Opera Carolina, a professional opera company based in Charlotte, North Carolina, has achieved a significant milestone in diversity and inclusion with its latest appointment to lead the organization.

According to Opera Wire, Dr. Shanté Williams has made history as the first woman and person of color appointed as general director of Opera Carolina since its founding in 1948. Her tenure officially begins on July 1.

Reflecting on Opera Carolina’s longstanding impact in opera, education and community leadership, Williams expressed her enthusiasm for her new role.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Opera Carolina (@operacarolina)

“Opera Carolina’s remarkable 75-year history of excellence in opera, education and community leadership make it one of the premier arts organizations in North Carolina,” Williams said in a statement obtained by Opera Wire. “Having been fortunate enough to serve on the board of directors, I am especially honored to carry the organization’s remarkable reputation forward. I look forward to leading the business operations as Maestro Meena continues to serve as Artistic Director. With a dynamic staff and passionate board, we will embrace and expand the company’s role as a leader in Charlotte’s artistic community and an agent for healing, inspiration and joy.”

Board Chair Carol Kendrick also shared her excitement for Williams, noting her support of Opera Carolina.

“On behalf of the entire board of directors, I am thrilled Dr. Williams is joining us as our next general director. As a Charlotte native, she brings to the role a track record of success in fundraising and business, and we were collectively impressed by her extensive credentials and past support of Opera Carolina. We are confident we have found the right person to lead and inspire our community as we emerge from the pandemic and raise Opera Carolina to the next level of excellence,” she said.

Having previously held other senior positions, Williams is CEO of Black Pearl Vision and global CEO of its parent company, Black Pearl Global Investments, managing a $25 million venture capital fund.