Katie Smythe is the founder, CEO and Artistic Director for New Ballet Ensemble. At the Los Angeles Music Center and through volunteerism in New York public schools, Katie cultivated a vision to align with educators and human service organizations to reach children on the margins in her hometown of Memphis, Tenn. She founded New Ballet Ensemble in 2003 to build an arts bridge across racial and economic barriers. 

Since 2008, 100 percent of NBE graduates have attended college, with five seniors earning $700,000 in college scholarships in 2015. Acclaimed by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, Katie’s creative work, Nut ReMix ™, Harlem at the John F. Kennedy Center and The Swan© with Lil Buck have brought international attention to this inclusive Memphis organization. 

In 2014, Katie accepted the National Youth Program Award (President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities) from Michelle Obama.

She serves on the board of the National Guild for Community Arts Education, the Levitt Shell (for which she is a co-founder) and the Cooper Young Business Association. She was a Fellow at the Community Arts Education Leadership Institute, a delegate at the National Summit, Creative Youth Development, in 2014, and has served on the City of Memphis Youth Guidance Commission.