Paula Ross Joining Imagination Stage!

Paula Ross (she/her)

Dedicated Nonprofit Executive,

with proven success in Operations,

Development, & Marketing

Imagination Stage welcomes Paula Ross as Interim Managing Director & Consultant to the Board of Directors. Paula will direct the administrative functions of the organization and assist the Board in its upcoming search for a permanent Managing Director, to replace the departing Meghann Babo-Shroyer. In September, Ms. Ross ended a 9-year tenure as the Executive Director of Metropolitan Ballet Theatre & Academy. As part of her work, she was involved in advocacy efforts with arts leaders across the county and state, and is well-known in Montgomery County arts networks. Since leaving Metropolitan Ballet, she has been providing Strategic Management and Development Consulting Services to nonprofit arts organizations. 

Ms. Ross is a nonprofit executive with proven success in business operations, development, and marketing. Most recently, Ms. Ross was the Executive Director at Metropolitan Ballet Theatre & Academy (MBT) in Montgomery County, MD. During her nine years at MBT, she tripled the operating budget and grew net assets more than 6x over, supporting much greater reach and impact in arts education programming and outreach work. She led the organization through a major relocation/expansion in 2014 and another expansion in 2018, together with two major strategic planning processes and the organization’s first capital campaign. At MBT, Ms. Ross was responsible for all business operations, including strategic business planning, finance, personnel, facilities, technology, and legal operations, plus all development and marketing activities, including board development.  Her work to align individual donor interests to the organization’s needs, and her work with the board’s initiatives in diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) were of particular pride. She also led all pandemic response efforts, resulting in zero covid-related furloughs/layoffs, with continued debt-free operations.

Prior to joining MBT, Ms. Ross built a successful communications consulting practice, serving the diverse strategic communications and business planning needs of her clients, which ranged from small retailers and nonprofits to Fortune 50 companies, in diverse subject matters ranging from general sales and marketing, fundraising, environmental concerns, and crisis planning. 

Paula is a 2014 recipient of a County Executive’s Award for Excellence in the Arts & Humanities and a graduate of the Leadership Montgomery Class of 2014. She is an avid volunteer in the local community, having served as President of the Board of the PTA at her children’s elementary school, and volunteered for other organizations such as the Kentlands Community Foundation, Montgomery County Swim League, Children’s National Hospital, and her undergraduate alma mater Allegheny College. In 2019, Ms. Ross also ended a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce, for which she chaired the nonprofit sector group, and also ended a one-year term as Chair of the Montgomery County Arts Advocates. She also enjoyed her work on the steering committee for the County Executive’s Ball for the Arts & Humanities for several years, encouraging private investment in the arts throughout the region. 

Paula is currently a Masters Degree candidate (expected 2022) in Management through Harvard University, having already earned a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management as part of that coursework. She is also a proud graduate of Allegheny College (1999) – go Gators! Other professional development work includes a Professional Certificate from University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace. 

Paula lives in Germantown, MD with her husband and two teenage children, all of whom are now expert volunteers at nonprofit arts functions. 

For more detailed information about Ms. Ross’ professional and academic experience, please visit www.linkedin.com/in/paulaross

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