As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month, we wanted to spotlight several female faculty and staff members whose leadership empowers NEMPAC to empower artists of all ages and abilities.

Tiffany Chang, Music Director at NEMPAC Opera

Tiffany began her journey at NEMPAC Opera as Conductor for Bizet’s Carmen, the opera company’s first production in 2012. Today, as music director of NEMPAC Opera, Tiffany propels professional musicians forward in their continued growth in artistry and prepares them for fulfilling, independent careers.

Whether she’s running auditions, casting roles, or planning the production, she’s using her leadership role to advance gender equality in the arts. “I remain active in the profession as a conductor, and that visibility helps me advocate for gender equality through simply ‘doing it.’” said Chang. “Also, when I hire the orchestra, I’m always mindful of representation in all ways possible. A diverse group of performers always makes everyone in the room feel more included, and it offers an immediate sense of belonging and identity that is so important to human connection–especially one that is artistic. I also continually advocate for equitable compensation for all of our musicians…And often that means sacrificing my own benefits so that the group of musicians can gain more.”

Alexandra Dietrich, Artistic Director at NEMPAC Opera

In fall 2011, Alexandra taught her first Music Theatre Troupe course at NEMPAC in collaboration with Sherri Snow, Executive Director. Fast forward nearly a decade, and Alexandra now serves as Artistic Director at NEMPAC Opera, the nonprofit’s critically-acclaimed opera company that opens doors for composers, artists, and audience members by producing creative works that are global in scope.

Alexandra credits NEMPAC Opera for not only empowering her as an Artistic Director, but also as a mother. “Personally, NEMPAC was extremely supportive of me as I began my family and encouraged me to be able to maintain teaching and artistic directing in my life after my son, Javier, was born. Many arts organizations that I worked for in the past withdrew independent contract offers when they found out I was pregnant, but NEMPAC stood with me and empowered me to continue my life as a professional that worked with my added role as a parent.”

As she enters her third year as Artistic Director of NEMPAC Opera, she continues to use her leadership role to advance gender equality in the arts. “The first work that I programmed for the NEMPAC Opera was ‘The Little Prince’ by Rachel Portman. It was our eighth season of performance, but only our first doing an opera by a woman. As a teacher, I assign songs by Woman Composers who were historically less frequently published in their own lifetime due to their gender identity. Part of advancing gender equality in the arts is pointing out the uncomfortable areas where we weren’t prioritizing gender parity. As a teacher, alongside fellow NEMPAC teachers, we discussed how to normalize using pronouns in our first class meetings with our students. This has taken a new level with Zoom, as our pronouns are a part of our displayed names onscreen, allowing all students a chance to know that they are in a safe space and brave space. First rehearsals for the opera and for introductions always involve stating our pronouns, as well. For the Opera from the Balcony Series, I hired singers for their voice type and not for presenting a false narrative in the presentation of a binary Man and Woman pairing of singers. Gender equality in the arts comes when we center the most marginalized voices in the arts–alongside women, this includes our Non-binary, Gender-non-conforming, and Trans folx friends in the fight for parity and equality.”

Allie Meek-Carufel, Educational Programs Director

Allie’s journey at NEMPAC began in June 2015 when she joined the nonprofit as a Summer Music Theatre Director. A then graduate student studying theatre education, the role provided her with an opportunity to apply the teaching techniques she was learning in her master’s degree program to real-world scenarios.

In June 2019, she assumed the role of Educational Programs Director. “I knew that I could make a difference through programming at NEMPAC and saw how much NEMPAC had grown and developed up until that point, so I knew it would continue to grow, expand, and thrive as a premier performing arts center and school in the neighborhood and beyond.”

In this leadership position, Allie creates and implements NEMPAC’s virtual and in-person education programs (i.e. private and group music instruction, in-house arts education courses), as well as satellite programming (i.e. school and community partnership programming).

