LA Opera Launches New Legacy Ambassador Program

LA Opera is launching a bold Ambassador Program to forge deep, authentic and lasting relationships with diverse communities and the key thought leaders who influence them. Ambassadors will serve as a bridge between LA Opera and the communities they reach as a conduit to cultivate transparent dialogue and establish trust, educational sharing, access and exposure to opera and the arts.

“As the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles is also one of the most diverse cities, yet a diversity and belonging divide still exists,” said Sax agency partner Kara Sax, who has was hired by LA Opera to solve this problem. publish. “This feeling is amplified by impostor culture, which is how we define the systemic and inequitable reality that deters people from wanting to show up in places they feel they don’t belong in. Imposter syndrome affects audience attendance, conversation, the future and ultimately the legacy of the arts.”

While LA Opera has a number of long-running programs to welcome underserved communities to participate in the arts, many of the most comprehensive and immersive programs have been centered around children. “Our education and community engagement programs have been extraordinarily effective in introducing young people in Los Angeles to the magic of opera,” said LA Opera President and CEO Christopher Koelsch, “and we want to enjoy the same success with adults.As a non-profit organization, it is not only our purpose, but our obligation to ensure that the arts are accessible and welcoming to all. with a young, polycultural audience relies heavily on limitless innovation, risk-taking, exposure, and true reflection of the world and community we are in.”

With the establishment of this program and more, LA Opera is leading efforts to celebrate, affirm and advocate for diverse and equitable inclusion of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, faith, family structure, socio-economic background, age and ability. LA Opera Ambassadors will be recognized as some of the highest and most eminent honors given to Los Angeles’ most influential thought leaders and stakeholders.

The LA Opera Legacy Ambassador program was created to forge deep, authentic and lasting relationships with diverse communities and the key thought leaders who influence them. Ambassadors will cultivate transparent dialogue, educational sharing, access and exposure, emphasizing belonging and making the arts accessible to all by leveraging their influence to advance the mission.

Ambassadors will have a renewable one-year term; the inaugural group will serve from October 2022 through September 2023. The program will officially begin with a reception welcoming the Ambassadors prior to the performance of Omar November 2, 2022. Biographies and photos of LA Opera Legacy Ambassadors are available at

