The Dallas Opera Announces Executive-level Promotions and New Hires
The Dallas Opera is extremely pleased to announce several important executive-level promotions and new hires as the company prepares for a star-studded 55th International Season ("Tragic Obsessions"), launching in October.
After seven successful years with the Dallas Opera, former Director of Marketing Jennifer Schuder has been promoted to serve the company as Chief Marketing Officer/Director of Community Outreach, effective immediately.
The Dallas Opera is also very proud to announce the appointment of Adam Cox to the position of Chief Financial Officer for one of the premier arts organizations in North Texas. Mr. Cox, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, comes to TDO with a multifaceted background, solid business credentials and recognized expertise as an accomplished financial diagnostician and problem solver.
In yet another major appointment, John Harpool, formerly a highly respected Finance Specialist for Hewlett-Packard/Electronic Data Systems (EDS) has been tapped for the role of Dallas Opera Budget Manager.
Says Dallas Opera General Director & CEO Keith Cerny: "After working closely with Adam at both San Francisco Opera and during my tenure as CEO of Sheet Music Plus, I can vouch for his strong work ethic, his excellent business acumen and his exceptional ability to sift through mountains of data to identify problem areas-and devise timely and effective solutions.
"We are indeed fortunate to have acquired this gifted professional to fill the role of company CFO.
"Jennifer Schuder made a strong impression the moment I arrived at TDO, and in the year since, she has demonstrated her capacity for multi-level strategic thinking, superb leadership and tremendous drive in her approach to marketing opera to both loyal subscribers and increasingly diverse new audiences.
"In Ms. Schuder's role as CMO/Director of Community Outreach," Cerny adds, "I fully expect her to bring that fire for converting casual patrons into passionate aficionados to every aspect of educating, informing and entertaining the people of North Texas."
Ms. Schuder previously served as Director of Product Marketing for Dallas-based true.com, an online dating site where she supervised the development and marketing of the firm's interactive psychological tests and subsequent derivatives. These included a roommate-matching psychological profile developed in tandem with Harvard Graduate School.
She also served as Director of Marketing Communications for ZixCorp, an international healthcare technology firm, specializing in the use of 21st century technologies to protect patient privacy and to secure sensitive information.
"I am excited at this chance to expand my role at TDO and take on the challenge of providing North Texas students with more opportunities to experience the thrill of opera," says Ms. Schuder. "I'm also excited to be opening the door to more family-friendly opera programming, in the Winspear as well as in non-traditional venues.
"It is crucial that TDO continue to expand its outreach and education programs for both children and adults," adds Ms. Schuder. "Arts education is the last area to be funded in public education and, typically, the first cut-during lean economic times."
A native of nearby Allen, Texas, Ms. Schuder earned both a B.A. (in M.I.S.) and a master's degree in Mass Communications from Texas Tech University.
Mr. Cox's passion for finances is matched by his love for great literature and the arts. He majored in English (with minors in business and computer science) at the University of Alabama before his career path carried him from Bank of America, where he served as a successful Operations Consultant with a focus in Six Sigma, to the job of Business Process Manager and Controller at San Francisco Opera, a position that required Mr. Cox to manage all accounting functions and audits for one of North America's largest and most influential opera companies. In addition to managing the accounting functions, he also led the process and financial implementation of the Tessitura ticketing and fundraising system.
"The trend in performing arts companies is to bring in a CFO with, not only financial and accounting experience, but a mindset for operational strategy," Mr. Cox explains. "The Dallas Opera is consistent with that trend. At this point in its evolution, what's most valuable is a solid understanding of the bigger picture rather than just principles of accounting."
As Director, Service Delivery for the nation's third largest architecture and engineering design firm, San Francisco-based HOK Architects, Mr. Cox was confronted with the challenge of taking a "hub-and-spoke company" with 23 local offices and reorganizing existing staff resources into a centralized corporate group. The task also required Mr. Cox to establish company-wide protocols for standard best practices, centralized leadership and standardized communications between the head office and local affiliates, as well as between each local branch.
Cox subsequently accepted the position of Vice-President, Finance and Analytics at Sheet Music Plus, the world's largest online sheet music retail operation, where he managed the recapitalization of the company and drove a 42% year-over-year increase in international revenues.
Mr. Cox says he grew to love this art form while attending virtually every production staged during his three-and-a-half years with the San Francisco Opera.
