DHR Global Places First Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Tennessee Performing Arts Center

April 25, 2022 – Chicago-based executive search firm DHR Global has placed Mary E. Clark as the inaugural chief diversity and inclusion officer for the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) in Nashville. Most recently, Dr. Clark held a variety of roles at Belmont University, including assistant dean of students, director of Bridges to Belmont, director of multicultural learning and experience, and liaison for the university’s collaboration with Metro Nashville Public Schools under the GEAR UP grant. The assignment was led by DHR Global’s James Abruzzo, managing partner, global non-profit practice; Soladé Rowe, managing partner, diversity and inclusion practice; and Philip DeBoer, principal.

Reporting to president and CEO Jennifer Turner (placed by DHR in 2019), Dr. Clark is charged with overseeing the human resources department and has cross-departmental influence over the entire organization. The new chief diversity and inclusion officer serves as a content expert and brain trust to TPAC leadership, providing DEI-forward counsel and advice on all strategies of the enterprise.

Dr. Clark’s appointment came after staff and leadership launched a multi-month evaluation in 2020 of how TPAC can better represent an increasingly diverse community, empower new perspectives within its organization, expand access to the arts and contribute to a more equitable, anti-racist future.

A New Direction

“During the extended break in our live programming, we seized the opportunity to look inward at our mission and our organization with the hope of charting a new course for TPAC and our contribution toward a more fair and equitable society through the arts,” said Ms. Turner. “Dr. Clark shares our belief that the arts, our community, and the world are made richer by presenting and celebrating diverse stories, and her expertise positions TPAC for meaningful growth in Nashville and in the arts industry, making sure that all voices are heard and represented on our stages.”

Since joining TPAC last year, Dr. Clark launched an Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Culture designed to create a holistic approach to strengthening TPAC as an ever-evolving, dedicated and community anchored organization.

“TPAC is deeply committed to transcending lofty goals and thoughtful words in the areas of diversity, inclusion, access and equity,” said Dr. Clark. “I look forward to guiding the organization’s path toward positive change that is actionable, attainable, and accountable.”

Dr. Clark has worked in athletics, student involvement, new student programs, academic affairs, student affairs, admissions and multicultural affairs. Her expertise covers post-secondary access programming; academic support services; enrollment management; assessment; campus and community outreach; diversity, equity, and inclusion; policy development; student development and engagement; recruitment and retention and strategic planning.

Founded in 1980, the non-profit Tennessee Performing Arts Center has welcomed more than 14 million audience members and served more than 1.8 million children and adults with performances at TPAC, teacher resources, professional development opportunities, classroom residencies, and enrichment programs. TPAC manages four venues: Andrew Jackson Hall, James K. Polk Theater, Andrew Johnson Theater, and War Memorial Auditorium. Each year, TPAC serves several hundred thousand audience members with the HCA/TriStar Health Broadway at TPAC series, a variety of special engagements, and the productions of three resident artistic companies – Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and Nashville Repertory Theatre.

Respected Recruiters

Since 1989, DHR Global has been a leading, privately held provider of executive search solutions with more than 50 wholly-owned offices spanning the globe. DHR’s consultants specialize in all industries and functions, providing senior-level executive search, management assessment and succession planning services tailored to the qualities and specifications of its client base.

Mr. Abruzzo has 40 years of experience as an executive search and management consultant to non-profit organizations. His clients span the non-profit spectrum — cultural organizations, zoos and aquariums, national health services, universities, social services, international relief organizations and trade associations. Having completed over 500 senior executive searches, he is recognized for his work with non-profit boards on succession planning, strategy and executive compensation. He is also responsible for recruiting new partners, developing intellectual capital and representing DHR at non-profit industry forums.

Mr. Rowe recruits feeder groups of underrepresented future leaders across sectors.  He also serves as a strategic advisor supporting firm-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives for DHR. Working across the firm’s entire business ecosystem, Mr. Rowe’s wealth of cross-industry experience as a talent management and diversity professional have added value to DHR’s leadership consulting group, bridging executive search and organizational effectiveness solutions to the firm. Prior to executive search, he held several management roles in human resources including talent management, diversity and inclusion, and talent acquisition.

Mr. DeBoer has deep experience recruiting for CEOs and other executives in the non-profit arts/cultural, social service, health, economic development, environmental, and higher education sectors. His strengths in strategy, communication, networking, and project management have made him a sought-after consultant and valued partner to his clients. Earlier in Philip’s career, he worked in admissions in higher education.

Related: University of California Taps DHR Global to Find CISO 

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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