Taneshia Nash Laird

Social Impact Fellowship Mentor

Taneshia Nash Laird is a social change agent and community developer who centers cultural equity in her work. She was the president and CEO of Newark Symphony Hall, a historic performing arts center located within the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Newark, NJ. Previously, Laird served as executive director of the Arts Council of Princeton, notably as the first person of color in the role. Laird has also served as director of economic development and acting director of housing production for the City of Trenton (NJ), regional director of the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and she was the executive director of the Trenton Downtown Association where she initiated Destination Trenton, an award-winning arts, tourism and film/TV attraction program in New Jersey’s capital city.

With her late husband Roland, Laird co-founded the entertainment venue MIST Harlem and they previously co-authored the critically acclaimed book "Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans". 
A passionate advocate for increasing economic opportunity and access to arts and heritage, Laird was a special government employee during the Obama Administration as a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. She is also the president of the board of the noted Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, founded in 1995 by siblings Danny, Russell and Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons. In January 2022, Laird was sworn into the executive committee of the NJ NAACP State Conference as chair of the economic development committee.

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Twitter: @taneisha