HELLO, I'M TANESHIA
Bios for press and speaking engagements below
Taneshia Nash Laird is an accomplished leader with a remarkable career that reflects an unwavering dedication to leveraging the arts as a platform for community and economic development. In 2017, she was appointed the Executive Director of The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP), an award-winning nonprofit organization with a rich history of presenting community-focused, cultural programming in the greater Princeton, NJ region.
Raised by a single mom in a small community in Westchester County, NY, Taneshia’s interest in the visual and performing arts was ignited at an early age. Through trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Arts and to see shows like The Wiz on Broadway, her mother taught her a lesson that would become the guiding principle of her career: creativity is a catalyst for opportunity.
Through community-based outreach programs that featured dance and music classes, Taneshia began to excel in the arts. She received scholarships to programs on the campus of Purchase College in both middle and high school, with the latter as part of the highly competitive Westchester Arts Program for advanced high school musicians, visual artists, and dancers. She didn’t know it then, but providing those same kinds of opportunities to others would become her life’s calling.
After graduating from Bernard Baruch College, Taneshia embarked on a vibrant career path in industries such as real estate development, entertainment, and government. In roles she was hired for and those she created through her own business ventures, she developed a valuable skill set in business development, project management, marketing, strategic communication, and contract negotiation.
As Director of Economic Development for the City of Trenton, NJ, Taneshia was instrumental in advancing initiatives focused on business attraction, retention, expansion, and job creation. For five years she served as the Executive Director of the Trenton Downtown Association, where she oversaw strategic plans geared toward the revitalization of Downtown Trenton through a unique blend of business development, art, culture, and tourism.
Her love of community is always foremost in her endeavors, and she is an active leader in organizations such as the Artpride NJ Foundation, the Foundation for the Augmentation of African-Americans in Film, and KD New York, a minority-owned dance apparel company. Taneshia regularly gives talks about the intersection of the arts and economic development, social entrepreneurship, and community revitalization. Her exuberance and wisdom make her an in-demand speaker audiences can’t get enough of.
Impressive as her career is, Taneshia Nash Laird is so much more than a list of accomplishments and accolades. She embodies what it means to have your purpose align with your profession - and use them to inspire change. The common denominator in all she has done is using creativity as the currency to build communities, push them forward, and change lives in the process. As a widowed mother of two beautiful daughters, her life’s work thus far has been to give to them the gift her mother gave to her, which is to use the arts as a tool for self-discovery, expression, and limitless opportunity.
The day she held the glossy commemorative book from the King Tut Exhibit at the Met in her hands when she was nine years old, Taneshia Nash Laird has led a life immersed in the visual and performing arts. Thanks to her mother’s effort to expose her to the arts and reveal it as a catalyst for opportunity, Taneshia’s journey toward becoming a nationally recognized leader in arts and economic development was solidified.
A graduate of Bernard Baruch College with an extensive career in business development, project management, marketing, strategic communication, and contract negotiation, Taneshia has lead initiatives designed to revitalize urban communities and help them to thrive. In 2017, she was appointed Executive Director of the Arts Council of Princeton, a nonprofit organization with a rich history of presenting community-focused, cultural programming in the greater Princeton, NJ region.
Her love of community is always foremost in her endeavors, and she is an active leader in organizations that advance the causes of women, minorities, senior citizens, the disabled, and youth in under-resourced communities. She regularly gives talks across the country on social entrepreneurship, community revitalization, and the intersection of the arts and economic development. Her exuberance and wisdom make her an in-demand speaker audiences can’t get enough of.
Taneshia Nash Laird is an accomplished leader with a remarkable career that reflects an unwavering dedication to leveraging the arts as a platform for community and economic development. In 2017, she was appointed the Executive Director of The Arts Council of Princeton, an award-winning nonprofit organization with a rich history of presenting community-focused, cultural programming in the greater Princeton, NJ region.
A graduate of Bernard Baruch College with an extensive career in business development, project management, marketing, strategic communication, and contract negotiation, Nash Laird has lead initiatives that have revitalized urban communities and caused them to thrive. She has been featured in Ebony, Rolling Out, and regularly gives talks across the country on the intersection of the arts and economic development, and social entrepreneurship.
Just A Sample of Press Mentions
"Taneshia Nash Laird to black girls: It’s important I became leader of Princeton Arts Council"
The Trentonian Newspaper - April 2, 2017
Laird was one of about 10 panelists who spoke at the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls event. The seven-hour session was hosted by U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, who became New Jersey’s first black woman elected to Congress in 2014.
Read the entire story online here: http://www.trentonian.com/20170401/taneshia-nash-laird-to-black-girls-its-important-i-became-leader-of-princeton-arts-council
"Arts Council of Princeton Names New Executive Director"
The Town Topics - November 26, 2016
Taneshia Nash Laird is the new executive director of the Arts Council of Princeton, replacing Jeff Nathanson who is stepping down after 11 years. Ms. Nash Laird was executive director of the Trenton Downtown Association and co-founded MIST Harlem, a cultural and entertainment center.
Read the entire story online here: http://www.towntopics.com/wordpress/2016/11/23/acp-names-new-executive-director/
"New Director Named at Arts Council"
US 1 Newspaper - November 23, 2016
Nash Laird is best known for her tenure as executive director of the TDA from 2006 to 2011, where she promoted the arts and cultural tourism in the city. She was married to Trenton activist Roland Laird, who died in 2013.
She is also been involved in the arts in Princeton. In 2014 she founded the Baker Street Social Club, a group focused on the black community in Princeton. The club hosted cultural events, mainly at the Princeton Public Library, including a poetry reading by Danny Simmons, an author, painter, and co-creator of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam.
Read the entire story online here: http://princetoninfo.com/index.php/component/us1more/?Itemid=&key=11-23-16laird&more=1&action=comment
Recent & Upcoming Appearances
April 26, 2017 - Princeton University
"Celebrating Service at Princeton" Roundtable panelist
April 12, 2017 - Trenton Central High School
"From Hip Hop to Fine Art: My Career in Arts & Entertainment"
Career Day presenter to the Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Trenton Central High School in Trenton, NJ.
April 8, 2017 - Kairos Movement Women's Conference
April 1, 2017 - Congressional Caucus on Black Women & Girls, &Girls Conference
Panelist, "Understanding Black Girl Power"
March 23, 2017 - Keystone College
Women's History Month Speaker. Topic: "The Career Spark: the Best Way to Leap Into the Work World". Sponsored by the Student Activities Office.
March 17, 2017 - Trinity Church Princeton
Women's History Month Special Guest for One Table Cafe, in conversation with Caroline I Harris, PhD, Associate Director for Education at the Princeton University Art Museum.
February 23, 2017 - Mercer County Community College
Black History Month Conversation on Arts & Culture, a one-on-one with Educational Opportunity Fund Counselor Al-Lateef Farmer. Presented by the Mercer County Community College Educational Opportunity Fund.
Where I Have Spoken
Appointment speech at the Arts Council of Princeton
Promoting women and economic development
Download a PDF of press clips about me