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OPERA America Selects 15 Participants For Its 2020 Leadership Intensive Program 

OPERA America Selects 15 Participants For Its 2020 Leadership Intensive Program 

OPERA America is pleased to announce the 15 participants from the United States, Canada, Europe and Latin America who have been selected for its 2020 Leadership Intensive program. These future industry leaders were chosen from a pool of 44 candidates through a competitive selection process focusing on candidates' potential to make significant contributions to the opera field. The program was generously established with the continued support of the American Express Foundation.

The 2020 Leadership Intensive participants selected by OPERA America are Derrell Acon, director of engagement and equity, Long Beach Opera; Joe Barnes, company manager, the Metropolitan Opera; Robert Boldin, artistic administrator, Pittsburgh Opera; Piper Gunnarson, executive director, On Site Opera; Julia Noulin-Mérat, associate producer, Boston Lyric Opera, and co-artistic director, Guerilla Opera; Andrea Puente- Catán, major gifts officer, Hispanic affairs, San Diego Opera; Chris Thoren, Fogel general manager, strategy and communications, Chicago Opera Theater; Eleanor Parker Walter, director of marketing and community engagement, Opera Birmingham; Noah Stern Weber, independent consultant; and Arthur White, director of external affairs, Michigan Opera Theatre.

OPERA America's partner organizations,, Opera Europa and Ópera Latinoamérica, selected and have underwritten the participation of the Canadian, European and Latin American leaders. They are Aisling Fitzgerald, opera producer and production stage manager, Wexford Festival Opera/Cork Opera House; Yvette Guigueno, director of development, Pacific Opera Victoria; Pierina Lavanca, coordinator of institutional projects, Auditorio Nacional del Sodre; Margarita María Mora Medina, director of marketing, advertising and communications, Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo; and Lauri Pokkinen, audience outreach and social responsibility manager, Finnish National Opera and Ballet.

This is the seventh class of Leadership Intensive participants to have been selected since the program's inception in 2012.

"The Leadership Intensive has proven to be a catalyst for the development of 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. "Alumni from the program now hold 10 percent of executive leadership positions at member companies across the United States."

OPERA America Selects 2020 Leadership Intensive Participants

The Leadership Intensive exemplifies OPERA America's long-standing commitment to identify and encourage the field's most promising administrators who will help move opera forward for years to come. This program provides them with a unique experience designed to bolster their leadership capacity and advance their careers.

"American Express has long supported the advancement of emerging nonprofit leaders and performing arts institutions," said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the 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."

To kick off the program, participants will convene at OPERA America's National Opera Center in New York City from January 31 through February 7, 2020, 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 includes Astrid Baumgardner, J.D., certified professional coach; Micaela Blei, Ph.D., storyteller and educator; Jeremiah Marks, chief financial officer, Opera Philadelphia; Michelle Ramos, J.D., Ph.D., executive director, Alternate ROOTS; Sarah Carter, director of learning and leadership, OPERA America; Laura Lee Everett, chief programs officer, OPERA America; and Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO, OPERA America.

Building upon that weeklong foundation in January, 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.

For more information about the Leadership Intensive, including a list of the program's alumni, visit

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