Meet the new members of the U’s Board of Trustees

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has appointed—and the Utah Senate has approved—Maria J. Garciaz and Bassam T. Salem to the University of Utah’s Board of Trustees.

Garciaz and Salem began their terms on July 1, 2021. They filled seats vacated by H. David Burton and Anne-Marie Lampropoulos. Burton leaves the board after eight years of service, including three years as board chairman. Lampropoulos leaves after four years of service.

Maria J. Garciaz

Garciaz is the CEO of NeighborWorks Salt Lake, a nonprofit community development corporation that has worked since 1977 to revitalize neighborhoods experiencing blight and decline. She oversees 19 staff members and an operating budget of $3.2 million and a development budget of $8 million, with $32 million in assets.

NeighborWorks’ lines of businesses include mortgage and commercial lending, real estate development, economic development and community engagement focused on generating products, strategic plans and reinvestment approaches to help meet needs of low- and moderate-income communities.

She was an early supporter and community partner of University Neighborhood Partners and brings a fresh and important perspective on the needs of Salt Lake City’s westside communities.

Over the past 30 years, Garciaz also has been involved in “high risk” youth intervention strategies and supporting fine arts and cultural events.

Garciaz received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in education from Utah State University. She is also a national internship graduate of the Development Training Institute and completed executive education in community development at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

She serves as an independent director for American Express Centurion Bank and on advisory boards for US Bank, Morgan Stanley Bank, Select Health, the Legal Defenders Association and the Utah Multicultural Commission. She is a consultant for NeighborWorks America. Garciaz’s past experience includes service on the State Judicial Performance Evaluation Board, the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank’s Salt Lake Branch, the Utah Board of Juvenile Justice, the Utah State History Board, and the Salt Lake Winter 2002 Olympic Organizing Committee.

She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Leonardo’s Women’s Award for Human Services, the MLK Humanitarian Award from Salt Lake Community College, the Utah Hispanic Chamber Community Trailblazer Award, the Gov. Scott M. Matheson Leadership Award, the National NeighborWorks America Lifetime Achievement Award and the Cesar Chavez Peace & Justice Award. Garciaz was born and raised in Salt Lake City.

Bassam T. Salem

Salem is the CEO and founder of Mindshare Venture, a management consulting and venture firm that helps technology startups and entrepreneurs succeed, and of AtlasRTX, a platform for artificial intelligence-based customer software engagement used in a variety of industries.

He is the former chief operation officer of MaritzCX, the world’s largest customer experience technology company, where he was responsible for global operations and a $125 million budget and retention of $200 million in revenue. Salem also worked as the chief business officer at inContact, where he oversaw more than 300 employees and revenue growth of $175 million.

Salem received four degrees from the U: a bachelor, master and master of philosophy in computer science and an MBA in management of technology. While at the U, he led a five-member team that developed the Marriott Library’s first workstation-based reporting system and a then-first suite of “digital library” automation systems; he also developed the College of Science’s first database-driven inventory management system.

He served on the boards of the Utah Technology Council, the Park City Education Foundation and the University of Utah’s Business Alumni Board. Salem is also the former chairman of the Summit County Planning Commission. He has supported scholarships in the U’s David Eccles School of Business.

Salem was born in Egypt, spent his childhood in France and England and immigrated to the U.S. when he was a teenager. He entered high school at age 12, university at age 15 and began professionally programming at age 16; he completed his first master’s degree at age 21.