SPARC has selected John Tong as Executive Director, following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). He began his tenure on February 21, 2022.
With a reputation for helping organizations innovate, thrive, and grow, Tong joins SPARC having most recently served as Executive Director of A Place to Be, the nation’s largest nonprofit music therapy organization, located in Middleburg, Virginia. Tong was entrusted with managing and sustainably scaling a rapidly growing organization, streamlining operations, and providing stable leadership. He formulated a successful business plan, governance strategy, and operating policies, while working with the board of directors to improve communications, create staff structures, and manage ongoing navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tong has also held roles as Chief Executive Officer at the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA) and Director of Operations at Veteran’s Vision. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Reed College and a master of public administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
In making the announcement, Board President Pam Belleman said, “John is a proven strategic leader in youth-centered arts education and his experience and energy will lead SPARC into its next chapter. We’re thrilled to welcome John to SPARC and to the Richmond community.”
Search Committee Chair Kathryn Fessler said, “John brings a skill set and deep dedication to arts and youth development that will enable him to lead SPARC collaboratively with our community, as the organization has committed to do.”
“I am profoundly honored to be named as the Executive Director of SPARC,” said John Tong. “Anyone would find the opportunity to serve such an admired and beloved organization as gratifying; however, I am even more fortunate to encounter such an inspiring combination of innovative programming, brilliant staff members, and outstanding board stewardship. I am excited to continue SPARC’s commitment to expanding access to community-centered performing arts education that celebrates the rich diversity of thought, creativity, and communities belonging to all of Richmond.”
“We extend our fervent congratulations to the search committee, board, and staff of SPARC on the appointment of John Tong as Executive Director,” said ACG Vice President Delilah S. Norris. “Tong has proven to be a diplomatic and collaborative leader. We will watch excitedly as Tong steers SPARC into the future, embracing its mission and connecting with stakeholders and the community.”