O’Connor House names new CEO

The O’Connor House (OCH) Board of Directors appointed Sarah Suggs Cheek as president and CEO. The nonprofit organization supports the legacy and vision of retired United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to promote civil dialogue leading to civic action.

“Sarah’s extensive experience in marketing and fundraising will benefit the organization tremendously and allow us to build on successful programs such as our Distinguished Speaker Series and Issues & Answers Forums,” said Steve Savage, chairman of the OCH Board. “Over the last year we have laid the foundation for our organization and Sarah’s leadership will take us to the next level.”

Sarah helped to establish the O’Connor House Distinguished Speakers Series and Patrons Circle hosting notable speakers such as former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev and Pulitzer-prize winning author David McCullough. “We look forward to an equally significant line up of speakers in 2013,” added Savage.

Sarah Suggs Cheek is a third generation Arizonan whose 25-year career in both the private and public sectors has taken her to the east and west coasts. Sarah previously served as senior vice president of marketing for Phoenix-based Pivotal Group and as national executive director for The National Women’s Hall of Fame in New York.

O’Connor House began as an effort to preserve the historic and longtime home of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and her late husband John O’Connor.  Prior to being appointed the first woman to the United States Supreme Court and during her years in Arizona a member of the State Legislature, Superior Court and Court of Appeals Judge, she hosted countless local, state, national and international leaders in the historic adobe home.  The O’Connor hospitality served to build consensus and collaboration among the diverse guests to explore, discuss and solve problems for the state and beyond.  In 2008, the O’Connor home was successfully relocated to the grounds of the Arizona Historical Society in Papago Park.

With this legacy of civility and dialogue, the organization’s mission evolved to embrace a renewed purpose, “Where Civil Talk Leads to Civic Action.” Today, the work of O’Connor House includes leading efforts to advance balanced, fact-based information and dissemination of key issues impacting Arizona and the nation. 

In addition, O’Connor House has elected six new members to its Board of Directors and appointed its Officers: the Board elected Steve Savage of Ballard Spahr as chairman; Rich Boals of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona as vice chairman; SRP Accountant John Evancevich as treasurer; and Peter Hayes vice president of public affairs of SRP as secretary.  New Board members include Deborah Bateman, executive vice president, National Bank of Arizona; Dr. Rufus Glasper, chancellor, Maricopa Community Colleges; Michael Rooney, Sacks Tierney Attorney; Lisa Urias, president, Urias Communications; Kari Yatkowski, founder of Haven Charitable Foundation; and Kathleen Zeider, community volunteer.