Russell Willis Taylor
Former Board Chair
Center for Nonprofit Excellence
CNE Programs: Board Academy
Russell Willis Taylor served as interim Vice President for arts and leadership at The Banff Centre in Canada from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she served as President and CEO of National Arts Strategies from January 2001 to December 2014. Russell has extensive senior experience in strategic business planning, financial analysis and planning, and all areas of operational management. Educated in England and America, she served as director of development for the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art before returning to England in 1984 at the invitation of the English National Opera (ENO) to establish the Company’s first fund-raising department. During this time, she also lectured extensively at graduate programs of arts and business management throughout Britain. From 1997 to 2001, she rejoined the ENO as executive director.
Mrs. Taylor has held a wide range of managerial and Board posts in the commercial and nonprofit sectors including the advertising agency DMBB; head of corporate relations at Stoll Moss; director of The Arts Foundation; special advisor to the Heritage Board, Singapore; chief executive of Year of Opera and Music Theatre (1997); judge for Creative Britons; and lecturer on business issues and arts administration.
She received the Garrett Award for an outstanding contribution to the arts in Britain, the only American to be recognized in this way, and served on the boards of A&B (Arts and Business), Cambridge Arts Theatre, Arts Research Digest, and the Society of London Theatre. She currently serves on the advisory boards of The University Musical Society of the University of Michigan, Salzburg Global Seminar, and the Arts Management program at American University, on the British Council’s Arts & Creative Economy Advisory Group and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2013, Russell was honored with the International Citation of Merit by the International Society for the Performing Arts, presented in recognition of her lifetime achievement and her distinguished service to the performing arts.
Russell and her husband Steve live in Scotland.