Opera Conference 2014: Audiences Reimagined

Re-Imagining Impact: The User Experience
The User Experience (UX) is a driving force across all sectors that examines how consumers interact with products, services and systems. More than ever before, consumer behavior and input inform companies in developing more meaningful and tailor-made experiences, made possible through radical advances in research, design and technology. OPERA America invites leading innovators from beyond the opera field to give focused presentations on their developments in UX that will stir our sense of what is possible for the opera user. Following these lightning talks attendees are invited to explore demonstrations and mini-workshops stationed throughout the ballroom level to learn more about how companies are leveraging this customer-focused strategy.


Speaker Information
JAMES BUCKHOUSE, product innovation and growth, Twitter
James Buckhouse oversees creation, production, strategy and design of growth projects at Twitter. As founder of TeamClassical.com and Bachtoberfest.org, his personal passion is to bring the arts to a new chamber – finding ways to blend the audiences and practices of chamber opera, installation art, dance and digital media, while borrowing techniques from the tech industry.

PAUL CHASAN, urban designer/urban planner, San Francisco Planning Department
Paul Chasan is an urban designer with the San Francisco Planning department. He manages the Living Innovation Zone program and was the lead urban designer for the Green Connections project—a recently published citywide green street plan. Paul formerly managed the department's Parklet Program where he authored the San Francisco Parklet Manual. Paul has over 10 years' experience working in various capacities in positions related to the built environment in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Previous work has focused on sustainable design, transit oriented communities and complete streets. Paul has a bachelor's degree in Cultural Anthropology from Western Washington University and master's degrees in Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington. In his spare time, Paul enjoys drawing, biking and admiring utility access panel covers. He also sits on the boards of several local nonprofit organizations.

ERIKA HALL, co-founder, director of strategy, Mule Design
Erika Hall is the author of Just Enough Research. In 2001, she co-founded Mule Design Studio in San Francisco where she is the Director of Strategy. Erika speaks and writes frequently about cross-disciplinary collaboration and the importance of natural language in user interfaces. In her spare time, she battles empty corporate jargon at Unsuck It.

LAURA KUSUMOTO, Manager, Innovation Technology Services, Kaiser Permanente
Laura Kusumoto is a manager of Innovation and Advanced Technology, within Kaiser Permanente’s Information Technology, who leads the development of tools and processes to support innovation, technology discovery and spread in Kaiser Permanente. She also serves as a development consultant for projects incorporating avatars, virtual agents, artificial intelligence, and gamification. Laura has been building high tech products, processes, teams, departments and companies for over 25 years, in roles from starting engineer to startup CEO. Her industry experience spans military training, healthcare, entertainment, toys, social virtual worlds, personal finance, web and software development, and nuclear fuel.

JOHN MCMAHON, executive director for operations and digital products, Meyer Sound
Meyer Sound Laboratories holds more than 40 patents for a range of innovative technologies and systems — many of which have revolutionized the sound world. Dedicated to acoustic research, renowned for accuracy and precision, and uniquely driven by a solution-oriented approach, the Company's people and products are universally acclaimed as the gold standard in the professional audio industry. Meyer Sound systems can be found in cultural institutions throughout the world including Cal Performances' Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, The Appel Room at New York's Jazz at Lincoln Center, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Vienna's Musikverein, New National Theatre Tokyo, and Svetlanov Hall in Moscow.

Executive Director of Operations & Digital Products John McMahon has been at the forefront of digital audio technology used by Cirque du Soleil® and theatrical productions worldwide. Working closely with consultants, sound designers and other end users, McMahon strives to make Meyer Sound's digital audio technology accessible for the benefit of performers and audiences alike. Prior to joining Meyer Sound, McMahon was CEO at Level Control Systems (LCS Audio) and President at Cadence Digital Audio Inc.

BEN NELSON, founder and CEO of Minerva Project
Ben Nelson is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Minerva Project, a reinvented university experience for the brightest and most motivated students.

Previously, Ben spent more than 10 years at Snapfish seeing the company through from an idea to the world's largest personal publishing service. With over 42 million transactions across 22 countries, nearly five times its closest competitor, Snapfish today is among the top handful of e-commerce services in the world. Ben was Snapfish's CEO from 2005 to June 2010, beginning his tenure by leading Snapfish's sale to Hewlett Packard for $300M. Ben joined Snapfish at the end of 1999 as leader of the company's corporate development operations and less than one year later took over company-wide responsibilities for finance. Prior to joining Snapfish, Ben was President and CEO of Community Ventures, a network of locally branded portals for America's communities. Previously, as a consultant, Ben was instrumental in the launching of several ventures within both large and emerging companies. Ben holds a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with honors. It was at Penn that Ben first realized his passion for reforming undergraduate education. After creating a blueprint for curricular reform in his first year of school, Ben went on to become the chair of the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education (SCUE), a pedagogical think tank that is the oldest and only non-elected student government body at Penn. Ben is a member of the San Francisco Opera Board and the co-founder (with his wife Marina) of Orpheus at San Francisco, an organization that brings together dynamic young donors in the 18 to 40 age group who are passionate about opera and would like to be leaders with San Francisco Opera.
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All OPERA America facilities are handicapped accessible. The National Opera Center features ground-level entry with elevators to the venue. All spaces are wheelchair accessible, and modular seating can be arranged to accommodate wheelchair users for all programs and performances. Handicapped accessible restrooms are available on all floors.
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