On September 1, 2021, one of the country’s premier educational content providers made Margaret Eames its new CEO. The National Theatre for Children (NTC) announced the change and is currently being certified as a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The executive hire comes near the end of an unpredictable year for a company that has educated K-12 students in the fields of energy conservation, financial literacy, health and wellness, and other important topics throughout its 43 years of existence. Beginning in March 2020, NTC pivoted from live in-school performances to primarily offer virtual livestream events as schools’ instructional guidelines transformed.
The new digital model of NTC’s educational programs has reached 1.3 million students, suggesting that the company’s outreach capabilities remain strong despite the rapid shift in technology. Eames is positioned to lead the company through further breakthroughs and obstacles, bringing an emphasis on teamwork and adaptability.
“I stabilize and strategize what we do at NTC so the creative people can bring big ideas and new innovations,” Eames said after the hire became official. “I really believe that leading with strong roots and a stable core will give us the longevity to grow as uniquely as we always have.”
Eames began at NTC – then known as Small Change Original Theatre – in 1992 in the accounting department. Her work experiences up to that point covered a diverse array of positions, from accounting to print design to marketing.
Eames said of the early years in her career, “I didn’t go the four-year degree route – I took the work experience route. I had a few years at the Minnesota School of Business and a bit with Minneapolis Community College, but I started a family and didn’t get to finish my degree, like many women.”
Her versatility continued to benefit NTC, as Eames elevated through the company from Accounts Payable to Design Coordinator to Chief Financial Officer. Working alongside her husband of 37 years, Ward Eames – who founded the company in 1978 and has served as CEO until this year – Margaret has often worked behind the scenes but is excited to have more central decision-making power.
“With Ward always out front all these years as the visionary,” Margaret added, “we do have a longstanding joke: He may be front and center – but I’ve been feeding him the lines.”
Ms. Eames’ rise to the CEO position reflects a broader professional trend: the number of women CEOs rose 2% in 2020 to a historic high, in the midst of a year with unprecedented challenges. Business analysts expect the percentage of women CEOs to continue rising in 2021 and beyond, along with the number of minorities and LGBTQ+ individuals at the executive level.
While Eames is aware of the significance of her rise to the CEO position, she also believes that it aligns with how NTC has historically operated: “I’ve witnessed professional discussions where there’s a reticence to admit there’s a woman at the top. But that’s not us… We’ve always had women in leadership roles at NTC and still do. That’s key to what we do and how we do it.”
Indeed, Eames has witnessed the company grow from a $200k company with five full-time employees at its inception, to a $3.7 million company with 26 full-time employees, not to mention a crew of freelance actors, artists, writers and directors. She has supported the company in a variety of ways over the last 29 years, and her unique and intimate knowledge of NTC’s workings make her an ideal candidate to continue leading the company with empathy and innovation.
Her favorite aspect of being a woman in a leadership position, however, is more personal: “I’m happy my granddaughters get to see it.”
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About The National Theatre for Children
NTC is a premium provider of educational programming with operations in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. We work directly between schools and clients to promote beneficial behaviors and life skills to students and educators to help inspire and prepare the next generation of scientists, artists, thinkers, pioneers and world citizens in grades K-12 on a local, regional and national level.
Our award-winning educational programs are provided free for schools and are customizable to accommodate specific messages and goals for clients. Through formats including live performance, e-learning, in-class discussion, graphic novels, print curriculum, and digital games and activities, we present topics such as energy conservation, safety, financial literacy, STEM, water and environmental stewardship, and health and social responsibility in ways that engage and empower students. In doing so, we are helping our clients to be forces of change for students, parents and communities.
For more information, visit www.NTCcorporate.com.