Katherine Kemmeries Cecala has a passion for volunteering and has committed her life to doing what she can to improve our community and help others. She’s driven by the idea that everyone has something to offer and can make a difference.
Cecala is the president of Junior Achievement of Arizona, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preparing young people to succeed in work and life by teaching them financial concepts and about the working world. Junior Achievement helps students see their own potential and provides them with tools to realize that potential, using programs that have proven effective and which Junior Achievement delivers efficiently by utilizing more than 8,000 classroom volunteers. Cecala loves being a part of this incredible organization that is making an important difference in the lives of 84,000 primarily low-income students in Arizona every year.
Cecala holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, an MBA and a law degree, and she has a diverse background in nonprofit leadership, healthcare administration, law, industrial engineering, utilities and business.
Prior to joining Junior Achievement, Cecala was the interim CEO/president for Friendly House, a 99-year-old social-service nonprofit with 125 employees and a K-8 charter school. Before that, she spent eight years as chief operating officer for Valley of the Sun United Way, one of the largest United Way offices in the country, and 12 years at Mayo Clinic Arizona, where she oversaw a staff of 350 and led all revenue cycle functions for an organization with an $800-million annual budget. She also has been a senior management engineer at two other large health systems and has practiced law in the areas of commercial and real estate transactions, business and employment law.
Cecala teaches masters level classes in philanthropy and nonprofit innovation at Arizona State University. She knows our community’s nonprofit landscape well, having served on more than 40 nonprofit boards, including the Arizona Humane Society, Vista College Prep, Maricopa Integrated Health System, Mountain Park Health Center, Arizona Women’s Leadership Forum, Upward Foundation, Valley of the Sun United Way, Arizona State Board for the Blind and Visually Impaired, National Council on HIV/AIDS, Junior League of Phoenix and Valley Leadership.
She has long been committed to being a mentor and throughout her career has played an active role in helping other women become leaders in our community. A fourth-generation Arizonan, Cecala lives with her husband, Rick, and their three dogs, all of which are rescues, including two failed-foster puppies.
Company Name: Junior Achievement of Arizona
Main Office Address: 636 W. Southern Ave. Tempe, AZ 85282
Phone: (602) 377-8500
No. of Years with Firm: 4
Year Established Locally: 62