This week’s Meet a Mom interview is with Greenwich Mom Stephanie Dunn Ashley! This Cos Cob mother of 18-year-old twins is the CEO of the American Red Cross, Metro New York North Chapter. Prior to taking this position, she spent 13 years working as Director of Special Events at Greenwich Hospital. We spoke to Stephanie about her deep community involvement, how we can support the Red Cross right now, and more.
Can you please share a bit about your family and where you live?
My husband Gary, our daughters, Anneliese and Charlotte (18-year-old identical twins), and I live in Cos Cob. Our girls attended Cos Cob, Central Middle, and Greenwich High Schools and are now at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA. I moved to Greenwich from New York City, and my husband is from England, but we love that Greenwich is our home.
What do you love about your neighborhood, and the Greenwich community in general?
Living in Cos Cob, I love that we are in a walking part of town, with the beautiful Cos Cob Park at the heart of it. Living in Greenwich, we are so lucky to have some amazing resources in our town. Our twins were born prematurely and spent their first few weeks at Greenwich Hospital’s top notch Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). We have incredible people who work and volunteer to keep the town safe and who work so well together from Greenwich EMS, Police Department and Fire Department. We have beautiful beaches and parks. There is so much to enjoy about Greenwich, including the open spaces; beaches, trails, and parks, the community spirit, the small-town feel, and the ways in which you can participate in so many town offerings. The community is all about the people; we are lucky that this community is filled with such a variety of energetic, compassionate, heartfelt, and do-anything-for-you people. To be engaged with so many who have the talents and means to do so much, and help so many, is so encouraging.
How did you get to your position as CEO of the local Red Cross Chapter?
I graduated from Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City and from Fordham University. I started my career in hospitality but always had a hand in and passion for volunteering and fundraising, probably engrained in me from my Sacred Heart community service days. Just as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting, I was ending my 13-year career at Greenwich Hospital, where my love for our hospital stemmed from the incredible care they gave to our family in the hospital’s NICU. Almost two years ago, I started as CEO of the American Red Cross, Metro New York North Chapter. I am honored to work for an organization that has a reputation for enhancing lives and being there for people when they are most vulnerable.
What else do you love about your job?
The Red Cross mission and reputation provides a unique bridge of my personal and professional life. The Metro NY North chapter encompasses Greenwich, CT, Westchester and Rockland Counties and the U.S. Military Academy so we are busy! Our number one response is to home fires, but we provide critical services to our neighbors by helping survivors of disaster, recruiting and training volunteers to help us with this, assist veterans and military personnel and families, we collect life-saving blood at our newly renovated headquarters at 99 Indian Field Road, and we prepare our communities through CPR/AED training, lifeguard certification, babysitting training, and one of the favorite rites of passage to so many 4-5 year-olds, our SAFETY TOWN program, a comprehensive one-week safety education program where children learn safety tips and daily lessons from Red Cross staff and our community partners; Greenwich EMS, Police Department and Fire Department… for information, please email: [email protected].
When your girls were younger, how did you balance (or try to balance!) family life and work?
HAHAHA! Managing work, family, friends and community, takes a village. Having been affectionally called the “energizer bunny” means that I am always on the go. I rely on my calendar; if it’s not on there, it doesn’t happen. I need a morning workout to clear my mind and to have a glass of wine with good friends when I can.
You’re involved in many area nonprofits. Can you tell us a little bit about your biggest commitments?
As a Cos Cob resident, I think my involvement with the Cos Cob Fire Police Patrol is my most valuable service to the Town. This volunteer organization provides support to the Town of Greenwich’s Fire Department. Last year, the Patrol responded to over 1,000 emergency calls and each of our 30+ service members must train for over 100 hours to qualify for their part in the organization. My fellow volunteers and I donated over 5,000 hours to the town and its citizens through responses to calls, community outreach, support, meetings and training in 2021 alone. In addition to being a service member, I am proud to serve as President of the Board of Directors. I am also an EMT and in my spare time, I will volunteer with Greenwich EMS. GEMS has been an integral part of our town for 35 years, in addition to its lifesaving services, it also has a fantastic program for high school children. The GEMS Explorer Post – where my daughters served for four years, provides hands on experiences and educational opportunities including EMT Certification to volunteer on an ambulance. As a family, we support (and our girls swim) for Swim Across America. I am immensely proud of the fact that our daughters have done that for so many years, since they were 6. Not only do we support these organizations, and others, but we truly are passionate about all that they do for so many. Greenwich has a significant number of charitable organizations, doing such great work…many to choose from, and many to support.
How can people help the Red Cross right now?
There are many ways to help the Red Cross. Obviously financial contributions are needed, but you can also volunteer your time and donate blood/host a blood drive, and most importantly, take a preparedness class.
We love to support local businesses. Can you please share your favorite places to:
Workout – The Fitness Edge
Get your nails/hair done – Noble Nails in Cos Cob