By Gordon Williams
Every Red Cross chapter has a board of directors, with its members chosen to represent all the diverse elements that make up the community which the chapter serves.
Over the last decade, PEMCO Insurance has shared the expertise of their executives with the Red Cross humanitarian mission. Vice-President and Chief People & Brand Officer MJ Vigil is the latest PEMCO executive to sit on the King County Red Cross board.
There is an obvious synergy between the Red Cross and a property insurer. Both are in the business of working to prevent disaster and responding to disasters when they do occur.
The company is a personal lines insurer founded in Seattle in 1949. PEMCO’s customers live in Washington and Oregon. PEMCO provides protection for homes, automobiles and boats, for both homeowners and renters. That is the sort of property most likely to be lost in the sort of disasters the Red Cross most often responds to.
MJ’s work at PEMCO includes leading human resources, diversity and inclusion, ethics, social impact, marketing and communication, real estate and more. That leaves her in a unique position to be everything people – be they employees, customers or community members and partners.
That, of course, is just what’s wanted in a Red Cross board member — someone who can mobilize large numbers of volunteers to support Red Cross initiatives.
MJ’s earlier background in community service and forging tight bonds with the community is also what put her on the Red Cross board. MJ’s deep experience in a wide variety of organizational roles, combined with her passion for serving the community, makes her a great partner to further the Red Cross and PEMCO missions.
In her Red Cross role, MJ has managed the donation and distribution of first aid and preparedness kits to 1,300 low-income elementary school kids. She has also mobilized volunteers to aid two Red Cross initiatives — Sound the Alarm (installing smoke alarms in homes that don’t have them), and the Pillowcase Project (teaching preparedness to young students).
Alex Dieffenbach, Red Cross Northwest Region CEO, has very positive things to say about MJ’s role on the chapter board. “MJ Vigil has been an incredible addition to the board at the American Red Cross,” he says. “She is very generous in sharing her time and talents to help further the mission of our organization. MJ is always willing to help and to look for new, creative ways to support the Red Cross.”
Beyond what she has done for the Red Cross, MJ is also involved with the Forbes Human Resources Council, the League of Women Voters, and the Girl Scouts. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, she remains deeply fond of the region, She loves the natural beauty of the Northwest and takes pleasure in being able to work in a bustling downtown one day, and drop her kayak into the calming waters of Puget Sound the next.
PEMCO makes much of its position as a home-town business. PEMCO takes its role seriously when it comes to keeping our communities safe. There is a natural alignment with the mission of the Red Cross and the spirit of service and helping people in times of great need.