Chris Osborne lives by Rudyard Kipling’s words

Published 3:19 pm Monday, May 13, 2013

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

Chris Osborne lives by words from poet Rudyard Kipling: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you; if you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue…”

Chapman (contributed)

Chapman (contributed)

As the regional communications officer of the American Red Cross, Osborne understands the importance of keeping your head and talking with crowds. After 10 years with ABC 33/40, he has spent six years with the Red Cross managing its communications, outreach and media relations. He serves on the Project SHARE Advisory Board and is the government liaison working with elected officials.

One of his biggest operations was the April 2011 tornado response effort. He is a member of the Advanced Public Affairs Team (Red Cross national spokesperson team) and travels to large scale disasters like Hurricane Irene, working with national and international media. His longest deployment was spent in New York following Super Storm Sandy.

Osborne defines leadership as “motivating people to achieve a specific and worthwhile goal.” He says, “You must provide a platform for everyone to get on board and reach people on the level where they are.”

He said a delicate balance exists between experience versus technology and one must learn all they can scholastically, but never neglect to learn from others’ successes and mistakes.

Osborne was inspired by his father who was a pioneer as one of the first black men to receive an advanced degree from the University of Tennessee and to serve as a commissioner in Hamblen County, Tenn., where Osborne grew up. His father advised him in accounting, music, recreation, investments, education, travel and leadership.

Osborne’s job covers a vast amount of territory and deals with diverse groups of coworkers from board members and press to volunteers.

“The communication success or failure of the Alabama Red Cross is directly a result of my leadership and therefore, why I am still learning. I strive hard to push us continually in the right direction to fulfill our mission.”

Osborne and wife Tiffany have two children — William Christopher, Jr., and Olivia Grace.


Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a community columnist for Shelby County. She can be reached at