Phoenix Symphony Selects a New Female President and CEO

The Phoenix Symphony has selected a new president and CEO to replace Jim Ward, who is retiring after leading the organization since 2011.

Effective Jan. 21, Suzanne Wilson will take over the nonprofit organization, as Ward pursues work in the private sector.

Coming from New York City, Wilson previously served as executive director of the Midori Foundation, which provides music education to NYC public school students in underserved communities. She also served as chief of staff for the New England Conservatory in Boston.

Before that, Wilson was director of the Office of External Affairs and Partnerships for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, as well as vice president of education and community engagement for the Celebrity Series of Boston.

With a background in performing arts as a singer, Wilson completed Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program, Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management.

She was selected after the symphony conducted a nationwide CEO search.

Molly DeFilippis, who is the new board chair of the symphony, said she is impressed with Wilson’s leadership and what she will bring to the organization.

“We are also grateful to Jim, who has kept music alive in this community during his tenure,” DeFilippis said in a statement.

DeFilippis succeeds Dr. Oliver Harper as board chairman. She is the second woman to chair the symphony’s board in its 73 years, with Jeanne Herberger being the first.

Founded in 1947, the Phoenix Symphony is among Arizona’s largest performing arts organizations, presenting classical and pops concerts at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix. It also performs concerts throughout the Valley, as well as performing for more than 125,000 students through its health and wellness programs.

With a $2.9 million budget in 2018-2019, the symphony ranks No. 11 on the Phoenix Business Journal’s list of cultural-educational nonprofit organizations.

Click here for more information on the Phoenix Symphony.


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