Keynote Speaker: Zenetta S. Drew


Zenetta S. Drew has been Executive Director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre since 1987. During her tenure, Dallas Black Dance Theatre has grown from an annual operating budget of $175,000 to over $4.9 million and has also grown from a community-based organization to a fully professional dance company. Annual services have grown from 30 to over 600 including national and international venues and total audience growth has increased from 20,000 to over 150,000. Under her administrative leadership, the company has performed on some of the world’s most prestigious stages including the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and the Olympics as well as performances for such luminaries as Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and President Nelson Mandela.

Prior to Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Ms. Drew worked for ARCO Oil and Gas Co. where she held 9 positions of increasing management responsibility in 11 years. Her most notable assignments were managing accounting for offshore oil platform projects in the Gulf of Mexico and as Oil Revenue accounting manager where she was responsible for 50% of corporate revenue.

Ms. Drew is the first African American female to receive a BBA in Accounting from Texas A&M University-Commerce and she is the first African American female to be named a Distinguished Alumna in 2016. She holds a Management Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership from Brookhaven College and is a graduate of the National Arts Strategies Executive Program through Harvard Business School (2016) and University of Michigan, Ross School of Business (2017). She is a graduate of Leadership Arts - 1989, Leadership Dallas - 1991, Leadership Texas – 2010, Leadership International – 2013, and Leadership Women: Encore - 2022. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, Epsilon Sigma chapter.

She received the 2016 Obelisk Award for Outstanding Leadership Arts Alumnus from the Business Council for the Arts and the 2017 International Association of Blacks in Dance-Excellence in Arts Management Award. She also received the 2018 Dallas Historical Society Award for Arts Leadership, the 2021 Dance/USA’s Ernie Award, and was also a nominee for the Association for Performing Arts Professionals William Dawson Award in 2021.

Ms. Drew has served on more than 40 arts organization boards/advisory boards/committees that include Americans for the Arts, Board Treasurer for the Cultural Data Project, and Vice-Chair of the Dallas Arts District. Ms. Drew was also an Adjunct Professor in SMU’s M.A./M.B.A. Arts Management Program teaching Strategic Planning in the Arts.

Currently, Ms. Drew serves as a member of the Texas A&M University System Chancellor’s Century Council, Treasurer for the Dallas Development Fund, is an Executive Board member for the Dallas Arts District, an advisory board member for SMU/Data Arts, and serves as a Board member with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, TAMU-Commerce Foundation Board, and Tessitura Network Board of Directors.

She has guest-lectured and served on panels and is an arts management consultant on fundraising, financial management, financial ethics, non-profit boards, and organizational management for multiple groups including DeVos Institute of Arts Management, National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, the International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference, City of Dallas Office of Arts & Culture, OPERA America Conference, Capacity Interactive, Tessitura Network, Grantmakers in the Arts, Wallace Foundation, Women in Classical Music – Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Institute, Southern Methodist University, Syracuse University, 精东影业, TAMU-Commerce, Butler University, Virginia Commonwealth University, North Texas Business Council for the Arts, Leadership Dallas, and Leadership America.


Prior Award Recipients


Award Category  2020 Recipient 2021 Recipient 2022 Recipient
 Arts Manager of the Year Sean McLeod
President & CEO
New York Institute of Dance & Education
Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre
Samara Hannah
Executive Director
Redhouse Arts Center

 Michelle Connelly
Executive Director, Earlville Opera House

Stephen Butler
Executive Director, CNY Arts

 Arts Board Member of the Year Bea Gonz谩lez
Board President
Syracuse Stage
Michael Feng
Board Vice President
Joel Potash
Ticket Chair, Society for New Music
 Newcomer of the Year Joann Yarrow
Director of Community Engagement and Education    
Syracuse Stage
Sayward Schoonmaker
Artistic Director
Stone Quarry Hill Art Park
 Artist as Manager Jon Garland
Musician & Director of Operations
Kyle Bass
Associate Artistic Director
Syracuse Stage
Larry Luttinger
Executive Director, CNY Jazz Central
 Arts Educator of the Year Michelle Matteson
Instrumental Music Teacher
Homer Intermediate School
Michelle Combs
General Music Teacher    
Homer Elementary School
Mary Juman
Vocal/General Music Teacher, Ed Smith Pre K-8 School