For the first 14 years of her life, Carrie Masters was in and out of homelessness, surrounded by drug addiction and relying on programs through UMOM and the Thomas J. Pappas School. She now is the newly-appointed, first-ever female CEO of St. Joseph the Worker (SJW), a Phoenix nonprofit with a mission to assist homeless, low-income, and other disadvantaged individuals in their efforts to become self-sufficient through quality employment.
“As an Arizona native who grew up in poverty and homelessness, SJW’s mission personally resonates with me,” shared Carrie. “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.”
Carrie came to SJW from LGE Design Build, where she spent nearly 20 years. As a young single mom in survival mode, she started as a receptionist. Carrie ultimately became Chief Operating Officer. Her time at LGE provided her unique insight into how to lead people. She sat in a variety of roles, understanding the perceptions, processes and procedures and how they impacted each other. Because of her background, her C-suite experience connected her to people much differently. She had walked in their shoes and serves as a mentor to many former employees.
“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,” Carrie said. “Because of people who contributed to nonprofits and the community, it allowed me the opportunity to do more.”
“Carrie joining St. Joseph the Worker makes it a year with even more reason to celebrate,” said Ritta Fagain, SJW Board Chair. “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!”
While 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. While at LGE, Carrie 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.
Carrie describes her younger self as “having a little spark in me that no matter what the circumstances, I was going to do something better.” Outside of work, Carrie enjoys spending time with her 22-year-old daughter and two rescue dogs. She’s learned to enjoy the simple things in life such as taking in a big breath of fresh air, smelling flowers while walking, traveling and learning about new things.