His favorite opera?
Vincenzo Bellini's bel canto masterpiece, Norma, a role closely associated with the legendary Maria Callas, often called "the Godmother of the Dallas Opera."
Budget Manager John Harpool specialized in financial support, planning and analysis during his twenty-one years with Hewlett-Packard, Enterprise Services Unit / Electronic Data Systems (EDS), with a strong emphasis on operations and management support.
Working as both a Senior Financial Analyst (Bank of America contract) and as a Finance Specialist (Financial Planning & Analysis Team) during the latter half of the last decade, Mr. Harpool's responsibilities included reporting and monitoring of the account's multi-million-dollar annual capital plan; interfacing with auditors; trend analysis; forecast consolidation and analysis; off-shore analysis and finance process improvement. Additional responsibilities while on the Financial Planning & Analysis team included providing primary support for the communications, media and entertainment industry.
Majoring in Accounting at the University of Texas at Austin where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, Mr. Harpool earned his M.B.A. at the University of North Texas before going on to supervise accounting and a variety of financial functions for a successful North Texas wholesale/retail distributor.
"I am thrilled in my new position at the Dallas Opera to be able to combine my passion for the arts and music," says Mr. Harpool, "with my years of experience in corporate and managerial finance."
Harpool, an enthusiastic supporter of the arts, chaired the Finance Committee for the Arts District Chorale and served as Treasurer of that organization's Board of Directors for a three-year term recently ended (2007-2010). He currently serves as an ambassador/volunteer for the Dallas Arts District organization.
BIOGRAPHY FOR CFO ADAM COX:
The Dallas Opera's Chief Financial Officer, Adam W. Cox, is a highly regarded problem solver with a dynamic range of professional experience that encompasses both for profit and not-for-profit companies and projects, from coast to coast. Specializing in senior-level finance and operations management (including strategic planning, analysis and development), this detail-oriented executive most recently served as Vice President, Finance & Analytics for Sheet Music Plus, the world's largest online sheet music retail operation, based in Emeryville, California, where he was responsible for directing the finance and accounting functions. Mr. Cox came to Sheet Music Plus from his position as Director, Service Delivery for San Francisco-based HOK Architects, an architecture and engineering design firm (third largest in the U.S.) delivering solutions across the globe. It was during his tenure at San Francisco Opera (where he worked closely with Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny) that Mr. Cox rose to the position of company Controller, managing all accounting functions and audits for the second largest opera company in North America. Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Cox led the business process and financial data conversion efforts associated with the Tessitura system implementation. Prior to immersing himself in the opera world, this University of Alabama graduate worked as a successful Operations Consultant for Bank of America in Charlotte, North Carolina where he became an expert in Six Sigma and operational risk management.
BIOGRAPHY FOR CMO/DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY OUTREACH
The Dallas Opera's Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Community Outreach Jennifer Schuder joined the Senior Staff of the company prior to the 2004-2005 Season. Before beginning her tenure at TDO, Ms. Schuder served as the Director of Product Marketing for true.com, a Dallas-based online dating site. While at true.com, she oversaw all development and marketing of the firm's psychological interactive tests and all derivatives of those tests, including a roommate matching application piloted with Harvard Graduate School. Prior to true.com, Ms. Schuder was the Director of Marketing Communications for ZixCorp, an international healthcare technology company specializing in protecting sensitive patient information through email technology. Ms. Schuder has extensive agency experience in public relations, advertising and interactive marketing. She has served as account lead for such companies as HBO, ExxonMobil, Galderma Laboratories, The Associates, and Lennox, Inc. Ms Schuder is a graduate of Texas Tech University, receiving both her BA in M.I.S and her MS in Mass Communications from the institution. Among her notable accomplishments with the Dallas Opera, Ms. Schuder has led her marketing team to boost subscriber retention rates on average 7% for each of the past six seasons; increase single ticket conversions by 42% in one two-year period; design and develop the strategy for seating patrons in the new Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House; launch the Dallas Opera's Young Professionals Group, Amici di Opera, the OperaPoints rewards program and the Bring-a-Friend program. Jennifer Schuder also conceived a new summer outreach program, "Figaro in Flip-Flops"/ "Baritones & Beachballs" which has reached thousands of current and potential Dallas Opera patrons.