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Toni Simmons Henson Selected As Southeastern Theatre Conference's New Executive Director

A spoken word poet, best-selling author, public speaker, and serial entrepreneur, Ms. Henson has over 30 years of expertise in business development and theatre.

Toni Simmons Henson Selected As Southeastern Theatre Conference's New Executive Director

SETC has accomplished the goal it set this summer: to find a creative and dynamic leader who would help the organization move forward with its strategic vision for greater diversity and inclusivity and who also would possess the strong business acumen needed to manage a large membership non-profit.

"We believe Toni Simmons Henson is the visionary leader who can help SETC succeed in both of those areas," SETC President Maegan McNerney Azar said. "Toni continues the tradition of powerful women leaders in becoming SETC's fourth executive director - while also breaking new ground as the first African American to serve in this role."

A spoken word poet, best-selling author, public speaker, and serial entrepreneur, Ms. Henson has over 30 years of expertise in business development, theatre and entertainment production, and marketing. She has launched and operated three franchises and four businesses in her career, most notably the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, Black Family Table Talk Podcast/Blog, Black Theatre TV, and ABTF Travels. She received an undergraduate degree in business administration from Howard University and a master's in public administration from New York University. She also has earned Executive Certificates in Nonprofit Management and Women in Leadership. (Read Ms. Henson's full bio here on SETC's website)

On accepting the position, Ms. Henson said, "I am so humbled and honored to accept my next assignment as the executive director of this prestigious 73-year-old organization. I believe I'm on my appointed assignment and take this responsibility very seriously. I am fueled by my love for the arts and the extraordinary gifts that we as humans possess. I am also committed to arts advocacy as it relates to the social movement for civil and human rights and the inclusion of people of color and other marginalized voices in the lexicon of American theatre. I am excited to be a part of the SETC team!"

Ms. Henson likes to say that she is a "director of wow," and that certainly was evident during SETC's interview process. Members of the SETC Executive Committee and the SETC staff continually commented on how inspiring conversations with her were. She believes that enveloping people in love is the way to create a sense of belonging and creating a culture of excellence can't happen without affirmation and communication. She also brings a wealth of experience shaping systems, streamlining processes, and uplifting people in order to create opportunity for success through the theatrical arts.

Ms. Henson replaces Susie Prueter, whose resignation was effective on Aug. 26, 2022.

SETC is the strongest and broadest network of theatre practitioners in the United States and provides extensive resources and year-round opportunities for its constituents. Our services, publications, and products contribute significantly to the careers of emerging artists, seasoned professionals, and academicians. SETC energizes the practical, intellectual, and creative profile of theatre in America.




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