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Leadership Advance
Advancing the opera field depends on the identification and development of new leaders who have the talent, experience and desire to master the complexities of opera company management. This conference-long seminar series will provide those eager to advance to leadership positions in the field with specific advice in key management areas as well as guidance on how to build skills and find appropriate mentors. Participants will gain expertise through presentations and group discussions, including breakfasts each day of the conference. Topics will cover: staff management, major donor cultivation and stewardship, integration of electronic media in marketing and communication strategies, public speaking and meeting facilitation, among others. Faculty for each segment of the seminar will include opera company general directors and field leaders in the areas of development, marketing and governance. Sponsored by Wells Fargo.

Speakers: John Conklin, Designer; Susan Danis, Sarasota Opera; David B. Devan, Opera Company of Philadelphia; Catherine French, Catherine French Group; Marc A. Scorca, OPERA America; Diane Wondisford, Music-Theatre Group; Darren K. Woods, Fort Worth Opera

Soliciting New and Increased Annual Gifts
Development strategies and programs are more important than ever for ensuring resources to achieve artistic excellence. Over the past decade, earned income from ticket sales is covering significantly less of annual expenses, and the challenge has been exacerbated by the decline in subscriptions. At a time of greater dependence on development income, demands on development directors are increasing in the context of a climate of layoffs and reduced budget resources.

This one-day seminar will focus on annual giving with an emphasis on increased annual gifts of $1,000 or more, including special project support of $10,000, $25,000 and up. It is an ideal forum for board leadership working in close partnership with development and other key staff. Along with techniques to help you identify revenue sources and help you "close the deal," the agenda will include:
  • Development Basics: the ABC's of identifying and soliciting donors, especially for gifts of $1000 or more.
  • Major Gifts Fundraising: the partnership of Board and development staff in identifying, cultivating and soliciting gifts of $25,000 or more in an environment of reduced development expenses.
  • Opera as a Secular Religion: how to cultivate and upgrade donors by tapping into their unique passion for opera. What are the strongest messages and appeals for support in addition to ticket priority?
  • Key Partnerships: cultivating relationships among various levels of staff to positively affect relationships with donors and to maximize fundraising revenue.
  • Exploiting Special Events: using social and other events effectively for ongoing support and to enhance individual giving.

Speakers: Jim Bell, LA Opera; Peter Bilotta, Portland Opera; Ian Campbell, San Diego Opera; Ellie Caulkins, Opera Colorado; Leslie Dorman, LA Opera; JoAnn LaBrecque-French, Washington National Opera; John Nuckols, LA Opera; Marilyn Shapiro, LA Opera; Wendy Westwood, Wendy Westwood & Associates; Cynthia Young, The Dallas Opera

Making an Impact with Social Media and Technology
Today's world is teeming with tools to reach and engage patrons, such as mobile applications, online advertisements, Twitter and other social media. However, choosing which opportunities are right for your organization, integrating them into your traditional marketing efforts and measuring the return on investment can be challenging. In this day-long session, we will analyze the different mediums, evaluate the required investment and discuss avenues for success.

Speakers: Ling Chan, Vancouver Opera; Ceci Dadisman, Palm Beach Opera; Margo Tatgenhorst Drakos,; Marc van Bree, Public Relations Consultant

Revolution in the Board Room
Good governance is always important, but harder economic times place an even higher premium on the service of board members who understand and fulfill their roles and responsibilities. Led by governance expert and author Kay Sprinkel Grace, this seminar is designed for general directors, development directors and trustees who appreciate that a healthy opera company starts with effective communication and collaboration among company leaders. Areas for discussion will include systematic board recruitment, developing outstanding board members, improving board meetings, designing a productive and engaging committee structure, and strengthening the Board’s role in fundraising. Sponsored by Wells Fargo.

Speaker: Kay Sprinkel Grace is the author of The Ultimate Board Member’s Book. She works with boards in arts and other nonprofit organizations to help members find the area of highest confidence for involvement as an Ambassador, Advocate and/or Asker.

Official Airline of Opera Conference 2010:
AA Link
Host Company:
LA Opera
Sponsors of Opera Conference 2010:

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Photo Credits - Images courtesy of Los Angeles Opera. All photos taken by Monika Rittershaus.