This article originally appeared in the Phoenix Business Journal.
A former construction executive was named the first woman CEO of Phoenix-based nonprofit St. Joseph the Worker.
Carrie Masters, formerly chief operating officer of LGE Design Build, was named CEO of the nonprofit focused on assisting homeless, low-income and other disadvantaged individuals in their efforts to become self-sufficient through quality employment. Masters worked for the general contractor for nearly 20 years, working her way up after starting as a receptionist.
Masters replaces Brent Downs, who resigned from his post last year after serving 10 years as CEO.
“As an Arizona native who grew up in poverty and homelessness, SJW’s mission personally resonates with me,” Masters said in a statement. “This provides me the ability to impact the community in which I lived in for a lot of my life. SJW has been around for 35 years and has a backing and following of clients who can rely on them. It’s exciting to work for an organization with a solid foundation along with opportunities for growth while being able to impact a massive community of underprivileged people.”
Masters spent the first 14 years of her life living in and out of homelessness and surrounded by people with drug addition. She relied on programs offered by UMOM New Day Centers and Thomas J. Pappas School.
“Carrie joining St. Joseph the Worker makes it a year with even more reason to celebrate,” said SJW board chair Ritta Fagain, in a statement. “This year marks our 35th anniversary. With Carrie, SJW has its first female CEO in its history. Moreover, Carrie’s personal and professional journey is the embodiment of the mission of SJW. We are lucky to have her leadership, personal ethos, and experience to take SJW on new paths. The best is yet to come.”
Masters said her upbringing as well as her background in operations gave her a unique insight on how to lead and connect with others.
“People involved in nonprofits such as UMOM served as role models and gave me the support, the love, the push to know there was something different,” Masters said in a statement. “Because of people who contributed to nonprofits and the community, it allowed me the opportunity to do more.”
While working at LGE, Carrie also served as executive director of the David R. Sellers Foundation, a nonprofit organization helping LGE Design Build to give back to the community. She also helped launch Creation RE/PE, an alternative investment and real estate development firm, serving as its COO. In addition, she launched LGE Design Group, an architecture firm and served as its COO.
The Phoenix Business Journal recognized Masters as a 40 Under 40 honoree in 2020.
Founded 35 years ago, St. Joseph The Worker offers free employment services and transitional housing.