Position Description

Position Description

LA Opera

(Los Angeles, CA)

Title: Vice President, Human Resources and Labor Relations



LA Opera’s mission is to serve the public by producing world-class opera that preserves, promotes and advances the art form while embodying the diversity, pioneering spirit and artistic sensibility unique to Los Angeles. We envision an engaged and enlightened community in which all members have the opportunity to collectively enjoy the rich aesthetic, emotional, intellectual and cultural experience of opera.


Founded in 1960, LA Opera began producing its own opera productions in 1986 and is now one of the four largest opera companies in the nation. The company is dedicated to bringing artistic excellence to the stage and throughout the community by presenting world-class opera that includes imaginative new productions, world premiere commissions, and inventive stagings of the classics. Since 1986, LA Opera has staged 272 productions with over 1,684 performances, featuring opera’s most prominent stars, and launching the careers of younger artists who have become the future of the art form.

LA Opera serves a committed audience as well as those new to the art form. Each season, with a budget of over $45MM, LA Opera presents over 50 performances on its main stage and through its innovative Off Grand productions. Over 117,000 individuals attend LA Opera performances at the opera’s home at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown LA through the six mainstage season productions. The Off Grand initiative, created in 2013/14, transcends the traditional boundaries of opera artistically and geographically, presenting in locations beyond LA Opera’s mainstage and reaching up to 10,000 audience members. LA Opera’s dedicated donors provide over 65% of its operating and production costs ($31MM in 2018/19) with the remaining funds from ticket sales and other earned income.

Established in 2006-07, the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program is developing the next generation of opera stars for the world’s stages. The program provides two- to three-year paid residencies and comprehensive training for singers and pianists of exceptional talent who are in transition from academic training to a professional career. Over 70 talented performers have graduated from the program, are now featured on stages all over the world, and have won some of the most prestigious competitions including four winners in the past seven years of the Met Opera competition.

Since its creation, LA Opera has been committed to making the arts and opera a vibrant part of all Los Angeles communities, by fostering vibrant engagement by students, families, senior citizens, veterans, hospital patients, and many other constituencies. Specifically designed to celebrate Los Angeles’s diversity, its myriad cultures, and broad geography, LA Opera Connects reaches over 135,000 community members annually through over 29 free arts programs. Over half take place in communities across LA County, many of which are underserved by the arts, with the other half at the Opera’s home, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Education programs include student matinees, intensive in-school residencies, county-wide tours of LA Opera-commissioned children’s operas, and professional development for teachers. Community programs include opera performances, interactive seminars about opera and year-round family programs that take place in community performing venues, libraries, college campuses, hospitals, places of worship, senior centers and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. For more information, please visit www.laopera.org.


Reporting to the President and CEO as a member of the executive staff and working closely with the newly created Human Resources Committee of the Board of Directors, the Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations will serve as a critical member of the leadership team, setting long term organization strategy, while focusing on providing strategic leadership and functional expertise over all human resources and labor relations operations for LA Opera. In addition to serving as a hands-on, experienced generalist, the Vice President is responsible for setting, enforcing, and evaluating all legally compliant human resources and labor relations policies, procedures, and best practices, and for identifying and implementing long-range strategic talent management goals.

A thought partner, collaborator, listener and implementer, the Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations will provide strategic leadership to LA Opera in cultivating and supporting an organizational culture that values diversity, equity and inclusion.

Additional duties include, but are not limited to:

Organizational Structure and Staffing

  • In consultation with departmental senior staff, determine departmental staffing levels, job classifications and compensation levels for each position
  • Establish recruitment plans for open positions; create job postings; post and screen resumes; determine interview protocol; check references; create offer letters; implement background checks
  • Create and supervise on-boarding procedures

Compensation and Benefits

  • Coordinate semi-annual “check-in” reviews with President/CEO, Vice Presidents and departmental personnel; implement agreed salary adjustments
  • Implement salary adjustments for individual employment contracts
  • Participate in Board of Directors Compensation Committee meetings with responsibility for meeting minutes
  • Coordinate with brokers to select insurance providers; define benefit levels and employer/employee cost sharing; approve benefit communication materials; supervise open enrollment; function as Plan(s) Administrator
  • Evaluate 403(b) and 457 plan administrators; assess communication and one-on-one employee consultation needs; function as Plan Administrator
  • Coordinate and participate in Retirement Plan Committee meetings

Employee Communications and Training

  • In consultation with President/CEO, determine schedule of All Staff meeting, President hosted lunches, departmental/union meetings
  • In consultation with the VP Marketing, determine appropriate employee communication/engagement programs
  • Ensure Employee Handbook policies reflect state and federal legal requirements
  • Develop/select and deliver programs for mandated anti-harassment training
  • Assess training needs and identify training resources with particular attention to Costume Shop safety training
  • Develop and supervise intern program with particular attention to Academy Interns

Employee Relations

  • Review and refine procedures for employee complaint investigation, resolution and documentation
  • Identify opportunities in which HR can be visible and approachable to staff
  • In conjunction with department management, develop performance improvement plans; plan and execute terminations and seasonal layoffs

Labor Relations

  • Negotiate terms and conditions of Collective Bargaining Agreements with eight constituent unions
  • Assist operating management with interpretation of contractual provisions
  • In consultation with operating management, ensure compliance of media projects with local and national agreements
  • Investigate and resolve disputes/grievances
  • Participate in mediation/arbitration
  • Develop productive relationships with Business Agents and Union committees
  • Represent LA Opera in AFM Electronic Media Committee

Health and Safety, Security and Building Services

  • Coordinate all Work Comp activities between employees, carriers and medical providers
  • Coordinate with The Music Center staff to insure IIPP, safety equipment, security protocols and facility issues are consistent with best practices


  • Ensure accuracy of recordkeeping practices; maximize HRIS capabilities; migrate paper to electronic records


The Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations should value and champion the mission of LA Opera and be sensitive to and support the needs of its various constituencies. The successful candidate will be an exceptional communicator, both verbal and written, have strong analytical and organizational skills and excellent attention to detail. A responsive, accessible, hands-on leader, the Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations must possess a customer-service orientation and be comfortable with the challenges of working with a small but resourceful team of dedicated professionals.  The successful candidate will operate with integrity and discretion and will maintain an open-door policy. A positive attitude and the ability to inspire others and positively contribute to staff morale and engagement will be valued.  The Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations will be a good listener, be patient and understanding of LA Opera’s environment and varying work schedules, and have an appreciation for the arts. The ability to work effectively in a creative, innovative, fast-paced and intellectual environment is essential. 

LA Opera seeks to build a strong and diverse team. The successful candidate will articulate a deep commitment to and understanding of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will possess a high level of cultural competence, and will work productively across lines of difference effectively incorporating DEI into all aspects of their work. Candidates from traditionally underrepresented communities and historically oppressed groups are encouraged to apply. 


A minimum of ten years of increasingly responsible human resources and/or labor relations management experience is preferred. A working knowledge of all human resource activities and associated state and federal regulations (e.g. COBRA, Wage and Hour laws, Fair Labor Standards Act, Equal Employment regulations, OSHA, Workers’ Compensation, American with Disabilities Act, FMLA, CFRA, etc.) are essential and expected. Experience working with unions in an arts organization would be beneficial. Candidates with experience outside of the nonprofit sector are also encouraged to apply.


To apply for this position, visit www.morrisberger.com/searches.php

Morris & Berger
500 North Brand Boulevard, Suite 2150
Glendale, CA 91203-1923

1 (818) 507-1234