What can’t she do?
By Sarah O'Neal
By Sarah O'Neal
Ms. Marcia Mintz’s red hair hits right at her shoulders, just barely touching the lime green suede blazer she wears. Her silver earrings match her necklace which matches her bracelet, providing a sense of coordination and organization. However, a quick glance around her office gives quite a different impression. Stacks of papers, pamphlets, and magazines cover nearly every inch of her desk, and, as she shuffles papers around to clear a larger space in front of her, she relocates piles to the tops of other piles, creating tall stacks that appear as if they could easily fall over. “The sign of a great mind,” she says with a laugh as she moves materials around and motions to her desk space, a slight New York accent present in her voice. After a brief pause, she laughs even harder, the corners of her eyes crinkling, and says, “Just kidding! The sign of a very busy woman.”
Ms. Marcia Mintz is a busy woman indeed. She juggles everything from handling responsibilities at her job as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix, to serving as a board member at Arizona School for the Arts, to being a mom and wife, and to finding time for herself to practice yoga. Despite the number of things on her plate, Ms. Mintz exudes dedication to and passion about everything she is involved with. “In order for me to join an organization,” Ms. Mintz describes, “I have to be really tied to the mission, and then you can’t get me to stop talking.” This is readily apparent as she describes her work at the Boys and Girls Club, an organization that provides students in elementary, middle, and high school with a safe place to go after school, a hot meal, homework help, and many fun programs. Although Ms. Mintz’s job is primarily focused on fundraising in many capacities and ensuring the organization meets budget goals to keep programs running, she shares that the children she helps serve are what really draws her into her work. “Our mission is to ensure that the kids who need us most have the opportunity to be productive, caring, and responsible, contributing members of the community,” Ms. Mintz states without breaking eye contact. It’s a mission she has delivered countless times but says with so much enthusiasm and sincerity, it is clear that she believes it.
According to an article published in Scottsdale Independent, Ms. Mintz has “over twenty years of nonprofit leadership experience.” When asked how she first became involved in the nonprofit community, Ms. Mintz pauses briefly, raises her eyebrows, and with a slight grin on her face whispers under her breath, “It was an accident.” She very quickly explains, raising her voice to its previous level, “I actually have an arts and theater background. I went to NYU,” pausing to pick up a white pen on her desk with a purple NYU insignia, “and I was the worst actress in the world, and I had an amazing professor who said, ‘You are terrible, but I think you’d be a good director.’” When Ms. Mintz graduated college, she was the first person in her family to do so. She worked hard to get a show produced “way-off Broadway,” as she describes it, but also had to find other sources of income. “I was working multiple jobs, bartending, waitressing, reception, whatever I had to do,” Ms. Mintz states, counting off jobs on her fingers, “when I heard about a job translating documents in Hebrew at the Joint Distribution Committee [a global nonprofit]. I did that job part-time and I was like ‘this is better than bartending,’ and I just honestly fell in love with the work.”
Ms. Mintz spent the majority of her early career with this organization, living and working in countries all across the world, from Cuba, to Argentina, to Lithuania, to the former Soviet Union. Ms. Mintz and the organization went to countries, assessed the needs in the community, and worked with locals to meet those needs in any capacity necessary. It was with this organization that Ms. Mintz discovered two of her passions: solving social inequalities through nonprofit work, and traveling. “I love to travel. I can’t get rid of that travel bug. I love other cultures and traveling and just immersing myself.” However, after 10 years, Ms. Mintz knew it was time for a slight change in career paths. “One morning, I woke up, and I had no idea what country I was in. I literally had to look on the night table and pick up something from the hotel to figure it out. I was so confused from all the travel, and I told myself, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’” Although she no longer travels for work, between her career and personal travels, Ms. Mintz has been to 45 countries, a figure she shares because her two children, “thought it was cool, and nothing impresses them.” She motions to the two photos of her children on her desk with identical black frames.
Ms. Mintz’s children are in fifth and seventh grade at Arizona School for the Arts where Ms. Mintz currently serves as a board member. “I first found out about ASA from a really good friend whose kids go to ASA,” Ms. Mintz shares. “I just loved everything the school stood for. There is honestly no other place like ASA in the state, probably in many states, and arts education is so important.” Ms. Mintz even mentions that she uses her theater degree more than her business degree in her life and career. In addition to the confidence and self-discovery the arts prompt, they help people to “always look at the bigger picture, publicly speak or perform, and execute a vision.” Ms. Mintz shares, “I think one of the reasons I’ve been so successful is because I can speak and perform with passion, which I learned from my theater degree.” Marion Donaldson, the Development Director at ASA, shares that, “Marcia is really helpful on the board. She will help me pare down my development spiels so that people can understand, and she constantly introduces me to some pretty amazing people who want to become a part of ASA’s community.”
When not traveling, working, or serving on boards in the nonprofit community, Ms. Mintz enjoys spending time with her wife and children, doing yoga, reading, and cooking. Until quite recently, when she retired from the activity, Ms. Mintz also enjoyed martial arts, and she has a third-degree black belt. Martial arts is a sort-of family activity for Ms. Mintz, as her wife has an eighth-degree black belt and works in the community professionally. “Martial Arts had the most profound impact on me as a professional because of all the methodology and philosophy behind martial arts. The best negotiating skills you learn through martial arts,” Ms. Mintz shares. “I also am a terrible fighter, and I would get knocked down all the time. I quickly learned it’s not about the knock down; it’s about the get-up. Resilience that is so important.” Ms. Mintz also shares her love for Muhammad Ali, pointing to an artistic rendition of him covering an immense amount of wall space and exploding with colors.
Ms. Marcia Mintz’s interests and career path are as dynamic and unexpected as her lime green blazer. No one would guess that behind her passion for solving inequality through her work at the Boys and Girls Club is a woman who is a first-generation college graduate, has had a way-off Broadway play, has traveled the world, has received her third degree black belt, serves on boards to give back to the community, speaks fluent Hebrew and Spanish, and still finds time to spend with her family. After having a conversation with Ms. Mintz, one can’t help but wonder, What can’t she do?