Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) has selected Lisa Richards Toney as President and CEO, following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). She will begin her tenure on July 1, 2020.
Ms. Richards Toney brings more than 20 years of experience leading a range of small and large arts and humanities organizations, managing change, and building stability. She most recently served as Executive Director of the Abramson Scholarship Foundation. In this role, she increased funding and steered the foundation through a period of change management in programming, finance, development, and governance. She also improved the scholar experience by curating innovative professional development opportunities in financial literacy, professional visioning, and mental health awareness and utilized professional networks to build exposure for scholars pursuing careers in the arts. As Deputy Director and later Interim Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, she worked tirelessly on behalf of the diverse resident artists and arts organizations of the District of Columbia. Her additional leadership experience includes Director, Writers and Schools at the Pen/Faulkner Foundation and as Director, Literature to Life at The American Place Theatre, where she presented performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The Library of Congress. She also served as the first Executive Director of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.
Ms. Richards Toney currently serves as the Strategic Planning Chair of the Mosaic Theatre Company of DC, Co-Chair of the Jack and Jill DC Chapter Jumoke Black History Festival, and a booking and producing consultant for cellist Okorie “OkCello” Johnson. In addition to consulting work for the Reel to Reel Filmmaker’s Project for the Prince George’s County Arts Council, she also supported Moving Forward Dance Company/Dana Tai Soon Burgess with tour management strategic planning. Ms. Richards Toney was awarded a Vilar Institute for Arts Management Fellowship with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as well as a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to study the management structure of Black British dance companies in the United Kingdom. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in drama and English from Spelman College and a master of arts degree in educational theater from New York University.
In making the announcement, APAP Board Chair Karen A. Fischer said, “The APAP board and staff are delighted to welcome Lisa Richards Toney as she takes the helm of APAP at this critical time in our organization, our field, and our world. She is a strong and dynamic leader with a deep and passionate commitment to the performing arts. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated her ability to bring people together, respect different perspectives, think creatively, inclusively, and strategically, and act with great warmth and empathy.”
“I am honored to become APAP’s next President and CEO during this critical period for performing arts organizations,” said Ms. Richards Toney. “I look forward to fulfilling APAP’s mission by leading the field in its necessary, crucial and essential work.”
“ACG congratulates Lisa Richards Toney on her new position as APAP’s next President and CEO,” said ACG President Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau. “It was invigorating to work with APAP’s board, staff, and search committee to guide an executive search process for such a critical role within the performing arts sector. We are confident that her leadership will best serve APAP’s members in navigating a path that continues to highlight the importance of the performing arts to society.”