OPERA America Announces 2019 Leadership Intensive Participants

By: Jan. 15, 2019

OPERA America Announces 2019 Leadership Intensive Participants

OPERA America, the national service organization for opera and the nation's leading champion for American opera, is pleased to announce that 16 participants from the United States, Canada and Latin America have been selected for its 2019 Leadership Intensive program. These future industry leaders were chosen through a competitive selection process focusing on candidates' potential to make significant contributions to the opera field. This program is made possible by the generous support of American Express.

The Leadership Intensive exemplifies OPERA America's long-standing commitment to identify and nurture leaders who will advance the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera for years to come. This program identifies the most promising professionals in the field of opera administration and provides them with a unique experience designed to bolster their leadership capacity and advance their careers.

The 2019 Leadership Intensive participants are Daniel Benavent, general manager, Theatre Aspen; Vincent Covatto, organizational membership manager, OPERA America; Priti Gandhi, chief artistic officer, Minnesota Opera; Matthew Gray, producing director, American Opera Projects; Rebecca Hass, director of community engagement, Pacific Opera Victoria; Jeila Irdmusa, marketing and communications manager, Boston Lyric Opera; Ben Jewell-Plocher, director of education, Sarasota Opera; Erik Johnson, senior financial analyst,, Boston Symphony Orchestra; Carmen Gloria Larenas, artistic director, Teatro del Lago; Anh Le, assistant director of marketing, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; Jaime Martino, executive director, Tapestry Opera; Daniel Moss, senior director of institutional partnerships, Lyric Opera of Chicago; Mariel O'Connell, associate producer, Beth Morrison Projects; Chidi Ozieh, managing and media director, Ardea Arts; Paulina Ricciardi, administrative coordinator, Ópera Latinoamérica; Sneja Tomassian, chief development officer, Cincinnati Opera.

This is the sixth class of Leadership Intensive participants to have been selected since the program's inception in 2012. OPERA America's partner organizations, Opera.ca and Ópera Latinoamérica, were responsible for selecting the Canadian and Latin American participants.

"American Express has long supported the advancement of emerging nonprofit leaders and performing arts institutions," said Timothy J. McClimon, president, American Express Foundation. "Through our continued investment in OPERA America's Leadership Intensive program, we hope to develop the next generation in opera who are committed to the longevity of this art form."

As part of the Leadership Intensive, participants will convene at the National Opera Center in New York City from Friday, February 1 through Friday, February 8 for a weeklong learning program that will address strategic issues, build essential skills and foster strong professional connections. These developing leaders will be prepared to apply new skills, share their learning with colleagues and demonstrate leadership that contributes to their local companies and communities. Expert faculty for the February session include Astrid Baumgardner, J.D., certified professional coach; Micaela Blei, PhD, storyteller and educator; Ed Harsh, director of strategic initiatives, The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music; Walker Lewis, stage director and executive presentation coach; Jeremiah Marks, chief financial officer, Opera Philadelphia; Michelle Ramos, J.D, PhD., executive director, Alternate ROOTS; Kurt Howard, director of programs and services, OPERA America and Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO, OPERA America.

Building upon that weeklong foundation in February, Leadership Intensive participants will take part in additional professional development activities throughout the year, including regular group coaching calls, webinars with field executives and roundtable discussions at OPERA America's annual conference, making this an extended professional development experience.

"The Leadership Intensive has proven to be a crucial training ground for a new generation of opera leaders who would not otherwise have access to such specialized learning opportunities or to an international network of peers," stated Marc. A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. "We are deeply grateful for American Express' continued support of this program."

For more information about the Leadership Intensive, including a list of program alumni, visit operaamerica.org/Leadership.