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Article Published: 15 Oct 2021

NextGen Leadership

The 2021 Leadership Intensive class (Sarah Carter)
The 2021 Leadership Intensive class (photo: Sarah Carter)

This August’s eight-day launch of the 2021–2022 Leadership Intensive was OPERA America’s first in-person program since the start of the pandemic. The 13 participating administrators represented a diverse range of professional specialties, including marketing, development, artistic administration, and education. Together, they explored the leadership  skills needed for career advancement, attending seminars on everything from board relations and public presentation skills, to strategic planning and achieving racial justice

The program is also designed to introduce the participants to a peer network they can continue to rely on for guidance and support. This year’s class will come together for virtual meetings in the months ahead and at OA’s annual conference in Minneapolis this May.

The Leadership Intensive is supported by American Express.

The Class of 2021
  • James Barbato, Director of Artistic Administration, Palm Beach Opera
  • Esther Blevins, Marketing and Communications Manager, Knoxville Opera
  • Eric Broker, Marketing and Communications Director, Minnesota Opera
  • Kelvin Chan, Founding General Director, Vital Opera, and General Director, VOXCRAFT
  • Matt Cook, Executive and Development Director, Pacific Opera Project
  • Julia Cooke, Artistic and General Director, Baltimore Concert Opera
  • Alonso Escalante, Artistic Director, Ópera de Bellas Artes
  • Kathryn Frady, Founding Executive Artistic Director, Marble City Opera
  • Sara Litchfield, Youth and Family Programs Manager, Seattle Opera
  • Jessica Phillips, Clarinetist, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and Co-Founder, MET Orchestra Musicians
  • Mitra Sadeghpour, Education Consultant
  • Linda Schulte, Director of Development, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
  • Hannah Waldman, Director of Development, Long Beach Opera

This article was published in the Fall 2021 issue of Opera America Magazine.