From 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.
Taneshia is the founder and principal of Legacy Business Advisors a social ventures consultancy. Taneshia has a breadth of tri-sector executive leadership experience in government, nonprofit and private industry. In her career she’s been the division director of economic development and acting director of affordable housing production for the city of Trenton where she secured new commercial development for the city, and managed a quarter billion dollars in development activity and tens of millions in public funds in the city budget. Taneshia also has nearly eight years experience serving as executive director of nonprofits in both urban and suburban settings, mostly recently serving as the executive director of the Arts Council of Princeton. Taneshia was only the third executive director since the organization's founding in 1967 and the first one of color. She previously co-founded MIST Harlem in New York City serving as its Chief Marketing Officer and in September 2018, she was engaged as a consultant to Newark Symphony Hall to lead a revitalization of the historic performing arts center in NJ’s largest city.
Taneshia’s 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, innovation and economic development. Her exuberance and wisdom make her an in-demand speaker audiences can’t get enough of.