Leadership Intensive
Generously supported by the American Express Foundation
The Leadership Intensive program identifies the most promising professionals in the field of opera administration and provides them with a unique experience designed to bolster their leadership capacity and advance their careers. Seminars and networking opportunities provide an active learning environment for addressing strategic issues, building necessary skills and fostering strong professional connections in order to lead the opera field. Following the program, participants are prepared to apply new skills, share their learning and demonstrate leadership that contributes to local companies and communities.

Application deadline: May 11, 2017
Notification: Late June 2017
Program Dates: August 11–18, 2017

Selection Rubric: 2017 Leadership Intensive Selection Rubric (PDF)
Application Worksheet: 2017 Leadership Intensive Application Worksheet (PDF)
Apply: All Applications must be submitted online.

Program Details
Summer Intensive
The core of the program is a seven-day leadership development workshop at the National Opera Center in New York City, beginning the evening of Friday, August 11 and ending the afternoon of Friday, August 18, 2017. Participants will need to be fully devoted to the program activities during this time. Learning will focus on personal strengths-based leadership development and communication skills, in addition to strategic-level decision-making in opera administration, financial and risk management, governance, and season planning.

Featured Program Faculty
Astrid Baumgardner, J.D., certified professional coach
Micaela Blei, Storyteller/Educator, The Moth
Jeremiah Marks, Chief Financial Officer, Opera Philadelphia
Michelle Ramos, Project Director, Vera Institute of Justice
Marc A. Scorca, President/CEO, OPERA America

Alumni Services
Following the summer intensive, group coaching is available to the participants in the 2017 cohort. All alumni participate in regular conference calls, including informational interviews with field leaders and discussions on field issues. Alumni of the program are invited to attend special Leadership Intensive Roundtables at OPERA America’s annual conference. Attendance at Opera Conference 2018 is encouraged, but not a required component of the program.

Those accepted into the program are expected to participate fully in all aspects of the Leadership Intensive’s active learning environment before, during and after the summer intensive. Each participant will serve as a resource and support system for others in the 2017 Leadership Intensive cohort and contribute to OPERA America’s ongoing efforts to support future generations of leaders. The summer intensive week should be considered a retreat, and due to the demanding schedule, maintaining other work obligations may not be possible during that period. Candidates are strongly encouraged to seek approval for leave, prior to applying.

Selection Process
Participants are selected based on their potential to make a significant contribution to the field, demonstrated leadership thus far in their careers and the clearly articulated learning goals they have set for their professional growth. Selection is made without regard to current title, company affiliation or area of specialty. View the selection rubric.

Final selection of the participants is made over three rounds.
  • Round One: Review of Written Application
  • Round Two: Phone Interview with OPERA America Staff
  • Round Three: Interview with Field Leader

Alumni of the program are ineligible to apply. The application must be completed in full. Please note that this includes having the support of your direct supervisor and a letter of recommendation from someone in the opera field who can endorse your application.

Program Expenses
Thanks to a generous grant from American Express, OPERA America will award a select number of scholarships covering program tuition. Recipients must be U.S. citizens and must attend the program in full. Reimbursements of up to $1,500 per person are available to cover 50% of eligible travel and lodging expenses (50% of total receipts of up to $3,000). Participants are responsible for making their own travel and lodging arrangements.

International Applicants
OPERA America will welcome a limited number of qualified international participants to the program. These participants are not eligible for transportation and accommodation reimbursements from OPERA America, although they are welcome to seek funding from other sources.
  • Canadian Applicants: Please see Opera.ca for more information. Contact Christina Loewen at C_Loewen@opera.ca.
  • European Applicants: Please see Opera Europa for more information. Contact Audrey Jungers at Audrey@opera-europa.org.
  • Other international applicants: You may apply using the OPERA America application. Please note that no transportation or accommodation reimbursement will be available. Tuition and registration fees apply. In your cover letter, please include additional information:
    • Confirmation that you will provide your own transportation and accommodations, and that you will arrange for any required visas.
    • If English is not your primary language, please provide evidence that your written and spoken English is at a level that will enable you to succeed in this program.

Questions? Please direct questions about this grant program to Kurt Howard, director of programs and services, at KHoward@operaamerica.org.
The Leadership Intensive program was an invaluable resource in my career development. Years later, I am still making use of the knowledge and connections it provided.
— Annie Burridge, Class of 2012
General Director, Austin Opera
Program Alumni
Class of 2012
Dottie Allen
Daniel Anderson
Cristina Barbulescu
Annie Burridge
James Byrne
Nathan DePoint
Claire Friday
Scott Guzielek
Brian Hotchkin
Emmalee Iden
Lee Anne Myslewski
Ian Rye
Lena Vizy
Tom Wright

Class of 2013
Jamie Andrews
Jennifer Bradner
Garrett Collins
Peggy Kriha Dye
Carolyne Hall
James Hampton
Zackery Hayhurst
Bert Huffman
Audrey Jungers
Krystian Lada
Michael Mori
Christopher Powell
David Rubeo
Katherine Semcesen

Class of 2014
Ana Ablamonova
Todd Calvin
Brittany Duncan
Barbara Lynne Jamison
David Krohn
Ashley Magnus
Benjamin Makino
Joe Peacock
Gerald Philippe
Thomas Rhodes
Joanna Verano
Bradley Vernatter
Sean Waugh
Christopher Wybenga

Class of 2016
Morgan Beckford
Michael Blais
Vincent Connor
Hannah Griffiths
David Lomeli
Colleen Maybin
Chandra McKern
Patrick Mühlen-Schulte
Michelle Myers
Claire Padien-Havens
Ashley Parks
Jennifer Rivera
Sarah Squire
Lydia Zodda
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