Student Spotlight with Jaime Sharp

Mandisa Thomas
June 21, 2023
Executive Programs

Jaime Sharp currently serves as Communications & Publications Manager for Grantmakers in the Arts. She is also the co-founder and executive director of Hear Us, Hear Them, an ensemble dedicated to uplifting under-recognized voices in the choral arts. Jaime’s dedication to creating a more inclusive and diverse arts community is truly inspiring.

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Jaime shares their passion and impact area

I am focused on evolving organizational culture, inspired by how we might diversify leadership in classical music to challenge structural exclusion. The main project I integrate with my course work is the ensemble I co-founded, Hear Us Hear Them, which is a Black-led group dedicated to progressing the choral arts through new commissions and engagement with under-recognized composers.

As an active performer, I also seek to invite artists to explore their entrepreneurial talents in order to craft change on and off the stage. I imagine an artist-centric structure that asks creatives what they need, as opposed to telling them. I led an organization called Opera NexGen from 2020-2022, which developed and operated entirely remote and virtual, and was led by opera singers–modeling the result of artists’ power and potential put into motion.

During the early stages of my career, I lacked access to vital resources such as mentorship within performing spaces. I have suffered firsthand from the continued effect of systemic issues in the classical music sector, an industry derived from the pillars of White supremacy. We are outnumbered in terms of race/ethnicity, class, and gender diversity amongst executive leaders, meaning decisions are not made with our identities in mind. I found an overwhelming sense of calling to address these problems directly from an operational standpoint in order to better the experience for artists with the hope that they may find a sense of belonging in a historically unwelcoming space.

Jaime shares advice for future applicants

Don’t be afraid to focus your work around an unfinished idea or initiative! They really take the time to assess our work and provide tangible feedback. When I started the course, I was hesitant to present ideas that were less fleshed out, but the program has been extremely helpful in clarifying my intentions to broaden stakeholders and audiences. With social impact work especially, sometimes niche topics can intimidate people who aren’t as informed. It is our responsibility to educate while simultaneously garnering support for these projects.

We are thankful Jaime shared their story! Follow them on LinkedIn and Instagram. And follow our page to hear from more brilliant Changemakers. Looking to learn more about our Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy(SIS)? Sign up for our summer information sessions or watch previous recordings from last year.

SIS graduates are eligible to apply to the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) in an accelerated, on-campus, or online format. The NPL program is a ten-credit master’s program; SIS Alumni must complete six credits to graduate.

Applications for the 2024 Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy will go live this summer. Follow our page for the official launch and other important information!