Mission Statement

The mission of Hickory Ballet & Performing Arts in to inspire our community through classical ballet and the performing arts.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to inspire positive change, one artist at a time.

I. About the Organization

Originally founded as a classical ballet school in 2011, Leanna Bodnar took over operations of the school in2018, adding her Broadway experience and expanding the curriculum to include the performing arts. At this time, the studio also attained non-profit status and officially became Hickory Ballet & Performing Arts. In 2022, the studio relocated from Foothills Gymnastics to its current location at 116 3rd St. NW in Hickory, finally having a “home of its own.” Students are given multiple opportunities to perform throughout the year. In collaboration with The Green Room Theatre, the ballet program performs The Nutcracker annually, and an additional story ballet each spring. Performing Arts students showcase their skills performing a children’s musical in the fall, and a full-scale production each spring. Students collaborate with The Hickory Museum of Art, The Western Piedmont Symphony and The Hickory Choral Society. Free community programs are offered at multiple locations including Central Latino, city and county parks, city and county libraries and at Southwest Primary School. One of the most special events is a Sensory-Friendly performance of The Nutcracker. Hickory Ballet & Performing Arts enjoys an active Parent Guild whose primary goal is to provide fund-raising and volunteer support to benefit students of the school. Examples include: organizing performance volunteers, managing the boutique at performances, and designing and ordering cast shirts. Parent Guild funds are used to buy things for the students and our facilities.

II. Our Planning Team and Findings

The HBPA Strategic Planning Committee included members of the board of directors, staff and community volunteers:

  • Leanna Bodnar – Executive Director
  • Emily Garmon – Board of Directors
  • Josh Walker – Board of Directors
  • Christina McNally – Board of Directors
  • Linda Wade – Volunteer
  • Danielle Cannon – Volunteer
  • Rick Seay – Volunteer

Strategic Planning Counsel was provided by COR Consulting:

  • Doug Hartjes – President
  • Virginia McIlwain – Consultant



Board self-evaluation provides an opportunity for the organization to assess its current state of effectiveness in helping advance its mission. More importantly, a self-evaluation can also identify methods for improved communication, accountability, and an opportunity to build the best possible leadership for the organization. Ultimately, the assessment evaluates how effectively the board is working together to manage their responsibilities. Findings from the assessment indicate that the board enjoys a strong relationship with HBPA’s Executive Director, collaborates effectively, believes in the mission and work of HBPA, and values the opportunity to serve on the organization’s behalf. Opportunities for growth identified by the assessment include setting clear goals and expectations for the board and developing related accountability structures, increasing the size and diversity of the board, creating clear onboarding materials and policies to orient board members to their roles, and identifying new ways to engage the board in HBPA’s activities and performances.


A S.W.O.T. analysis helps the organization assess internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) and external factors (opportunities and threats) that might affect its business. HBPA undertook a S.W.O.T. analysis in an effort to measure the current state of the organization. The analysis yielded insights about opportunities for growth as well as behaviors that should be maintained moving forward. HBPA staff joined members of the planning committee and board as participants in the S.W.O.T. process. The group identified HBPA’s strong leadership, talented faculty and staff, supportive environment, and quality and variety of programming as strengths worth recognizing and leveraging in the future. Areas for growth identified during the S.W.O.T. process include board development, brand awareness and marketing, staff development, and securing the additional resources necessary to accomplish the organization’s future goals.

The internal stakeholder assessment is a tool used to measure the staff and board’s vision for the future focus of the organization. This assessment is designed to solicit open-ended feedback from participants about their goals and aspirations for the future of HBPA. Participants shared their belief that preserving HBPA’s supportive, performance-based environment and retaining current leadership will be critical to the future success of the organization. They also raised the importance of continued community outreach and
collaboration, with a special focus on improving access for underserved groups and converting outreach to involvement in HBPA’s programming. Participants reinforced the need to increase and diversify the organization’s financial support, bolster enrollment, develop the board, deepen existing marketing and publicity efforts, invest in growing the team, and providing regular professional learning opportunities.





Mission and vision statements are concise, inspiring statements that clearly communicate the direction and values of an organization. Until now, HBPA has stood by its original mission and vision statements which have endured since the
organization’s inception. Given the growth and future trajectory of HBPA, it was determined that a review and potential update of these statements were in order. COR Consulting facilitated discussions with the strategic planning committee and with HBPA staff to assess the organization’s mission and vision statements. With thoughtful dialogue defining why the organization exists and what success will look like for HBPA, the team created new statements to define its work and the desired end result:

Mission Statement

The mission of Hickory Ballet & Performing Arts in to inspire our community through classical ballet and the performing arts.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to inspire positive change, one artist at a time.


The external stakeholder assessment is a more robust version of the internal stakeholder survey, but is focused on external constituents such as donors, friends of HBPA, and community figures. For this exercise, more than 20 individuals were interviewed by members of the strategic planning committee and results were summarized and condensed into common threads. These included several characteristics that community members identified as strengths of HBPA, among them:

• The organization’s high-quality instruction, programming, and performances (including and beyond ballet)
• The new studio space, conveniently located in downtown Hickory
• An emphasis on collaboration and community partnerships; and
• A focus on creating a non-competitive, performance-based environment for participants and their families

Community members interviewed as part of the external stakeholder assessment process also voiced their interest in seeing HBPA:
• Increase awareness in the community about its offerings and mission
• Pursue dedicated performance space
• Secure necessary resources in a time of growth and expansion for the organization (and, more broadly, amid an uncertain economic         climate); and
• Prioritize community-wide accessibility and inclusivity in future outreach effort

III. Our Goals and Objectives

IV. Three Year Financial Forecast

“You are more capable than you think.” – Misty Copeland