Chad Smith, the David C. Bohnett chief executive officer chair of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, announced the appointment of Renae Williams Niles as chief content and engagement officer. In this newly created position, she will provide strategic guidance and articulation of the LA Phil’s organizational goals and policy, overseeing all programming (classical, non-classical and humanities) across Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, The Ford and the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center, and for LA Phil residencies and tours. She will also be responsible for YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) and learning programs and initiatives; communications, public relations, marketing and sales; and will guide further integration of the LA Phil’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals. Reporting to the chief executive officer, she will assume her position full-time beginning June 7.
Chad Smith said, “I have long admired Renae and her work. From the foundational and defining programming she launched during her time at The Music Center to her participation in the establishment of the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at USC, her creativity, collaborative spirit and deep connection to our artforms have made her one of the most respected arts leaders in the country. When the increasing complexity of our work and the institution’s ambitions for the future made it evident that we would benefit from creating the position of chief content and engagement officer, Renae was the person I immediately thought of, and I am thrilled that she has agreed to take this on. I know all of our artists, collaborators and partners, and the communities we serve, will join me in warmly welcoming Renae to the LA Phil.”
Renae Williams Niles said, “I am both overjoyed and humbled by the trust the LA Phil has placed in me. For quite some time I have found the LA Phil’s programming to be innovative and the educational programs to be incredibly impactful. It is my hope our collective work will ensure programs and experiences that are unifying and inspiring.”
Williams Niles joins the LA Phil from the Culver City Education Foundation, where she is the executive director. She has worked in the arts and nonprofit sectors for more than 25 years, serving in many capacities, including as company manager for the Lula Washington Dance Theatre, director of Grant Programs for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, vice president of Programming for The Music Center and the first chief operating officer/associate dean of Administration for the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, where she co-led the diversity and inclusion commitment.
Williams Niles has served as adjunct faculty for Claremont Graduate University’s Arts Management Program and has been a Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities Fellow since 2014. She served on the Western Arts Alliance board for 13 years, on the board of trustees for Dance/USA and as a three-year advisor for the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project. She is currently board chair of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, the national membership organization for the professional performing arts field.
A University of Southern California alumna, she also completed an executive education program with the USC Marshall School of Business, holds a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University and was a participant in the inaugural 2020 USC Racial Equity Leadership Academy. In 2017 she received the Western Arts Alliance Service to the Field Award and in 2021 was honored as an Unsung Hero from the State of California Legislature Black Caucus.