The Phoenix Symphony Board of Directors has selected performing arts industry veteran Suzanne Wilson as the organization’s new president and CEO. Wilson will succeed Jim Ward, who has led the Symphony since 2011. Ward is retiring from the position to pursue work in the private sector.
Wilson has an extensive background in both the performing arts and education—the two primary missions of The Phoenix Symphony. She previously served as executive director of the Midori Foundation, a provider of high-quality music education to New York City public school students in underserved communities. She also served as chief of staff for the New England Conservatory in Boston.
Previously, Wilson worked as 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. She completed Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program, Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management. Wilson has a background in performing arts as a singer as well. She is a graduate of Kenyon College.
Wilson’s appointment was the result of a national search. The committee, led by Molly DeFilippis, board chair-elect, included representatives from the Board of Directors, musicians and senior staff. In addition, three community Ambassadors assisted with the interview process—Mary Jane Rynd, CEO of The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust; Dr. Steven Tepper, Dean of ASU’s Herberger Institute for Art and Design; and Neil Giuliano, CEO of Greater Phoenix Leadership. Ambassadors met individually with each of the finalists to provide their own perspective on philanthropy, higher education, the corporate landscape, collaboration and the economic impact the arts have within the Valley.
PHOTO COURTESY PHOENIX SYMPHONY