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LaTeshia Ellerson and Karena Fiorenza.

LaTeshia Ellerson, Karena Fiorenza Named Interim Leaders at TCG

They will hold the positions while TCG’s executive director and CEO Teresa Eyring begins a sabbatical and the search for her replacement begins.

NEW YORK CITY: Theatre Communications Group (TCG), which publishes American Theatre, has announced that Karena Fiorenza and LaTeshia Ellerson have been appointed as interim executive leaders as of Jan. 1, 2024. Fiorenza will act as interim chief executive officer and Ellerson as interim chief growth officer. Current executive leader and CEO Teresa Eyring will begin a five-month sabbatical on Jan. 1 prior to her departure.

“After 17 years of leading TCG, Teresa has more than earned a sabbatical, and the board is in agreement with Teresa that it is time to prioritize it,” said Harold Steward, TCG’s recently named board chair, said in a statement. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, that sabbatical has been continuously postponed to ensure TCG was positioned to respond to the crisis. As a board, it’s important for us to honor that commitment and model care and rest for the staff.

“We’re so fortunate to have leaders like LaTeshia and Karena stepping into this interim structure,” Steward continued. “Their professional expertise, wise people-management skills, emotional intelligence, and love for our TCG community are just what we need for this moment of significant transition.”

Ellerson and Fiorenza, both of whom participated in TCG’s SPARK Leadership Program, will hold their interim executive leadership roles through Aug. 31, 2024, at which point a successor for Eyring will be named. Eyring will be celebrated at the 2024 TCG Gala on March 11, 2024, as well as the TCG National Conference in Chicago, with her contract term ending in June 2024. As interim executive leaders, Fiorenza and Ellerson will share leadership of organizational strategy and work culture, while separately providing oversight of different TCG departments.

As chief growth officer, Ellerson will also oversee institutional and individual giving, marketing, membership, and advocacy. Ellerson previously served as TCG’s director of institutional philanthropy and is the former director of development at True Colors Theatre Company. A former actor, Ellerson is a member of the board of the Suzi Bass Awards and participates in dance ministry at her church in Atlanta. She holds a BFA from the Theatre School at DePaul University and an M.S. in urban policy studies and nonprofit leadership from Georgia State University.

“I am excited about the opportunity to be part of the team ensuring a successful executive leadership transition,” Ellerson said in a statement. “In this new role, I look forward to growing TCG’s resources and capacity to fulfill their mission, and to meet the many challenges and opportunities facing our theatre ecology.”

As chief executive officer, Fiorenza will oversee programming, research, communications, publishing, and administration, and operations. Fiorenza previously joined TCG in July 2023 as interim chief operating officer. She is the founder and CEO of Ánimo Consulting and previously served as the interim CEO at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley and at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Fiorenza also previously served as the general manager at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and UNIVERSES Theater Company and as the associate managing director at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and at Yale Repertory Theatre. She was also previously the executive director of the dance company Robert Moses’ Kin. Fiorenza holds two bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and an MFA in theatre management from Yale University. In 2021, Fiorenza was a Civic Leadership Academy fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

“Over the past few months that I’ve been working in an interim capacity with TCG, I’ve been so inspired by the thoughtfulness, passion, and joyful rigor of the staff and board members,” Fiorenza said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to continue working with the staff, board, and my close friend LaTeshia to lead TCG through this important moment of transition. Over the next eight months, we’ll be operationalizing strategic initiatives, strengthening workplace culture, and leveling up business practices to ensure we’re ready to welcome the next generation of TCG’s leadership.”

TCG has retained a team from Creative Evolutions to manage the transition process for new leadership over the coming year. After consultation with TCG staff and board, Creative Evolutions has updated the timeline of the executive search, with the intent for the external process to launch at the end of March 2024.

Founded in 1961, TCG leads for a just and thriving theatre ecology and represents more than 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations. Through its programs and services, TCG reaches over one million students, audience members, and theatre professionals each year.

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