Thankfully my aunt agreed to let me stay with her in Houston, and I could continue my work tours,” said Anngie.

As a minority female working in a male dominant job with NASA, adversity was a familiar hurdle for her.

She continued to develop new skills, knowledge and expertise, including earning two master’s degrees: one in Industrial Management (University of Houston at Clear Lake) and the other in Information Systems Management (George Washington University).

After the horrific attacks on September 11, 2001, Anngie became a volunteer with the Red Cross. She had witnessed the Red Cross during relief operations for Hurricane Andrew, as well and she said she heard her calling.

Her determination to help those in crisis led her to pursue a Doctorate of Science in Engineering Management with a specialty in Emergency Management from the George Washington University Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management.

Dr. Anngie Johnson is more than just qualified to win the Diversity Ambassador Award, she has made herself renown in her field. After she retired from NASA, she took a job with the Red Cross in November of 2011 as Senior Disaster Manager for the Red Cross, Dallas chapter.

From the beginning, she made an effort to go out to communities and show the diverse neighborhoods of Dallas that the Red Cross is here for all of its citizens. When she first came to the Red Cross, there was only two minority co-workers on her floor, and after a few months they left, disgruntled.

“My goal was to make huge strides with diversity,” said Anngie. “I finally managed to convince my church!”

Anngie had a meeting with the pastor at her church and, and she was running late. She had been responding to an apartment fire, affecting a large amount of senior citizens. After finally making it to the church, hair charred with smoke and clothes reeking of soot, she apologized for her tardiness, he said, “Okay, I see you out there.”

Serving people is something she does regularly with passion. She was named Outstanding Woman of the Decade in 1977, and in November 2005, she co-authored a chapter in “Success Strategies of Women in Science”.

Her efforts to inspire women to achieve professionally in science and technology haven’t gone unnoticed, either.

Anngie Johnson has spent and continues to spend her life’s purpose to expanding her reach and inspiring the people she comes in contact with to go out and achieve their dreams.

Dr. Johnson, the Red Cross thanks you and values all of your hard efforts.

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