Case Study:

A Dance Company’s Organizational Challenge

Expanding the number of board seats should start with a boardroom needs evaluation, discussion, and recruitment strategy. In the case of Battery Dance, a New York City-based dance company founded in 1976, understanding the skills gaps in the boardroom was an essential step to increasing and supporting the organization’s capacity - paving a path for the organization to achieve meaningful growth and enhance its services.


Battery Dance was successfully carrying out its mission but in an unsustainable way.

With the lack of capacity to focus on marketing, fundraising, and long-term planning, the majority of staff time was dedicated to implementing back-to-back programming, risking burn-out in the long term.

Battery Dance first participated in BoardLead in 2016, indicating that they were looking to add corporate professional representation and skills to their board. They also shared that they were seeking a candidate “who is not afraid to make new introductions for the company and someone who is enthusiastic about providing new ideas and helping the organization grow”. Since 2016, Battery Dance has been matched to and elected 7 trained board members through BoardLead.

BoardLeaders put in the groundwork - a plan - to enable organizational sustainability and expansion

As a result of BoardLeader support Battery Dance developed a 5-year strategic plan, and was able to double its staff size, advance their marketing and outreach efforts, and both expand and launch new innovative programs, increasing the number of youth and audiences impacted by their mission.

Fueled by a new balance of corporate talent and long-serving visionaries, the board leveraged their impressive spread of professional skill sets - financial planning, marketing, strategic planning, human resources management, and more - to accelerate this growth moment for Battery Dance and ensure its sustainability.


Immense results were achieved by exceptional board leadership despite a small staff.

“BoardLeader support has brought in more than $100,000 in direct unrestricted contributions, and more than $400,000 in grants. This support has been instrumental in allowing us to hire our first full-time development director, and maintain operations and programming during COVID, allowing us to continue our mission and to sustain our artists and staff.”

- Emad Salem, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Battery Dance

BoardLeaders have stepped into leadership positions on key committees. Mimi Shih serves as Treasurer and head of the Finance/Audit Committee, which also includes Rita Lai. Shari Krikorian is chair of the newly formed Marketing Committee, which also includes Tara DeGeorges and Beth Nardi. The Marketing Committee initiated and secured pro-bono support from branding agencies and is leading the development of unified brand imagery and messaging. New BoardLeader Kalpesh Mehta serves on the Institutional Advancement Committee and is pushing forward advancements in IT.

The board leadership of these dedicated professionals has transformed Battery Dance.

BoardLead has become our primary source for recruiting new board members. The dedication of these individuals to our work is a testament to the program's matching process. Thank you for your work!

Emad SalemVice President and Chief Operations Officer at Battery Dance

About Battery Dance

Battery Dance aims to create lasting social impact by increasing human understanding and improving lives through the universal expression of dance. Based in Lower Manhattan, Battery Dance has produced over 125 original dance works choreographed by its founder and artistic director Jonathan Hollander, and guest choreographers, in collaboration with a diverse array of composers and designers, and its cast of outstanding dancers. Battery Dance performs on the world’s stages, teaches, presents, and advocates for the field of dance. The Company is dedicated to the pursuit of artistic excellence and the availability of the Arts to everyone.

Contributing Authors:

Emad Salem, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer at Battery Dance and Annie Baierl, Marketing and Communications Lead at Cause Strategy Partners


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