Gretchen Wollert McLennon named President and CEO

The Ballet Memphis board of directors unanimously voted to appoint Gretchen Wollert McLennon as Ballet Memphis’ new President and CEO.

“The Board of Directors is so excited about the appointment of Gretchen, as ‘one of our own’ to lead Ballet Memphis. Gretchen has an extensive record of service on the Board, having served as Board Chair, Chair of the Strategic Plan and being integral to the recent capital campaign. Gretchen is a prominent participant in the non-profit community in Memphis and brings an energy of collaboration and innovation to her work. We are confident that Gretchen is perfectly poised to lead Ballet Memphis into its next chapter,” says Andrea Bienstock, Chairman, Ballet Memphis Board of Directors.

Gretchen will officially begin in her new role on August 1st but has taken advantage of her deep familiarity with the organization to reach out to the professional company dancers, key organizational partners, and the Ballet’s executive team to facilitate an efficient, effective transition.

Gretchen Wollert McLennon, President and CEO
I want to leverage Dorothy Gunther Pugh’s legacy to reimagine how Ballet Memphis can become even more valuable well into the 21st century. I’m excited to work with a world class team to explore how a ‘traditional’ art form can further deliver on our commitment to both equity and reflecting our shared community values.

A former student of the Ballet Memphis School and dancer in the junior company, Gretchen has been a part of Ballet Memphis since childhood. She led the Ballet Memphis Board of Directors as Chairman from 2014-2017, most notably supporting the company during the construction and opening of their home, a multi-million dollar facility in Overton Square. Gretchen and her husband Kojo are long-time donors to Ballet Memphis supporting the Ballet Memphis School and the professional company.

“It feels like coming home” says McLennon, “As a student, it was the craft itself and the discipline and drive it instilled in me that drew me to Ballet Memphis. But Ballet Memphis’ ability to inspire, provide moments of respite and reflection, and organically connect us to one another is what has kept me so engaged through the years.”

Most recently the Founder and Principal of DI Studio, Gretchen leverages over 15 years in the philanthropic and nonprofit sector. Her strengths lie in strategic and long-range planning and organization capacity building and she will bring a collaborative energy to Ballet Memphis.

McLennon spent 10 years at the Hyde Family Foundation as Program Director where she focused on managing the arts and culture, entrepreneurship, and leadership portfolios of the Foundation. In 2009, she was named to the “Top 40 Under 40” list by the Memphis Business Journal.

She has also served as a Major Gifts Officer for the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) and a Donor Relations Officer for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. She sits on the board of several local non-profits such as ArtsMemphis, Slingshot Memphis, Memphis Rock n Soul Museum, and The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. A native Memphian, she is a graduate of Northwestern (BA) and Wake Forest (MBA) universities.