When she looks back on her tenure to-date at NEMPAC, she’s most proud of how she led the transition of NEMPAC’s community music school to a virtual learning center in just seven days in response to the pandemic.

She credits the NEMPAC team for empowering her personally and professionally. “Now, in my role as Educational Programs Director, the team here at NEMPAC, and especially Executive Director Sherri Snow, empower me to lead our entire music school and education programs. This comes with a lot of responsibility, and my biggest leadership role to date—empowering me to take risks, make mistakes, act with courage, with kindness, and with strength and conviction when I make decisions regarding our programming. I feel uplifted every day at NEMPAC with the support of the NEMPAC team and emphasis on continued professional and personal learning goals, and empowered to truly KNOW that I am a smart and talented leader and educator!”

Sherri Snow, Executive Director 

Following several years of working in corporate financial management and during her final year as a master’s degree student at the Longy Conservatory of Bard College, Sherri received an offer to join the nonprofit’s family as a Private Music Instruction Coordinator and Faculty Member. A resident of the North End, she eagerly accepted the position after learning more about NEMPAC and its community of artists. Sherri viewed her role as an opportunity to supplement her artistic work while also raising awareness among area musicians and performers about what she describes as “…this hidden gem and resource in the City of Boston.”

Today, Sherri serves as NEMPAC’s Executive Director. Through her innovative vision, eye for strategic planning, and inclusive leadership style, Sherri has steered the organization to new heights and positioned NEMPAC to expand its footprint in downtown Boston and open the city’s newest designated public arts facility this year. Sherri is most proud of this key milestone for the organization and the City of Boston, as well as the diverse and dedicated team that makes up NEMPAC’s staff, faculty, and board who all work together to continue to make a difference in community members’ lives through powerful music and performing arts programs.

Speaking to her role and a typical day at NEMPAC, Sherri explains, “I wear multiple hats—from construction project manager–to performance season artistic planner–to chief development officer! It’s a joy, every day is unique, and every day is an opportunity to continue to fulfill our mission and change lives through the arts. I’m most driven by NEMPAC’s ability to inspire social change by speaking out against racism and inequity, and giving a voice to individuals, institutions, and/or groups that feel unheard or marginalized.”

Christina Wright-Ivanova, Artistic Director, Winter Concert Series 

Christina’s journey at NEMPAC began during Italian Heritage Month in 2014. Her colleague and friend, Dr. Francesco Mastromatteo, was touring Boston, and she connected with NEMPAC’s Executive Director, Sherri Snow, to see if she and Dr. Mastromatteo could put on a cello and piano concert.

Christina explains, “She [Sherri] was happy to support the project and we played our first concert for NEMPAC in October 2014 at St. Stephen’s Church. After the event, Sherri told me more about NEMPAC and its vision for a future Winter Concert Series. The timing and the artistic vision alignment seemed serendipitous, and the collaboration officially began!”

As Artistic Director, of NEMPAC’s Winter Concert Series, Christina oversees production, programming, and recruitment. A distinguished pianist, patrons can often find Christina performing as well during one or more of the three recitals in this beloved annual series!

When she reflects on her role, Christina explains that she is most proud of the diverse artists she recruits for the series. “Although we continue to work to improve these numbers, I am particularly proud that NEMPAC’s Winter Concert Series is committed to diversity and inclusion in the arts. 60% of our artists have been women over the past six seasons, and 30% of our artists are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). We will continue to hire and further support the highest level of diverse artists in the greater-Boston region, and we look forward to continued diversity in our programming.”

This Women’s History Month and all the year through, we couldn’t be prouder of these five female leaders who are using their platforms to advance gender equality and equity in the arts. Thank you to Tiffany, Alexandra, Allie, Sherri, and Christina for empowering artists of all ages and abilities and pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a woman in the arts. The NEMPAC community is so fortunate to work with you and learn from you.

If you’re interested in joining our team and working alongside these extraordinary leaders, then be sure to check out our job openings.