Red Clay Dance Company Founder Vershawn Sanders-Ward (Photo by Raymond Jerome)
(Chicago) – Founding Artistic Director and CEO of the Red Clay Dance Company, Vershawn Sanders-Ward, has been selected to participate in the prestigious Community Impact Scholars Program (CISP) of the Non-Profit Leadership Fund’s (NPLF) Community Impact Committee of the Harvard Business School Club of Chicago (HBSCC).
Advancing the Harvard Business School’s mission, the HBS Club of Chicago looks to inspire, educate, and support leaders who make difference in the Chicago area and provide channels for the club’s members to make a positive impact in the community.
Sanders-Ward, a native of Chicago who earned a master’s degree in Fine Arts in Dance from New York University, is the first recipient of the BFA in Dance from Columbia College Chicago (Gates Millennium Scholar) and is currently a candidate for Dunham Technique Certification. Her work has been represented in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard, and internationally in Toronto, Dakar, and Kampala.
Interview on WGNNews Chicago w/Vershawn and Jonas
The Red Clay Dance Company’s goal is to awaken “global” change through creating, performing, and teaching dances of the African Diaspora with the hope of transforming cultural and socio-economic inequities in local and global communities through:
- Artistic collaboration through research, investigation, and refinement
- Employing dance “artivism” as the vehicle to shift cultural and socio-economic imbalances
- Nurturing “artivists” from novice to professional by providing an authentic pipeline
- Building global community through strategic partnerships
- Inspiring audiences to strengthen community through “artivism (art + activism)
“Effective leadership and community engagement should live at the core of an Executive Director/CEO’s work,” said Sanders-Ward. “I believe that this course will provide me with additional tools to serve my organization as an effective leader and will also strengthen our community engagement efforts. I am also most excited about putting the theories around leadership and community engagement into practice and witness how this will impact my organization and the communities we serve.”
Promo: Ekili Munda – Red Clay Dance Company
The Community Impact Scholar Program provides arts and cultural leaders of nonprofit organizations an exceptional professional experience through fully funded coursework at the Harvard Extension School. In addition to being enrolled in courses offered in the Management Certificate Program at the Harvard Extension School for the Fall 2019 semester, the participants are matched with a peer tutor from the Harvard Business School Club of Chicago and enjoy a weekend on-campus immersion experience at Harvard University in Cambridge.
“The coursework up to the visit was very dense and academic,” added Sanders-Ward, “but meeting my instructors in person and having time to discuss the core topics to the class really helped me frame the practical application of these ideas in to my work with the Red Clay Dance Company. There is an air of deep scholarship floating around Harvard’s campus, but there also appears to be a strong sense that they are shaping the next world leaders. I have attended two very prestigious universities in my educational journey, and I am elated to add Harvard to this list.”
A 2017 Dance/USA Leadership Fellow and a 2013 3Arts awardee, Sanders-Ward earned a 2009 Choreography Award from Harlem Stage NYC. In 2015 and 2018, NewCity Magazine selected her as one of the “50 People Who Really Perform for Chicago.” Sanders-Ward has served as an adjunct faculty member and received choreographic commissions from Columbia College Chicago, Northwestern University, Knox College, City College of Chicago, AS220, and the National Theatre in Uganda.
Sanders-Ward is a board member of Enrich Chicago and was selected to attend the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit for Emerging Global Leaders. She has had the pleasure of gracing the cover of DEMO, Columbia College Chicago’s Alumni magazine.
Press Release Via: Red Clay Dance Company