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Opera San José Announces New Trustees, Creates Emeritus Committee

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Opera San José has announced the election of Pravesh Mehra of Saratoga, and Cathy Lazarus of Los Altos, to its Board of Directors.

Opera San José Announces New Trustees, Creates Emeritus Committee

Opera San José has announced the election of Pravesh Mehra of Saratoga, and Cathy Lazarus of Los Altos, to its Board of Directors. The new trustees join a lauded organization which has remained vital and vibrant during the COVID-19 pandemic, from launching one of the nation's first relief funds to help opera artists and artisans affected by the sudden loss of work to recently unveiling its virtual performance lab with original digital streaming content.

Now in its 36th year, Opera San José is a well-established arts institution with a reputation for excellent fiscal and artistic oversight. Well-managed from its inception, the non-profit organization has never incurred debt and boasts nine 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator for its impeccable record of fiscal management. Receiving the maximum four stars indicates that Opera San José adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way.

The two new trustees will bring to the Board of Directors significant expertise in the fields of technology, business and fiscal management, diversity, marketing and sales strategies, and more.

Said Opera San José General Director Khori Dastoor, "I'm confident that the dynamic energy, fresh ideas, and professional relationships that both Mr. Mehra and Ms. Lazarus bring to Opera San José's Board of Directors will help strengthen our capabilities and allow us to thrive in the months and years ahead."

At the same time, it was announced that two of Opera San José's staunchest supporters, Laurie Warner and Frank Fiscalini who both recently retired from the Board, will serve as Co-Chairs for the newly formed Opera San José Emeritus Committee. This group will harness the drive of the organization's energetic and supportive former Board Members, helping to ensure Opera San José's vibrant future.

New board member Pravesh Mehra, a Saratoga resident since 1990, will be bringing to the organization years of technology and general management experience, as well as a deep passion for opera. Mehra currently serves as the managing partner and global leader of the Business & Professional Services Practice in DHR International's San Francisco and New York offices, where he is responsible for building a global practice, developing major clients, and providing insights into the talent management challenges facing global organizations. He is a seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience in management consulting, including as a Partner at Ernst & Young, Senior Vice President at Capgemini/Ernst & Young, Managing Partner at Heidrick & Struggles, and Managing Director at Russell Reynolds Associates. It was in 2001 while a junior partner at Ernst & Young that Mehra was invited to Opera San José's production of Rigoletto, where he fell in love with the art form. He immediately purchased his own subscription of four tickets and has seen nearly every one of the company's operas since 2002. Mehra has also hosted several home concerts performed by the Resident Artists of Opera San José.

Incoming trustee Cathy Lazarus, a Los Altos resident, brings extensive business and management acumen to the organization. After receiving her B.A. in Environmental Planning from Stanford, and Master of City Planning degree from Harvard University, Lazarus launched a long career with Santa Clara County where she held many positions including Management Analyst, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation, and Risk Management Director, before moving on to become Public Services Director for the City of Mountain View, where she ultimately retired as Public Works Director. Her professional areas of expertise include strategic planning, community engagement, infrastructure and capital project planning, personnel management, organizational structure, and budget strategy.

Emeritus Committee Co-Chair Laurie Warner dates her involvement with Opera San José to the summer of 1982, when her family purchased a home in Willow Glen and was welcomed with tickets to a neighborhood opera Jubilee fundraiser at the estate of Chris Dalis, older brother of Opera San José Founder Irene Dalis. An immediate bond was formed, with Warner soon volunteering at the company's office, beginning her 38-year-long journey of promoting Opera San José. She quickly became a member of Friends of Opera San José, as well as joining the company's Board of Directors, chairing numerous committees, and eventually going on to serve as the President of the Board for seven years beginning in 2010. Warner has been instrumental to Opera San José's success, having hosted numerous annual fundraising and educational events, and welcoming hundreds of patrons as her guest at performances over the company's 36 seasons.

Emeritus Committee Co-Chair Frank Fiscalini was the first official Board President for Opera San José and has continued to serve on the board ever since, with a brief interruption when he left to serve as San Jose City Council Member and Vice Mayor. Fiscalini has dedicated his entire life to the service of youth, advocacy for the arts, and to the betterment of San Jose. He became a teacher at James Lick High School in 1950, advancing to Superintendent of the East Side Union High School District six short years later. Fiscalini's contributions to the community did not end after his tenure as Superintendent. He became CEO of Alexian Brothers Hospital, coordinated the restoration of St. Joseph's Cathedral, and was elected to the San Jose City Council (1992-2000), serving as Vice Mayor from 1998-2000. In retirement, Fiscalini continues to tirelessly advocate for arts and culture, and works as a volunteer with several not-for-profit agencies in the greater San Jose community.

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