Program

National Trustee Forum

The National Trustee Forum is a multiday symposium for opera company board members to develop deeper understanding of the most pressing governance challenges and opportunities in the field of opera.

The forum is guided by OPERA America's conviction that the health of opera companies depends on the strength of their boards. Forum meetings offer board members insight into trends and issues, successful strategies, and governance concepts to reinforce their service to their companies and communities.

Past sessions have examined board recruitment and engagement strategies, committee structures, board-staff dynamics, leadership succession, and other topics that build trustee understanding of company operations.

Participants hear from experts, learn from one another, and forge lasting friendships with opera-devoted peers at other companies across the country.

Program Details

The trustees of OPERA America’s Professional Company Members are invited to participate in the National Trustee Forum. Multiple trustees from a board are encouraged to attend as a group to maximize the learning potential for their company.

The daytime meetings of the forum are accompanied by an evening program of performances, receptions, and private dinners, including the OPERA America Salutes awards dinner.

Upcoming Dates and Costs

The National Trustee Forum takes place in February or March of each year. A registration fee applies for the forum, with supplemental costs for optional evening activities.

National Trustee Forum 2022

February 24‒25, 2022 | Online
March 2‒4, 2022 | In-Person in New York City

The 2022 National Trustee Forum brings together opera company board members to gain insight into the most important governance issues and opportunities shaping the opera field as we look beyond the pandemic.

The Forum offers virtual and in-person options to make it easy for trustees from around the country to participate. The two iterations will complement each other, with the in-person forum building on the online forum with additional sessions and content.

 

DETAILS

The National Trustee Forum is exclusive to the board members of OPERA America Professional Company Members.

 

Virtual Forum – Zoom
Thursday‒Friday, February 24‒25, 12:30 p.m. ‒ 4:30 p.m. ET
Sessions will be recorded for subsequent viewing.

  • Learning From Disruption: COVID-19 catalyzed rapid, transformational innovation throughout the opera industry. What was learned and how will it define our work in the years ahead?
  • Changed Work Priorities: With COVID-19 has come the re-examination of inherited policies and practices that depend on the dedication of over-worked and frequently under-paid staff. Many companies are hindered by open positions and difficulty recruiting new employees. How can trustees monitor organizational morale and contribute to decisions that help retain staff and their expertise?
  • Strategic Planning Through COVID-19: Existing strategic plans were derailed by COVID-19 at the same time that other companies are formulating new ones. How can strategic planning help companies emerge from the disruption of COVID-19? In this session, speakers will review the process, scope, and role board members should anticipate when charting a course for their company.
  • Role of Trustees in Advocacy: An Update: The many challenges to businesses and individuals emerging from the COVID-19 crisis require interventions where trustees can play an important role. How can board members participate in advocacy? What are the key policy initiatives that can help the opera field recover and thrive?

 

New York City Forum – OPERA America’s National Opera Center
Wednesday, March 2, 1:30 p.m. ‒ 4:30 p.m. ET
Thursday‒Friday, March 3‒4, 9:30 a.m. ‒ 4:30 p.m. ET

  • Learning From Disruption: COVID-19 catalyzed rapid, transformational innovation throughout the opera industry. What was learned and how will it define our work in the years ahead?
  • Sustainability: Federal relief provided a temporary respite to opera company budgets that were threatened by lost earned revenue. What does sustainability look like following the non-repeating infusion of funds from Washington?
  • New Generation of Support: Some long-standing donors may not understand or appreciate new company commitments to public service, social justice, and new programming. How do companies embrace change strategies, and welcome new supporters and board members while honoring the service of those who depart?
  • Board Reengagement: Board members became very involved as 'life and death' issues emerged during the pandemic, and meeting participation soared through Zoom meetings. What about now? How can business be conducted most effectively while also re-establishing the essential social bonds among trustees?
  • Creating a Learning Board: Now, more than ever before, trustees need to stay current with trends in the field - from testing protocols to audience behaviors - that can guide strategies moving forward. How do boards embark on a sustained, serious agenda of learning?
  • Putting EDI Commitments to Work: The events of 2020 engendered broad awareness of wide-spread racial injustice. Opera companies issued statements of commitment to increase diversity and inclusion, but what tangible progress has been made since then? Company leaders will report on a few of the substantive programs that have been established and the results they are achieving.
  • Creating a More Diverse Board: How can companies make their boards more representative of the communities they serve? In this session, historic barriers will be explored before examining how mutually beneficial partnerships can lead to organic recruitment of new and more diverse board members.
  • Role of Trustees in Advocacy: An Update: The many challenges to businesses and individuals emerging from the COVID-19 crisis require interventions where trustees can play an important role. How can board members participate in advocacy? What are the key policy initiatives that can help the opera field recover and thrive?

The in-person forum features additional activities as part of National Trustee Weekend, including performances of Tosca and Ariadne auf Naxos at The Metropolitan Opera, Company on Broadway, and the special OPERA America Salutes awards dinner. Learn more about National Trustee Weekend.

 

REGISTRATION

Full Forum - Virtual and New York City:

  • $395 Member
  • $470 Non-Member (includes membership)

Virtual Forum Only:

  • $95 Member
  • $170 Non-Member (includes membership)
Register by Tuesday, February 1

The National Trustee Forum is part of OPERA America's National Trustee Weekend. Guests are invited to participate in other performances and activities throughout the weekend.

Use the buttons below to register online or click here to download a printable registration form.

For more information, contact us at Membership@operaamerica.org or 646.699.5266.