Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiatives

Intent and Guiding Principles

MN Opera’s vision and mission is to sing every story and to change lives by bringing together artists, audiences, and community, advancing the art of opera for today and future generations. In this work, MN Opera aims to be an organization that inspires hope, empowers all voices, and strengthens bonds between people of all backgrounds and identities. We recognize that this eventual outcome requires increased intercultural competency and will take time to achieve. It is through deliberate action and ongoing commitment that we believe that the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion will become as integral and inherent to our work as the artform itself.

MN Opera recognizes it has not always fully addressed barriers inherent to the artform and built into the structure of the company. We believe that embracing and encouraging a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion will help to fully realize our organizational vision while providing a strong and vibrant future. In alignment with strategic goals, MN Opera aims to build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture in order to:

  • Build connection to opera for diverse populations to advance the artform
  • Build upon the variety of opinions, viewpoints, and ideas to create a culture of creativity that builds a positive reputation
  • Nurture and train artists from a diverse range of identities and backgrounds as the next generation of opera professionals
  • Facilitate our ability to identify, engage, and retain top talent on our staff and board
  • Help ensure organizational relevance with the philanthropic community for a vibrant future


We recognize the area of focus outlined here does not form a complete catalogue of the types of diversity we value at MN Opera. However, we fell that efforts in racial, socio-economic, gender, and age diversity requires immediate attention. Again, this is a focus, not a limitation.

To achieve these goals, MN Opera has established a standing Diversity Council to define, implement, review, measure, and improve Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives at the company. The Council is comprised of both leadership team and staff members. In addition, within the Diversity Council we have designated a Diversity Steering Committee to drive and guide activity.

The Council will meet five times annually. The Steering Committee will meet monthly. The Council will develop annual benchmarks to be reviewed by the Board, in order to move the organization’s work forward. The Council will provide regular progress reports to the company and the Board.

MN Opera’s Board of Directors has made a similar commitment and is pursuing a parallel track of EDI work, led by the Governance and Nominating Committee. The Board will adopt recruitment policies, processes, and annual benchmarks that enhance the diversity of the board. It will incorporate diversity measures in its annual self-survey and generally monitor the effectiveness of the Diversity Council and its work.

Created by the Minnesota Opera Diversity Council

Julia Gallagher (Council Chair; Assistant Production Director), Rocky Jones (Council Vice Chair; Communications Manager), Ryan Taylor (President and General Director), Jamie Andrews (Chief Learning Officer), Dale Johnson (Creative Advisor), Diana Konopka (Institutional & Major Gifts Director), Darby Lunceford (Chief Marketing Officer), Steve Matheson (Chief Financial Officer), Steve Mittelholtz (Facility Manager), Theresa Murray (Director of Board Relations), Karen Quisenberry (Chief Production Officer), Nick Sanches (Development Officer), Carley Stuber (Chief Development Officer), and Jen Thill (HR Director)

Board Approach & Benchmarks Created by Minnesota Opera Board Governance & Nominating Committee

Intent & Guiding Principles, Approach and FY19 Board Benchmarks were approved by the Minnesota Opera Board of Directors on September 13, 2018.

Read MN Opera’s FY19 EDI Benchmarks

If you have any questions about MN Opera’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion work, please feel free to contact Julia Gallagher at jgallagher@mnopera.org.

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