A Desire to Improve the Lives of Young People
"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you." Rona Kasen is inspired by this phrase when she encounters any challenges. Another guiding principle in Rona’s life is to use her time and talent to make a difference in the community.
That conviction has led to involvement in many leadership roles throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. For the past two years, prior to taking the helm of Women & Philanthropy as its co-chair, Rona served as co-chair of its Investment Committee, where she dedicated many hours to evaluating grant proposals, conducting site visits, and shepherding applicants through the grant process.
Rona’s desire to improve the lives of young people led her to the steering committee that founded the Girls Leadership Academy of Arizona, a college preparatory high school for girls from low socioeconomic communities. She served as the school’s first Board President and is currently a board member. Rona also was a founding member of the WINGS Women’s Board of Phoenix Children’s Hospital and is serving as its first Board President.
Rona’s professional background is in education and the arts. She holds a master’s degree in speech and language pathology and was a therapist in private practice and the Paradise Valley School District. She studied photography in Phoenix and at the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara and worked for many years as a professional photographer. Her passion for the arts led her to become a docent at the Phoenix Art Museum, where she specializes in outreach talks and tours about the art and history of photography.
Rona’s past community work also includes serving:
- As Vice Chair of the Phoenix Heart Ball
- On the Crisis Nursery Board
- On the Arizona Women’s Board
- On the Friends of European Art Board
- On the Florence Crittenton Board
- As Gift Mart Chair of the Junior League of Phoenix
Rona is married to Allan Kasen, General Counsel of Vestar, and they have three children, Stephanie, a mental health professional; Daniel, a professor of astrophysics at Berkeley, and Jonathan, a portfolio manager at Fidelity. In addition to photography, her interests include design, travel, reading, investing, bridge, and yoga.