Opera Philadelphia
August 29, 2021
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Job Type


Opera Philadelphia is seeking a Vice President, Human Resources & Inclusion to add to its senior management team. The organization is committed to equity and inclusion practices and they know this new senior management position is instrumental in holding themselves and the organization accountable to the work. They will be looking to the successful candidate to guide them in determining and directing staffing goals and strategies to support the fulfillment of their mission.

Work Shouldn’t Suck has been retained to assist them with this search, and we are currently inviting expressions of interest from compassionate and courageous individuals who are passionate about people, and have energy to work within an existing structure in service of change. Opera Philadelphia is an equal opportunity employer with a goal to empower diverse people to fulfill their full potential. We actively welcome and encourage folx to apply from equity-seeking groups, including those who identify as indigenous people, black people, people of color, trans, nonbinary, queer, people with disabilities, and intersections of those identities.

Opera Philadelphia’s office building and workspace is wheelchair accessible. You can read more about office and venue accessibility here. Please refer to the Application Package for details about Opera Philadelphia’s return to work plan and vaccination policy amid COVID.

Application Information Package

About Opera Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia is a Pennsylvania non-profit organization incorporated in May 1975. Since 2008, Opera Philadelphia's work has been focused on making meaningful contributions to the city of Philadelphia and the art form, through a commitment to explore what opera could look like in the 21st century and how it might more closely reflect the communities that surround us.

In 2017, Opera Philadelphia launched Festival O, an annual opera festival to kick off its mainstage season. The shift was more than a re-packaging of its operatic product; it required a deep evolution of their brand and engendered a new relationship with its audiences. In 2020, the company launched the Opera Philadelphia Channel, an online streaming site that would continue to link Opera with community during the global pandemic. Today, they continue to be committed to embracing innovation and their mission of:

  • Delivering outstanding productions of traditional and new repertoire that engage the public and propel the genre forward;
  • Identifying extraordinary artists, both established and emerging, and provide opportunities for them to create their most imaginative and inspired work;
  • Presenting innovative programming relevant to the multi-cultural Philadelphia region that broadens and diversifies the opera audience.

Management Team

Since 2011, Opera Philadelphia has been led by its General Director & President David Devan. In addition to the General Director & President and the newly-created Vice President of HR & Inclusion, the other roles on the senior management team include:

The Board and Search Committee acknowledge that the Vice President of HR & Inclusion is a new leadership position within an established structure and as such will require care, humility, and commitment of the whole team in order to be successful. They are dedicated to providing this support.

Key Responsibilities of the Role

Mission & Strategy:

  • Consults on all major strategic and equity-related initiatives relevant to operationalizing the Opera Philadelphia mission;
  • Builds relationships and practices to support collaboration across hierarchy, functions of the organization, to build an inclusive and equitable environment for all staff, management and the board. 


  • Encourages, models, and promotes an anti-racist workplace culture as real-time situations arise and by supporting conflict resolution and harm prevention and reduction strategies to promote/increase/make paramount safe and structured opportunities for all staff, management and the board;
  • Provide compassionate individual and organizational support by helping to guide and create a safe, educated, and impartial environment to assist employees when problematic situations arise, managing with grace and with an eye to empower and guide conversations, amongst staff, during union negotiations, with leadership and the board.


  • Supports the evolution and formalization of practices related to the operation of the Equity & Inclusion committee, ensuring it supports the organization in a sustainable way over the long term;
  • Accountable for all aspects of HR compliance and implementation for all members of the Opera Philadelphia team;
  • Provide support for those negotiating collective bargaining agreements.


  • Champions an equity lens on the senior management team to ensure consideration and accountability in matters of organizational effectiveness.

A full job description, including a complete employee census, and budget information can be found in the Application Package.

Who Should Apply?

We are looking for applicants who have:

  • In-depth understanding, expertise, and practice in combined HR and equity, diversity, and inclusion environments, as evidenced by a relevant combination of at least 5-7 years’ experience, HRCI/SHRM accreditation, and/or a role-relevant degree;
  • Anti-racism leadership experience including but not limited to ongoing personal learning and development, conflict resolution and mediation, and the ability to sit in and hold space for discomfort, restorative practices, facilitation, caucusing, systemic policy and procedural reviews or development;
  • Personal experience that relates to Opera Philadelphia. For example: As a performing artist (amateur or professional) or production-related subject matter expert, as an arts administrator, as a Philadelphian, in community engagement or activism, etc.

Compensation & Benefits

Opera Philadelphia has a commitment to publish salary information. The expected salary for this position is between $120,000-$130,000 based on full-time hours and includes a competitive benefits package that is available to all employees. Please see the Application Package for more information about benefits.

Application & Hiring Process

  • PHASE ONE: Expression of Interest. Interested individuals are encouraged to send an expression of interest — in any format they choose — to Tim Cynova and Katrina Donald at search@workshouldntsuck.co or by submitting an application using the “Apply Now” button below. Video and/or audio applications are welcome in addition to written expressions of interest.
  • PHASE TWO: Formal Application. A resume and writing sample will be required from those who choose to formally apply, should they be invited to interview.
  • PHASE THREE: Interview Process. Two rounds of interviews are anticipated (all interviews will be conducted via Zoom).

If you need accommodations to make this application happen, please reach out to search@workshouldntsuck.co. We will work to support you through the application process via email, phone call, and/or video chat.

Search Committee

Expressions of interest and formal applications will be reviewed by the Opera Philadelphia search committee and the team at Work Shouldn’t Suck. Search committee members include: Catherine Perez (Development Services Coordinator), David Devan (General Director & President), Derren Mangum (Director of Institutional Giving), Michael Eberhard (Artistic Administrator), and Veronica Chapman-Smith (Vice President, Community Initiatives).

To Apply & Learn More About the Role

  • To apply, please visit… https://www.workshouldntsuck.co/op-vp-hri
  • Date Posted: August 24, 2021
  • Application Deadline: Expressions of Interest will be accepted until Monday, September 20, at 5pm ET, with the possibility of extension.
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