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Act One President & CEO Honored as One of 25 ‘Outstanding Women in Business’ by Phoenix Business Journal

Awards, In the News

Act One, Arizona’s leading charitable organization dedicated to providing access to the arts through student-focused programming and educator resources, announced that their CEO and President, Geri Wright, has been named one of Phoenix Business Journal’s 2019 “Outstanding Women in Business.”

2019 marks the 18th consecutive year that the Phoenix Business Journal has highlighted the community leadership, professional accomplishments and personal achievements of female leaders across the Valley. Nominees are pioneers in the business and non-profit sectors who have achieved excellence in their career. This year, the Phoenix Business Journal received 280 nominations; ultimately 25 honorees were carefully selected by panel of judges, which included previous winners and sponsors.

Wright was nominated by Amanda Kaye, an Act One Board Member and Partner at ckSYNERGY. “We are thrilled that Geri has been selected as an honoree; she is incredibly deserving of this accolade,” stated Kaye. “She is a skilled fundraiser and a passionate ambassador for the importance of providing educational arts field trips for students in our state’s most vulnerable schools. For more than 20 years, she’s been passionately working in leadership roles for non-profits across the state, and the work she’s done for Act One has been truly game-changing.”

In May 2015, Wright joined Act One, which provides field trips to the arts for students from Title 1 schools and executes the popular Culture Pass program. Under her leadership, Act One has more than doubled its budget and has dramatically increased the number of students it serves. During the current school year (2018 – 2019), more than 44,000 students will go on arts field trips coordinated and funded by Act One, while more than 500,000 Arizonans will have the opportunity to experience the arts for free through the Culture Pass, which is available in 60 libraries statewide.

“Geri has an inherent ability to identify people’s strengths and find ways to bring out those gifts for the betterment of the organization,” stated Kate Baker, Chair of the Act One Board. “Whether it’s staff, board members or volunteer committees, Geri builds teams that capitalize on each member’s strengths and gives people opportunities for innovation, growth and creative problem-solving. She mentors, guides and cheers the loudest for her teams, and works alongside them through successes and challenges. She ensures a passionate work environment where everyone is working to enhance the organization every day.”

Prior to joining Act One, Wright was Director of Development at Arizona Theatre Company. She also served as Regional Chief Development Officer for the American Red Cross, overseeing fundraising efforts, corporate and foundation partnerships, and individual giving programs for most of Arizona. During her tenure at the Red Cross, she started the region’s first Tiffany Circle of philanthropic women and led the team that established a partnership resulting in the largest unrestricted corporate gift ever received by the American Red Cross. She joined the Red Cross in May 2010 following 12 years at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, where she served as Director of Development. At the Heard Museum, she led numerous fundraising campaigns including the $7.8 million campaign to build the museum’s signature exhibition “Home: Native People in the Southwest.”

Wright currently serves on the board of ONE (Organization for Nonprofit Executives) and is active on the Sustainability Committee. An avid horsewoman, she served on the board of Camelot Therapeutic Horsemanship for four years. Geri is a graduate of Valley Leadership Class 34 as well as the American Express Nonprofit Leadership Academy. In 2013, she was honored as the Outstanding Fundraising Executive from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Arizona Chapter.

Wright will be recognized along with the additional honorees in the “Outstanding Women in Business” Awards Special Section, to be published in the April 5 issue of the Phoenix Business Journal, as well as at the 18th annual “Outstanding Women in Business” Awards Luncheon on Thursday, April 4 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

Learn more about the 2019 Outstanding Women in Business.