The International Association of Blacks in Dance Announces New Co-Executive Director Natasha R. Moreland Spears
The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) announces Natasha R. Moreland Spears, CFRE as Co-Executive Director, who joins Omar Ingram in a newly envisioned partnership, effective immediately, as Denise Saunders Thompson departs from her long-time role as President and Chief Executive Officer.
“We are grateful to Denise Saunders Thompson for her many years of leadership and advocacy for the International Association of Blacks in Dance,” said Ayisha A. Morgan-Lee, EdD, IABD Board Chair. “In the world of nonprofits, co-directors is an emerging phenomenon and we are extremely happy to welcome Natasha to the IABD team. We look forward to the work that Natasha and Omar will do together in the leadership of this organization.”
In 2022, IABD announced that with the departure of President and Chief Executive Officer Denise Saunders Thompson, the organization would shift to a dual Co-Executive Director Leadership model. In December 2022, Omar Ingram, who served as Programs Director beginning in 2018 and was appointed to Co-Executive Lead in 2021 after serving as Special Programs Associate, stepped into the new role of Co-Executive Director. With experience in both the commercial and nonprofit arts sectors, his leadership is grounded in programming, organizing, and business and financial operations. Natasha Moreland Spears will join as the second Co-Executive Director. She has vast experience in the for profit and nonprofit sectors working in print and radio media, public television, arts and culture, human services, and public health, and advising organizations on resource development, operations, strategic planning, and marketing and communications.
These two dynamic leaders will share the formal leadership roles and responsibilities of the Association jointly. Their approach to leading the organization is collaborative and they will work together to lead and make decisions for the organization. Mr. Ingram will focus on internal operational tasks, Business/ Finance and Programming, while Ms. Spears focuses on external-facing responsibilities, Communications and Fundraising/ Development. Both leaders will share the responsibility of the Membership area with split focus on member benefits and earned income. The Co-Executive Director model allows IABD the benefit of leadership with complementing professional experience from accomplished leaders with varied lived experiences. It also enables Ingram and Moreland Spears the ability to focus on their core strengths and expertise, working collaboratively and supporting one another and the association’s Team members while remaining in service to the IABD Community.
Natasha R. Moreland Spears has vast experience in the for profit and nonprofit sectors working in print and radio media, public television, arts and culture, human services, and public health. She has advised organizations on resource development, operations, strategic planning, and marketing and communications. Natasha currently serves as the CoED II of The International Association of Blacks in Dance and she is the Principal and Founder of The DreamChaser Group, a full-service consulting firm providing nonprofit support, artist management and representation, production services and project management. Natasha is also a partner in Metaphorically Speaking, a spoken word collaborative that has produced poetry slams and stage productions for more than a decade.
Natasha holds a master’s in management from Indiana Wesleyan University and will receive her Doctor of Education from Grand Canyon University in the fall of 2023. She has more than 30 years of nonprofit and fundraising experience and is a Certified Fund-Raising Executive.
Natasha is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and loyal Bengals fan. She is the mother of three including a beautiful, artistic, free-thinking teenager, Gabrielle. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, cooking, audible books, and cheering her daughter on in basketball and soccer.
For more than 10 years, Omar Ingram has worked in both the commercial and nonprofit arts sectors working with leading global influencers that include The Public Theater, STOMP/NYC, and Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, to support and unlock new opportunities to advance one of the world’s leading arts influences – diversity in the arts.
His focus and passion have led to work with living legends that include Debbie Allen, George Faison, and Phylicia Rashad; serving IABD in a number of capacities from volunteer to Programs Director; and serving nationally as a consultant, facilitator, and nonprofit board member and advisor.
Today, Omar co-leads IABD’s growing team of changemakers in delivering vital arts programming and support that include the annual conference and festival, Comprehensive Organizational Health Initiative | Managing Organizational Vitality and Endurance (COHI | MOVE), FRWD, and The Equity Project: Increasing the Presence of Blacks in Ballet. In addition, he serves as a member of the Board of Directors for DC-based percussive dance organization SOLE Defined, and consultant to organizations that include Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.
A former 2019 Dance/USA Institute for Leadership Training (DILT) Fellow, Omar is a graduate of Howard University’s College of Arts and Sciences Department of Theatre Arts (now, the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts), and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre and minor in Arts Administration.
For 30 years, The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) has preserved and promoted dance by people of African ancestry or origin and has assisted and increased opportunities for artists in advocacy, audience development, education, funding, networking, performance, philosophical dialogue, and touring. Visit iabdassociation.org to learn more.