Taneshia Nash Laird


President & CEO, Newark Symphony Hall

Taneshia Nash Laird began her tenure as President and CEO of Newark Symphony Hall on November 1, 2018. Ms. Laird is a seasoned fundraiser and leader with decades of experience in the nonprofit, government, and private sectors. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of the Arts Council of Princeton, notably as the first woman of color in this role. During her tenure, she launched an instructional art program for adults with disabilities and created a grant-funded professional development program to ethnically diversify the teaching artist pool. Additionally, she secured new funding from family foundations, significantly increased free‐to-the-public performing arts programming, and expanded all programming to appeal to diverse communities in terms of age, culture, and ability. Ms. Laird has also served as Director of Economic Development & Acting Director of Housing Production for the City of Trenton, Regional Director of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and Executive Director of the Trenton Downtown Association, where she initiated Destination Trenton, an award-winning arts and tourism program. Ms. Laird is the Founder of Legacy Business Advisors, a consultancy for social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and government agencies, and the Co-Founder of MIST Harlem, a popular entertainment center in New York City. She was recently named President of the Board of Directors of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, making her the first Black woman President since the nonprofit was founded in 1994 by Russell, Danny, and Joey “Rev Run” Simmons. A visiting professor in Bloomfield College’s Master of Fine Arts Program and a former grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Ms. Laird holds a bachelor of business administration in marketing management from the Bernard Baruch College of the City University of New York. She also holds certificates in nonprofit executive leadership from Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers and in designing leadership from the Arts & Business Council for Greater Philadelphia.