In 1986, Genene Stewart joined Dana Lupton and Leah Mann to become the third co-founder of Moving in the Spirit. During the organization’s formative years, she served as chief operations officer, administrator, program director, choreographer, and influential teacher, reaching hundreds of children in area schools, churches, and community centers. In the 1990’s, Genene directed Moving in the Spirit’s Stepping Stones program and founded the Junior Company (now GLOW in Motion) while simultaneously managing a career in accounting and administration in the corporate sector. Genene was an accounting major at Georgia State University and has over forty years of experience in executive management and modern dance studies.
Genene transitioned from daily operations to an advisory role in 2002, returning as Managing Director in 2007 to usher in a new era of growth for Moving it the Spirit. During this time, Genene was instrumental in securing the company’s long-term sustainability. In the 2008-2012 economic recession, when many organizations were cutting services, Genene expertly guided Moving in the Spirit’s team to increase programming and students served.
From 2017-2018, Genene led negotiations to secure a 99-year land lease with MARTA and over $2.5 million in New Markets Tax Credit, an achievement that paved the way for Moving in the Spirit to break ground on its new world-class performing arts and youth development center. Throughout 2020-2022, Genene guided Moving in the Spirit as the organization completed a capital campaign and moved into its new home during a global pandemic, securing $400K in Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans to retain staff, teaching artists, and preserve program integrity.
Genene’s savvy for finance and operations gained the respect of the philanthropic community throughout her career. Through her leadership and management, Moving in the Spirit received the 2011 Managing for Excellence Award from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Genene leadership was also recognized in 2019 when the Atlanta Business Chronicle named her as a finalist for its CFO of the Year award.
Outside of Moving in the Spirit, Genene has served as a business consultant to Donnie Wellz Designs, Orangemoon Management, and Grio’s Fire Theatre Ensemble.
Artistically, she has participated in various workshops with the Alvin Ailey Company and Urban Bush Women of New York; Barbara Sullivan’s Atlanta Dance Theatre; Spelman College; and collaborations with The Renaissance Project and The Arthur Mitchell Dance Company. Genene has also created choreography that was performed by various artists of The Cathedral Academy, DeKalb Show Choir and the 1996 Olympic Celebration in Atlanta, Georgia.
Genene officially retired from Moving in the Spirit on December 31, 2022, returning to consult as needs arise.
Throughout her career, Genene has always expressed that the growth and success of others is her greatest reward. Her parting words to our community say it all:
“My purpose in life is to serve by sharing knowledge and creating opportunities for others to thrive! Moving in the Spirit has been the trajectory that has allowed me to achieve that purpose. It has been my joy to see generations of our students grow in confidence, knowledge, and compassion. But, most importantly, many of them are returning, learning, teaching, and passing it on. It is time for the next generation to RISE, LEAD, and SOAR!”