Newark Symphony Hall announced today that its president and CEO, Taneshia Nash Laird, won four national and statewide awards this year.

Newark Symphony Hall President & CEO Earns Awards
Taneshia Nash Laird

NEWARK, N.J. – Newark Symphony Hall announced today that its president and CEO, Taneshia Nash Laird, won four awards this year, distinguishing herself as a national and statewide leader in media, arts and economic development.

“It’s an honor as the head of an arts institution to also be recognized as a pioneer in economic development and social change, and I’m humbled to be included alongside such influential leaders across the state and nation,” said Nash Laird, the sole Black female leader of a N.J. performing arts center. “My goal to continue to identify groundbreaking ways to create jobs and opportunity for the people of Newark.”

The following organizations presented Nash Laird with awards in 2021:

Black Women in Media Awards Black Women in Media hosts its national conference and awards presentation every year, convening and celebrating the most influential women in media, communications and entertainment.
Berkeley College: Women’s Empowerment Awards In recognition of Berkeley College’s 90th anniversary, the school recognized more than 100 remarkable women throughout the nation who have spoken at its Women’s Entrepreneurship Week events over the years.
NJBIZ: 2021 Best 50 Women in Business Honorees The NJBIZ Best 50 Women in Business Awards program recognizes women who are shattering stereotypes, and the glass ceiling, with the significant impacts they’re making in New Jersey’s corporate sector, and their communities at large.
ROI-NJ Influencers: People of Color 2021 – Difference Makers Started three yearsago, ROI-NJ showcases talented and influential people of color in New Jersey.

Additionally, Nash Laird is one of the speakers at the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic Career Summit, a partnership between HBCU Heroes and the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic basketball showcase, designated to help students in Newark and beyond secure jobs, internships, mentorships, scholarships and other resources. The summit will take place at Newark’s Prudential Center on Dec. 17, 2021.

Since she took the helm as president and CEO in 2018, Nash Laird has announced plans to restore the 1925 concert hall with a $50 million renovation, as well as leverage it for neighborhood revitalization through a program called Symphony Works. One of the workforce training initiatives that Nash Laird introduced to Newark Symphony Hall is a career accelerator program exclusive to Newark residents called P.A. Bootcamp, which trains young adults to become production assistants.

Nash Laird has continued to keep the arts alive in Newark throughout the pandemic, developing a virtual programming series including “Homegrown,” an interview-based presentation that shares the stories of prominent artists and entertainers born and raised in Newark. Additionally, Newark Symphony Hall has attracted interest from outside programing sources, including USA Network, MTV, BET, and Hulu, which have used the venue as a broadcast location since 2019.

In 2021, Newark Symphony Hall announced a new career accelerator and business incubator focused on the performing arts, dubbed “The Lab at Newark Symphony Hall,” which promotes unique programs and performing artists in the greater Newark region. Local performing artists were invited to register for the Lab, applying to receive access to training, career resources and opportunities.

Prior to joining Newark Symphony Hall, Nash Laird served as executive director of the Arts Council of Princeton, notably as the first person of color in the role, and was a special government employee during the Obama Administration as a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Nash Laird is a board member of the National Independent Venues Foundation (NIVF), tasked with rescuing the performing arts amid the pandemic. She is also an adjunct professor of entertainment and arts at Drexel University.

About Newark Symphony Hall
Built in 1925, Newark Symphony Hall (NSH) has been the home to almost a century of arts and culture in what is now one of New Jersey’s oldest and largest arts and entertainment venues.

NSH remains as committed as ever to providing an artistically rich experience for art lovers of all ages, while creating career pathways for people of color from around the world and bettering both its community and the Greater Newark Region. For more information, visit: NewarkSymphonyHall.org.