The Music Settlement at University Circle announces Geralyn Presti as President and CEO

Posted November 03, 2016 in Press Releases

The Music Settlement at University Circle announces Geralyn Presti as President and CEO

Geri Presti to lead ‘venerable’ arts & culture organization

CLEVELAND –November 3, 2016– Today, The Music Settlement (TMS) at University Circle announced its new President & CEO: Geralyn ‘Geri’ Presti, who is returning to TMS after an extraordinary tenure at Forest City Realty Trust, Inc. (previously Forest City Enterprises), where she currently serves as EVP, General Counsel, and Secretary.

“We are delighted,” said TMS Board of Directors Chair Maura L. Hughes. “The Board unanimously agrees that Geri Presti’s long-standing commitment to our organization and her well-known leadership strengths and business acumen make her the seamless fit for President and CEO of The Music Settlement.”

Presti will begin to transition to her role leading The Music Settlement in the first quarter of 2017, and will continue to carry out her responsibilities with Forest City through the beginning of March 2017.

‘Like Coming Home’

After earning her Bachelor of Music (summa cum laude) at Ohio University, Presti began her career as a music therapist at The Music Settlement, the 104-year-old Cleveland non-profit organization that provides music instruction, music therapy, and early childhood education to thousands of northeast Ohioans annually.

Geri Presti’s dedication to the Settlement has included 15 years of serving on its Board of Directors. She served two terms as TMS Board Chair, during which she and Robert Conradco-led The Music Settlement’s year-long Centennial Celebration. She has remained active in the Settlement’s work as Board Emeritus.

The honors that Presti has received in recognition of her constancy to the Settlement include a 2012 Judson Smart Living Arts Award and a music-therapy studio named in her honor at Kulas House at TMS.

“This is truly like coming home,” Presti said. “The Music Settlement is a gem in the crown of arts and cultural organizations that comprise University Circle. I will serve this inclusive and venerable institution as it expands its award-winning offerings to further enrich everyone in Northeast Ohio, regardless of their age, ethnicity, or financial standing.”

Presti’s music-therapy background will add luster to TMS’s 50th anniversary of its Center for Music Therapy: a celebration that will last the entire year and includes a ticketed event on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016 ( The Music Settlement was the first community school of music in the nation to offer music-therapy services.

Inspiring Levels of Community Service

Presti’s boundless service to the community has benefitted many non-profit organizations. She currently serves the on the boards of the Sisters of Charity Foundation, Tri-C College, Business Volunteers Unlimited, and the national board of The Society for Corporate Governance Professionals.

“I am thrilled by this new opportunity to partner with Cleveland’s non-profit leadership: to support and inspire each other, to fulfill our missions, and provide genuine value to our stakeholders and communities,” Presti said.

Her recent honors include the 2010 YWCA Women of Achievement Award, 2013 Athena Award, 2015 Humanitarian of the Year from The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, and being named to the 2016 Women of Note class by Crain’s Cleveland Business.

“Geri’s character is impeccable. Her enthusiasm and tirelessness already inspire our community,” Hughes said. “She embodies the generous spirit of the Cleveland Music School Settlement and Northeast Ohio.”

Real-Estate Experience: Timely

As a member of Forest City’s executive team, where she has been responsible for all legal affairs for the company and was an important co-leader for the company’s reorganization and transition to a Real Estate Investment Trust, Presti played a key role in executing the company’s strategic plan, board and corporate governance practices, and also billions of dollars of capital-markets transactions. Her practice areas at Forest City include real-estate development, financing, corporate governance, and securities transactions.

Presti’s real-estate law experience will directly benefit TMS, which recently announced the construction of a new campus as part of the Snavely Group development at West 25th Street and Detroit Avenue on the west side of Cleveland.

About The Music Settlement

Founded in 1912 by Almeda Adams as The Cleveland Music School Settlement, The Music Settlement is one of the nation's oldest community schools of music. Providing early childhood education since 1955 and music therapy since 1966, The Music Settlement remains on the forefront of music-based initiatives that advance human potential. With programs for students from birth through retirement and beyond, The Music Settlement is proud to inspire a second century of generations of music. The Music Settlement is generously funded by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and the Ohio Arts Council. In 2014, the Settlement opened the BOP STOP nightclub on the west side of Cleveland, after its donation to the organization in late 2013. In 2016, TMS won its second consecutive Cleveland Magazine “Best Music Instruction” award. The organization is currently building a new campus on the near-west side of Cleveland. Its online properties include,, and Classes and programs can be sorted by age of participant at
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The Music Settlement
Lynn B. Johnson, MFA
Marketing & Communications Director
(216) 231-5046

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