Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Announces Harold Brown as First Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

Newly created senior management position will catalyze DE&I initiatives throughout the organization and community.

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Announces Harold Brown as First Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has announced the appointment of Harold Brown as its first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, a new executive leadership position created to catalyze, guide and implement the organization's ongoing DE&I initiatives and practices across the organization and in the community. Brown will report directly to CSO President & CEO Jonathan Martin, leading the organization's DE&I department and serving as a key member of the senior management team. Brown was selected through a rigorous local and national search facilitated by Bridge Partners LLC, a certified minority supplier and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE).

A search committee of CSO leadership and community members consisted of: Rob McDonald, CSO Board Chair - Partner, Taft Stettinius and Hollister; John Moore, President, Moore Air; Anne Mulder, Retired; Group Vice President Associate Relations, Macy's; Stephanie Smith, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, 5/3 Bank; Charla Weiss, Chair, CSO DE&I Committee, Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Cincinnati Children's Hospital; and Sheila Williams, Author.

"As we accelerate the work we began several years ago, it has been increasingly important to ensure we have the resources needed to fully support our DE&I internal and external goals, all in service to Cincinnati," said CSO President & CEO Jonathan Martin. "I am delighted that in our search we found Harold right in our own community. He will bring to the CSO tremendous experience in effecting meaningful results in organizations for which he has served."

"The CSO is among the first major performing arts organizations in the nation to take this bold step, and I am thrilled to be chosen to serve in this new and exciting role," said Harold Brown. "Jonathan Martin, the Board, Senior Management, and community partners have already demonstrated their earnest commitment to DEI. Together we will continue to build a diverse and inclusive internal culture as well as work to ensure that all members of the community find the 2 CSO to be among the most relevant, welcoming, and accessible anchor institutions in our community."

Brown, an Oxford, Ohio native and graduate of Harvard University, has dedicated his career to roles within organizations that advance opportunities for underserved populations. Most recently he directed grant-making strategy as Vice President, Strategy & Policy at Interact for Health and previously as Vice President of Community Strategies at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF). Prior to that, Brown served for more than 16 years in various leadership capacities at KnowledgeWorks, and began his career directing Multicultural Enrollment Services at Miami University. A strong believer in the importance of community service, Brown serves on the boards of the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, Cradle 2 Career Cincinnati, Mt. St. Joseph University, GreenLight Cincinnati, School Board Schools, and AchievePoint Career Academy. Brown resides in the Glendale/Springdale area with his wife, Gwen, and their son Christopher, a St. Xavier High School senior and cellist. Harold and Gwen are long-time arts supporters, including ArtsWave and the CSO.

"I applaud the CSO for showing its leadership in advancing DE&I in our community by hiring its first Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer," said Stephanie Smith, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, 5/3 Bank. "The work of equity and inclusion is enduring and the appointment of Harold Brown is a demonstration of the orchestra's commitment to this work within the arts industry."

"We are thrilled to welcome Harold Brown as the CSO's first Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer," said Rob McDonald, CSO Board Chair and Partner, Taft Stettinius and Hollister. "With Harold's demonstrated leadership qualities, deep community ties, collaborative nature and decades of experience, I have no doubt that he will help shepherd our organization to achieve our strategic plan's overarching DE&I goal: 'to reflect our community and the world at every level - on stage, behind the scenes, and in neighborhoods throughout the region.'"

About Harold Brown

Harold Brown is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Office at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, a new role created to catalyze, guide and implement the organization's DE&I initiatives and practices across the organization and in the community. Previously, he served as Vice President, Strategy & Policy at Interact for Health, where he directed the organization's grantmaking strategy and implementation and worked to build partnerships for the benefit of Interact for Health and the community.

Harold previously served as Vice President of Community Strategies at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF). In this role, Harold provided executive leadership and vision for GCF's comprehensive array of grantmaking programs, including developing an in-depth strategy to advance its community leadership work. Harold was instrumental in advancing GCF's strategy shift to prioritize racial equity as its overarching mission. In addition, he partnered with GCF donors to help fulfill their philanthropic goals by ensuring they are aware of our region's greatest needs and opportunities.

For 16+ years prior to joining GCF, Harold Brown served in a variety of leadership roles at KnowledgeWorks which involved the exploration and development of opportunities for KnowledgeWorks to invest and partner in initiatives designed to dramatically improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged youth in cities across the nation.

An Oxford, Ohio native and graduate of Harvard University, Harold began his career as a Senior Researcher at WGBH Boston. Upon returning to Ohio, Harold directed Multicultural Enrollment Services at Miami University, where he led the University's successful efforts to dramatically increase minority student enrollment and retention. A strong believer in the importance of community service, Harold serves on the boards of the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, Cradle 2 Career Cincinnati, Mt. St. Joseph University, GreenLight Cincinnati, School Board Schools, and AchievePoint Career Academy.

Harold resides in the Glendale/Springdale area with his wife, Gwen, and their son Christopher, a St. Xavier High School senior and cellist. Harold and Gwen are long-time arts supporters, including ArtsWave and CSO (lead donors for Classical Roots).


Featured at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More
Branded Broadway Merch

Related Articles View More Cincinnati Stories

More Hot Stories For You