NEWARK, NJ — The following news release comes courtesy of a Patch Newark community member. Learn more about posting announcements or events to your local Patch site.
Aisha Glover, President and CEO of Newark Alliance, and Taneshia Nash Laird, President and CEO of Newark Symphony Hall, were named among the 25 Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal (TNJ) for their commitment and impact on the ongoing economic revitalization and cultural preservation in the City of Newark.
The Network Journal’s 25 Influential Black Women in Business Awards distinguishes women whose professional achievements have significantly impacted an industry or profession and who also have made an important contribution to their community. This year’s 25 honorees were chosen among hundreds of nominations from the ranks of professionals and entrepreneurs from companies that include Morgan Stanley, Lockheed Martin, Merrill Lynch, ViacomCBS, and J.P. Morgan.
Apart from university executives, Glover and Laird are the only honorees representing the not-for-profit sector, a salient nod to Newark’s impressive leadership and ongoing revitalization.
Glover earned the recognition from TNJ for her work in leveraging the city’s corporate and anchor communities’ collective impact in Newark and helping to carry out Mayor Ras J. Baraka’s vision for inclusive economic growth throughout the city.
Meanwhile, at Newark Symphony Hall, Laird spearheads a $50 million capital campaign for the legendary performing arts center’s preservation and restoration that will subsequently provide community economic development opportunities and revitalization for the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
“Both of these women are strong leaders who embody the sheer determination it takes to lead their respective organizations. The strengthened partnerships and collaborations currently in place and budding throughout the city serve as a testament to their innovative thinking, strategic planning and commitment to community, all of which help to advance our city forward,” said Ras J. Baraka, Mayor of the City of Newark. “I congratulate them on this honor and for being included in this group of astounding leaders.”
Glover was named CEO of the Newark Alliance in 2018 after serving as President and CEO for the city’s economic development corporation, where she oversaw a range of innovative, community-focused economic development initiatives.
Since taking up the helm at the Alliance, she has guided a substantial increase in membership upwards of nearly 500 percent and has helped attract critical new partnerships with entities such as The Rockefeller Foundation, Bloomberg Associates and an expanded relationship with Prudential Financial. She also successfully elevated the profile and visibility of the City of Newark by helping to attract national conferences such as Next City Vanguard and the Forbes Opportunity Zone Investor Summit, allowing the city to engage and align with experts and leverage these events into high exposure media opportunities.
In addition to this honor, Glover was recently ranked third on the 2020 NJBIZ Power 100, an annual ranking of the most powerful people in New Jersey business. Late last year, she was appointed by Gov. Phil Murphy to serve on the New Jersey Economic Development Authority Board of Directors in an effort to build a more inclusive economy.
“I think this distinction says as much about the City of Newark as it does about our leadership. We are working collectively to advance Newark, using these opportunities to show the world that whether in business, entrepreneurship, arts, or economic development, there’s something special happening here and it’s helping to create a future with women and people of color at the epicenter,” said Glover. “Thank you to TNJ for this recognition and continuing their work to shine a spotlight on women business leaders.”
Prior to her appointment as President and CEO of Newark Symphony Hall in November 2018, Taneshia Nash Laird served as Executive Director of the Arts Council of Princeton, notably as the first person of color in this role. She has also served as Director of Economic Development & Acting Director of Housing Production for the City of Trenton (NJ), Regional Director of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and Executive Director of the Trenton Downtown Association, where she created the award-winning arts, culture, and tourism initiative Destination Trenton. Laird was appointed a grants review panelist to the National Endowment for the Arts during the Obama Administration. Last summer, she was elected the board president of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, the noted arts nonprofit founded twenty-five-years ago by siblings Danny, Russell and Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons.
As an entrepreneur, Laird co-founded MIST Harlem, a popular entertainment center in New York City and later co-founded Legendary Eats in the Staples Center with business partner and NBA Hall of Famer James Worthy.
Upon assuming the leadership role at Newark Symphony Hall, Laird focused on building the capacity of the organization’s administrative team, nearly all of whom were born and raised in the local area. Within her first year, she was able to eliminate the annual operating deficits that plagued the organization for years and did so without any substantial changes in personnel. Additionally, Laird secured new funding and leveraged her powerful database of contacts to cultivate new partnerships and collaborations. Among new business opportunities secured included the MTV Video Music Awards, which filmed a commercial at the venue. Additionally, the VMA marquee talent used Newark Symphony Hall’s vast facilities for their VMA performance rehearsals. In December 2019, Black Entertainment Television (BET) and Emmy Award-winning casting director Robi Reed held open casting calls for BET’s mini-series about Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell. More than 1,000 hopefuls auditioned for a chance to portray Mary J. Blige, Jodeci, Heavy D, and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.
“I came to Newark to be a part of the success story already underway thanks to visionary leader Mayor Ras Baraka and his key partners such as the organizations led by Aisha Glover. I believe that The Network Journal’s recognition of two women in our city on their list of 25 Black women from across the country confirms my view that there are more great things in store for Newark, NJ,” said Laird.
The Network Journal is a quarterly print and online business magazine for African-American professionals, corporate executives and business owners dedicated to educating and empowering its readers.
For more details regarding the awards event, visit https://tnj.com/events/25womenawards/.
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