Representatives of Teatro Mayor and Auditorio Nacional del Sodre selected for OPERA America’s Leadership Intensive program

Margarita María Mora Medina, Director of marketing, advertising and communications of the Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo and Pierina Lavanca, Coordinator of institutional projects of the National Auditorium of the Sodre are the two Latin Americans selected to participate in the Leadership Intensive program of the OPERA America association.


OPERA America is pleased to announce the 15 participants from the United States, Canada, Europe and Latin America who have been selected for its 2020 Leadership Intensive program.


These future industry leaders were chosen from a pool of 44 candidates through a competitive selection process focusing on candidates’ potential to make significant contributions to the opera field. 


OPERA America’s partner organizations,, Opera Europa and Ópera Latinoamérica, selected and have underwritten the participation of the Canadian, European and Latin American leaders. They are Aisling Fitzgerald, opera producer and production stage manager, Wexford Festival Opera/Cork Opera House; Yvette Guigueno, director of development, Pacific Opera Victoria; Pierina Lavanca, coordinator of institutional projects, Auditorio Nacional del Sodre; Margarita María Mora Medina, director of marketing, advertising and communications, Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo; and Lauri Pokkinen, audience outreach and social responsibility manager, Finnish National Opera and Ballet.


The 2020 Leadership Intensive participants selected by OPERA America are Derrell Acon, director of engagement and equity, Long Beach Opera; Joe Barnes, company manager, the Metropolitan Opera; Robert Boldin, artistic administrator, Pittsburgh Opera; Piper Gunnarson, executive director, On Site Opera; Julia Noulin-Mérat, associate producer, Boston Lyric Opera, and co-artistic director, Guerilla Opera; Andrea Puente Catán, major gifts officer, Hispanic affairs, San Diego Opera; Chris Thoren, Fogel general manager, strategy and communications, Chicago Opera Theater; Eleanor Parker Walter, director of marketing and community engagement, Opera Birmingham; Noah Stern Weber, independent consultant; and Arthur White, director of external affairs, Michigan Opera Theatre.


This is the seventh class of Leadership Intensive participants to have been selected since the program’s inception in 2012.


“The Leadership Intensive has proven to be a catalyst for the development of a new generation of opera leaders who would not otherwise have access to such specialized learning opportunities or to an international network of peers,” stated Marc. A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “Alumni from the program now hold 10 percent of executive leadership positions at member companies across the United States.”


OPERA America Selects 2020 Leadership Intensive Participants The Leadership Intensive exemplifies OPERA America’s long-standing commitment to identify and encourage the field’s most promising administrators who will help move opera forward for years to come.


This program provides them with a unique experience designed to bolster their leadership capacity and advance their careers.


“American Express has long supported the advancement of emerging nonprofit leaders and performing arts institutions,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “Through our continued investment in OPERA America’s Leadership Intensive program, we hope to develop the next generation in opera who are committed to the longevity of this art form.”


To kick off the program, participants will convene at OPERA America’s National Opera Center in New York City from January 31 through February 7, 2020, for a weeklong learning program that will address strategic issues, build essential skills and foster strong professional connections. These developing leaders will be prepared to apply new skills, share their learning with colleagues and demonstrate leadership that contributes to their local companies and communities. Expert faculty for the February session includes Astrid Baumgardner, J.D., certified professional coach; Micaela Blei, Ph.D., storyteller and educator; Jeremiah Marks, chief financial officer, Opera Philadelphia; Michelle Ramos, J.D., Ph.D., executive director, Alternate ROOTS; Sarah Carter, director of learning and leadership, OPERA America; Laura Lee Everett, chief programs officer, OPERA America; and Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO, OPERA America.


Building upon that weeklong foundation in January, Leadership Intensive participants will take part in additional professional development activities throughout the year, including regular group coaching calls, webinars with field executives and roundtable discussions at OPERA America’s annual conference, making this an extended professional development experience.


For more information about the Leadership Intensive, including a list of the program’s alumni, visit


Margarita Mora Medina, Director of Marketing, Advertising and Communications, Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo

Margarita Mora Medina is the director of marketing, advertising and communications at Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo. She studied social communications at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and business administration at the Universidad del Rosario. From 2010 to 2015, she was in charge of communications strategy for the government’s Technology Plan and the Ministry of Technology and Communications. For 12 years, Medina worked at the National Museum of Colombia as head of communications. She has also served as a communication consultant for BID Plan Pacífico de Planeación Nacional and for Bogotá’s secretary of culture, recreation and sports. Since 2008, she has been a visiting professor in the management program of Universidad del Rosario and in the museology programs of the National University of Colombia and the Externado University of Colombia.


Pierina Lavanca, Coordinator of Institutional Projects, Auditorio Nacional del Sodre

Pierina Lavanca, a native of Montevideo, Uruguay, discovered her passion for artistic projects while at university and decided to develop her career in that direction, convinced of its potential to contribute to sustainable human development. 


She joined Auditorio Nacional del Sodre in 2015 as a member of its technical direction department, responsible for budgeting and managing the technical crew. She currently serves as coordinator of institutional projects, working on strategic planning and coordinating a wide variety of projects. Previously, she worked at the state-owned National Development Corporation in the operational and financial management of several cultural and social projects. 


Lavanca holds a postgraduate degree in cultural management from University of the Republic, Uruguay, a bachelor’s degree in public accounting, and a university technician degree in administration. She also teaches business management and administration at the School of Economic Sciences and administration at the University of the Republic.