Geneva Bolton Johnson, a person known and respected locally, nationally and internationally for her work in nonprofit management, will receive the inaugural Leadership Award from the Volunteers of America of Wisconsin on Friday, May 4 at the Pfister Hotel.
The award is the first of its kind and will be named for the Milwaukee area resident. A fund will also be established in her name at Volunteers of America of Wisconsin.
“Geneva’s unending support and commitment to Volunteers of America, among many other worthwhile organizations, has greatly benefitted and improved the lives of our clients,” said Jim Stewart, Volunteers of America of Wisconsin president and CEO. “She epitomizes the true meaning of the words: scholar, mentor, servant leader, friend—and so much more.”
Johnson was named as one of the top five managers in the United States in the social service field by Business Week. She is the former president and chief executive officer of the Family Service America, Inc. and Families International, Inc.
In Johnson joined the United Way of America as a senior vice president responsible for strategic long-range planning and public policy. She became president and CEO of Family Service America in January 1983 and retired in March 1994. Affiliated with numerous local and national organizations, Johnson serves as a board member on many of them, including the Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, the Harvard Business School Advisory Board, among many others.
“Geneva has been a source of inspiration to me and I’ve benefitted greatly from her wise counsel,” said William Petasnick of Froedtert Health. “In one’s career, you come across a few individuals whose impact stands out. Geneva’s keen insights, bedrock principles and unwavering belief in others, regardless of background, have had a profound impact on me and my career.”
She has also worked with the YWCA, Council of Jewish Federations, the NAACP, the United Way of America and the National Fellowship Program of the Kellogg Foundation. As a guest lecturer and author she was chosen, along with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and others, to present in South Africa April 2008 at the Stellenbosch Seboka on Higher Education. She spoke on Ethical Leadership in Higher Education. In June 2009, she presented a retrospective on the life and management principles of Peter F. Drucker at the 2009 Drucker Centennial Conference – Seoul, Korea.
“It has truly been a privilege to work with so many wonderful people in our community, locally and globally, over the years with the goal of helping others in need,” said Johnson. “I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity.”