Connie Harvey never dreamt the Red Cross swim lessons she was enrolled in as a child would be the springboard to a career. Today, as the manager of aquatics technical development at the American Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, D.C., she is responsible for overseeing the development of Red
Cross aquatics programming.
Harvey received a degree in physical education from Berea College in Berea,
Ky., and in embarking on a career, thought she wanted to become a
Her early aquatics experience includes work as a lifeguard and
water safety instructor for the city of Coral Springs, Fla. Through
that position she became involved in the Florida Recreation &
Park Association’s aquatics branch, where she met some
influential colleagues and mentors.
Though her career path took her away from aquatics for a time, she
says, “my involvement always goes back to the Red Cross in
one way or another.” Harvey began her official tenure with
the American Red Cross in 1996 and credits her success to her
passion for the organization’s mission — and an ability
to listen to varying points of view.
Last year the Red Cross released a Swimming and Water Safety
program, and Harvey was responsible for its technical development.
Additionally, she’s project manager for the new “Home
Pool Essentials: Maintenance and Safety” course, developed
collaboratively with the National Swimming Pool Foundation.
Looking ahead, she’ll be managing the development of
revisions to the Red Cross Lifeguarding program. Overall, her goal
is to make sure all programs and training materials are grounded in
science and translate technical language “into training
programs that people can relate to and understand.”
Harvey is not only influential in shaping programming, but in
spreading the message of water safety to the public. She is a
member of the Drowning Prevention Commission of the International
Life Saving Federation, and has appeared as a Red Cross
spokeswoman in print and television news programs.
“It’s an amazing opportunity and an awesome
responsibility to inform people about how to be safe,” Harvey
says. “Especially in aquatics, we can have such a direct