ANITA THOMAS has been Executive Director of Carolyn Dorfman Dance since 2009. Ms. Thomas is one of a handful of People of Color leading a majority arts organization in New Jersey. Since 2016, the company has been recognized by the NJ State Arts Council for its excellence in artistic quality, programming and public service in the arts.
She is the former Executive Director of Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn as well as the founding Executive Director of Youth Entertainment Studios (YES), Inc., a national media arts organization focused on at risk youth. She has an extensive and eclectic background in the telecommunications and healthcare industry, embracing community activism, passion for the arts and social issues, global marketing, fundraising and organization development consulting with not-for-profit and small businesses.
She a BS degree in Community Development from Penn State University and a MA degree in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research. The first half of her career was in Business Sales, Consumer Marketing and New Business Development Manager in the AT&T family of companies, concluding her telecom career in Lucent Technologies as a District Manager, Global Marketing Events.
In December 2020, Ms. Thomas was appointed to the Artpride Board of Directors after serving as a volunteer on their Strategic Planning as well as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. Since 2009, she has served as a founding Steering Committee member of the NJ Main Street Alliance (a coalition of progressive, small NJ businesses originally operating as a project under NJ Citizen Action). In 2018 she was appointed to the NJCA Board of Director and in October 2020, she was the recipient of NJCA’s Community Service award. She is a Lead NJ Fellow from the Class of 2010. She has served on the DanceNJ Board, served as a mentor in DanceUSA’s Leadership program and is a member in the Union Township and Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce. In the Summer 2020, in response to the lack of diversity on dance panels, Anita served as a reviewer for the Dance USA/Dodge Foundation’s grant for New Jersey Freelance Dance Workers and on the Nomination Advisory Community or for the Mid Atlantic Arts Regional Resilience Funds.