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Marisa Geitner

President & CEO, Heritage Christian Services

Years in current role: 9

What was your biggest success in 2021?

Every person deserves quality care and that is possible only with dependable staffing. In the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we raised our starting wage to be 20 percent higher than New York State’s minimum wage, affecting 1,650 employees. Our wage movement coincided with initiatives by RMAPI — an essential partner — and elevated credibility and appeal of direct support, no doubt affecting our ability to recruit 577 hires in 2021, adding stabilization to our workforce. Together with community partners, we worked to elevate self-sufficiency, combat discrimination and strengthen our communities. People who choose a career supporting the health and well-being of others deserve self-sufficient incomes. Our wage boost was a single step toward progress, and it was an important one.

What are your expectations for 2022?

Heritage Christian Services continues to make inclusion, equity and accessibility a top priority, as our mission inspires. We also continue to learn how to meet the increasing demand for services during an era of chronic disruption. We’re always discovering new ways to harness the energy and attention needed to ensure exceptional care, and how to cultivate meaningful relationships with the people we support and with community partners. Our ability to thrive during times of uncertainty — shown again in the way we’ve grown to serve more people choosing our services — is upheld at HCS by a collective sense of courage and a spirit to make our community better. We at Heritage Christian Services will work to be a more welcoming organization where all can find true belonging, today and always.

What is your favorite thing about the Rochester community?

In Rochester, we are a community of people who care about the health and wellbeing of our citizens. My upbringing, education and career have all been meaningful and fulfilling thanks to the strength of relationships I’ve made here in Rochester. Relationships are key to accomplishing good work for the common good. The energy that comes from trust, collaboration and experiencing diversity of thought — with those Heritage Christian Services supports, their families, our staff and our community champions — has been a driver of inspiration and motivation for me to contribute to a more enriched community.

This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 100 list for 2022. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at


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