At the Intersection

Tomorrow I get the chance to speak briefly to the Wolf Trap Foundation’s Board of Directors. The WTOC is in an unusual position, in that our parent organization has an agenda that is way wider than opera. So it’s incumbent on me to find a way to draw parallels between our world and the more corporate world of the business leaders on our board, many of whom have never seen an opera.

As I prepare, I share with you my Venn diagram. (Yes, I’m a geek. And I love basic data visualization.)

It represents 3 different kinds of career development opportunities that are generally available across all industries.

The pink circle encompasses opera YAPs, for which a good equivalency may be found in high-level apprenticeships and internships in the business world. High-level professional environments, important exposure and good opportunity for observation, but a scenario in which you are a small cog in a big wheel.

Academia is in green. Terrific mentorship and quality instruction; but the instruction isn’t highly individualized, and the learning isn’t always hands-on.

Purple represents small companies without a training focus. They offer critical chances to step into the spotlight, but the infrastructure is often iffy, and the quality of resources and colleagues is variable.

We sit at the nexus of all of the best parts of these institutions – at the sweet spot where we can put together a professional infrastructure, individualized expert instruction, and the chance to take the reins yourself and develop those executive skills that will come into play all through a career.

And I’m off to finish working on my speech!



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