As Trinity Repertory Company prepares for the departure of Executive Director Tom Parrish on October 15, the organization has named Jennifer Canole as the interim executive director and selected Arts Consulting Group (ACG) to lead the national search for Parrish’s successor. After leading Rhode Island’s Tony Award-winning theater for six years and orchestrating a financial turnaround and organizational transformation, Parrish is relocating to New York City to be closer to his fiancé and new home.
Jennifer Canole currently serves as the Director of Development for the organization and has worked in development and external relations at Trinity Rep since 1999. She secured the seed money that launched Trinity Rep’s Young Actors Studio (after-school and summer programs), Project Discovery Plus (in-school residencies supporting student matinee attendance), Trinity Rep Active Imagination Network (programs for children and adults with autism, cognitive, and psychiatric disabilities), and Open Access Theater; served on the board of Rhode Island Citizens for the Arts; worked on multiple capital campaigns and dozens of special events; and raised millions of dollars for the theater’s operations, facilities, programs, and endowment. She was recognized for her work with a Providence Business News 40 Under Forty Award in 2013. In October 2016, Jen was promoted to Director of Development. A member of the organization’s senior management team, she sets strategy for and leads Trinity Rep’s fundraising and development operations. During her time in this role, annual fund income has nearly doubled and the number of donors to the theater has increased five-fold. Jen is a graduate of Ithaca College, and lives in Lincoln, RI with her husband and two sons.
Canole remarked, “I’ve devoted my career to advancing Trinity Rep’s work and am excited to have thepportunity to provide interim leadership during this transition. Trinity Rep is at a critical moment in our history – rebuilding from the pandemic; implementing important changes that reflect our commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism; resuming in-person production; and welcoming audiences back to the theater. Identifying the right person to serve as our next Executive Director will – by necessity – take the search committee some time. My experience and depth of relationships, both internal and external, will help provide stability and continuity so that we can continue to advance our work and serve the community.”
Curt Columbus, the company’s artistic director, said, “I am delighted to partner with my longtime collaborator, Jennifer Canole, as Trinity’s interim executive director. Jen has demonstrated a more than 20-year commitment to the organization, and she is a tireless worker for Trinity Rep. She has grown our fundraising substantially during her tenure as Director of Development, helping put Trinity on its best financial footing in our history. In so many ways, Jen is the perfect person to keep Trinity Rep running smoothly during this period of transition.”
Chair of the Board of Trustees Lou Giancola added, “Jen has demonstrated her strong commitment to Trinity Rep and has the respect of the staff, actors, artists, community partners, and trustees. We have confidence that she has the leadership skills to maintain the progress Trinity has made over the last several years.”
Canole will focus on maintaining the stability of the administrative operations of the organization, overseeing the development, marketing, resource management, and service and experience teams until a permanent hire is made. A search committee chaired by Kibbe Reilly will partner with ACG to conduct a national search for the next executive director.
Reilly commented on the choice, “The Executive Director Search Committee chose Arts Consulting Group because they will lead an equitable executive search process that will address Trinity Rep’s unique needs. I am confident they’ll guide us to the person who has the best combination of the leadership skills, financial competencies and relevant experience to move Trinity Rep forward as we face the next set of challenges.”
Arts Consulting Group is a leading provider of hands-on interim management, executive search, revenue enhancement, strategic planning & community engagement, facilities & program planning, and other capacity building services for the arts and culture industry. Founded in 1997, ACG is a full-service firm that effectively works with a wide range of nonprofit organizations, universities, government agencies, and for-profit entities that operate in the creative industries. The firm takes a contemporary approach to client challenges and opportunities focused on growing institutions, advancing arts and culture, and enhancing communities. ACG team members have leadership experience in every artistic and cultural discipline, and they seamlessly adapt to clients’ rapidly changing strategies, business models, and operating environments. The firm currently has locations in Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, Raleigh, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, DC.
Columbus, who also serves on the search committee commented, “In addition to being nationally recognized and widely respected in the American theater, ACG has a long history with Trinity Repertory Company. ACG President Bruce Thibodeau, Senior Vice President Wyona Lynch-McWhite, Vice President Jenna Deja, and the entire ACG team are among the best in our business, and their commitment to building diverse and successful leadership teams for theaters is impressive and longstanding. I know that our search for Tom Parrish’s successor is in the right hands.”
ACG will be developing a position profile after consulting with the search committee, board, staff, and artists and will subsequently begin recruiting candidates for the position in October.