Lori Hall Armstrong, lawyer, business owner, civic engagement and community service enthusiast, philanthropist
Mike Armstrong, Executive Vice President, Global Television Licensing and Operations for Paramount Pictures, Independent Director, Philanthropist, Brand Builder, Mentor, Leader
Kahlana Barfield Brown, fashion and beauty content writer and creator
Tomas J. Benitez, President, Latino Arts Network of California
Julissa Bermudez, Latinx actress, entrepreneur, social activist
Sonia Coleman, SVP of Human Resources, DGE Content and ESPN
Tammy Dickerson, President and CEO of tbg Events (formerly The Baker Group); founding member of The Black Table; member of Meeting Planners International Southern California Chapter (MPISCC), National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP) and Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce (GLAAACC)
Becca Doten, Airport Affairs Manager, LAWA
James DuBose, President/Head of Programming at FOX SOUL; producer; director
Iman Houston Farrior, Head of Television Business Affairs at Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
James Farrior, former NFL linebacker; Class of 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Honor Member; inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame
Jeff Friday, film producer, founder of the ABFF (American Black Film Festival)
Nicole Friday, Executive, Producer
Whoopi Goldberg, actress, film producer, author, EGOT-winning (“The View”) television personality, comedian, Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Omar Grant, Roc Nation Co-Chair, Girls Make Beats Advisory Board Member
Lance Gross, four-time NAACP Image Award-winning actor, model, and philanthropist
Suzanna Guzmán, mezzo-soprano, one of LA Opera’s first associate artists
Ronnda Hamilton, President, LeRock Productions
Brenton A. Hamlet, Senior Vice President, Wealth Management Advisor at The Markoff Hamlet Group at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
Phil Handy, Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach (2016, 2019, 2020 champions), BBL champion (2000), player development coach
Lisa Johnson, founder and executive director of Private School Village, co-host of the “eRaced” podcast, philanthropist
Derrick Jones (D-Nice), disc jockey, beatboxer, rapper, producer and photographer
Courtney Jones-Moore, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation
Naima J. Keith, vice president of education and public programs at LACMA
Keshia Knight Pulliam, Emmy-nominated actress, producer, director, founder of Kamp Kizzy, host of “Married at First Sight”, entrepreneur, visionary, lawyer, culture shaper
Josh Kun, professor of communication and journalism and holder of the chair of intercultural communication at USC; author; editor; serves on the editorial boards of Public Culture, Journal of Popular Music Studies, and Music Research Annual, as well as on the boards of directors of Dublab and the University of California’s Humanities Research Institute; co-organizes CALA Crossfade Lab; directs the Norman Lear Center Popular Music Project
Dan Limerick, COO, William Morris Endeavor
Dawn Limerick, Founder and President of The Greenwood Standard
Dr. Stephen H. Liu, orthopedic sports medicine/surgeon and president/founder of Forme
Karen Mack, Founder of LA Commons, CBS Television Producer, Author
Alexandrea Martin, actress, film producer
Marsai Martin, actress, entrepreneur, film producer, philanthropist, activist
Audra McDonald, singer, Broadway actress, six-time Tony Award winner; two-time Grammy Award winner, Emmy Award winner, philanthropist
Kiesha C. Nix, Vice President of Charitable Affairs, Executive Director of the Lakers Youth Foundation
Norm Nixon, two-time NBA champion, Los Angeles Lakers (Showtime), executive vice president, co-founder/chief financial officer of Debbie Allen Dance Academy, NBA analyst, former vice president of the NBA Players Association, board of administration of the Homeland Security Advisory Council
Kalani Queypo, award-winning filmmaker, playwright, songwriter, actor
Ferrari Sheppard, contemporary visual artist, writer, photographer, activist and record producer
Renata Simril, President and CEO of the LA84 Foundation, philanthropist; board of directors of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the LA 2028 Olympic Bid Committee, the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation; formerly Governor-appointed to the California Science Center Board of Trustees, Chairman of the LMU Board of Trustees, and Fellow of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at USC
Andrea Smith, Director of Representation Strategy and Early Talent for Zillow, Director of Diversity Representation Strategy and Head of Recruiting
Eula Smith, Owner of EMS Consulting, Inc., Founder of EMarie, Philanthropist
Jada Pinkett Smith, actress, TV personality, award-winning “Red Table Talk” TV host, philanthropist
Jaden Smith, rapper, singer and actor; founder of JUST Water, philanthropist
Eduardo Soriano Hewitt, Head of Public Engagement, Office of Public Safety
Jacqueline Stewart, director and president of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures; editor, author
Mashonda Tifrere, author, singer, founder of Art LeadHer
Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, president and bishop of Faithful Central Bible Church, board member and adjunct professor and dean of The King’s At Oxford, author
Mrs. Togetta Ulmer, First Lady of Faithful Central Bible Church
Gabrielle Union, NAACP Image award-winning actress, entrepreneur, producer, activist, published author, philanthropist
Pablo Villavicencio, CEO of Alliance College Ready Public Schools
Dwyane Wade, NBA champion, former Miami Heat guard, entrepreneur, author, attorney, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame board member, UC Davis Executive Leadership Council for the Department of Viticulture and oenology
Karim Webb, Entrepreneurial Activist, LAX Commissioner
Nichol Whiteman, CEO of the award-winning Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation; board member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Positive Coaching Alliance; serves on the Sports and Impact Committee of the YMCA of Metro LA
Monét X Change, influencer, singer, podcaster, reality TV personality
Nancy Yoon, founder of “Asians in LA”, television host (QVC), actress

About the Opera
Los Angeles is a city of enormous diversity and creativity, and LA Opera is dedicated to reflecting that vibrancy by redefining what opera can be. Through imaginative new productions, world premiere commissions and inventive performances that preserve foundational works while making them fresh and compelling, LA Opera has become one of America’s most exciting and ambitious opera companies.

In addition to its performances on the main stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the company explores unusual repertoire each season through the LA Opera Off Grand initiative, with performances in a variety of venues across Los Angeles. The LA Opera Connects initiative offers a wide variety of educational programs and community engagement offerings that reach people in every corner of Los Angeles County. The company also offers a wealth of online content through its LA Opera On Now digital presentations, which launched in March 2020. To learn more, visit

LA Opera Media Contact
Luz Villarreal
Communications Director
[email protected]

LA Opera is a non-profit organization dedicated
serving the greater community of Los Angeles.
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LA Opera Dorothy Chandler Pavilion 135 North Grand Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90012 LA Opera, 135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA LA Opera Launches New Legacy Ambassador Program

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