November 16, 2021

Meet Traci Lester, Roundtable Board Member

Reading Time:   3 mins

Roundtable Board Member Traci Lester serves as Executive Director of The Center for Fiction. Most recently she was Executive Director of National Dance Institute (NDI), an arts education organization founded by legendary dancer Jacques d’Amboise in the belief that every child should have access to learning in and through the arts. Traci shared some of her favorite things about NYC and being a member of the Roundtable’s Board of Directors.

Tell us about your work in arts education.

I am the Executive Director of The Center for Fiction, a nonprofit literary organization founded over 200 years ago (originally called The Mercantile Library Association of the City of New York).

What is your favorite “nook” of NYC?

My favorite nook of New York City is The City College Campus in northern Manhattan and Harlem.  It’s an urban oasis filled with meandering paths, quiet spaces, and beautiful buildings. I spent many hours there during the pandemic and came to really appreciate the solitude of urban spaces.

Name a favorite cultural institution or experience in NYC. 

I love walking across the High Bridge as it connects Manhattan to the Bronx. It reminds us how easily accessible our neighborhoods are.

Traci smiles in front of a bookshelf, wearing glasses and circular earrings, holding a stack of books

“I was inspired to join the Roundtable after witnessing the energy and enthusiasm of attendees at one of my first Face to Face Conferences.”

Share one of your favorite experiences you’ve had with the Roundtable.

One of my favorite experiences was a recent gathering of Roundtable members at Little Island. It was so nice to see everyone in person, in an open green space, filled with artistic inspiration and programming, and accessible to all. We had a lovely time connecting and discussing all that we hold in common.

What Roundtable initiative really speaks to you?
The initiative to Center Black Women’s Leadership in Education is so important and affirming for me as a nonprofit executive in this space.  I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts about being a Black leader and also the opportunity  to connect with my peers around this work. 

Learn more about Traci and the Roundtable Board here.