The Ebell of Los Angeles today announced the selection of non-profit and cultural arts leader Dr. Stacy Brightman as its new Executive Director. Arriving from the LA Opera, Dr. Brightman is the first-ever Executive Director of The Ebell, an arts and education philanthropy founded by women, for women, in 1894. The Ebell is the city’s longest-running philanthropic women’s club and was one of the first institutions in residence in the neighborhood, since 1927. Today, the Ebell remains an active women’s club, with more than 600 members, offering special events, live music, dinners, and community forums, as well as scholarships for local students and support for several local non-profits.
In her new role, Brightman will advance the educational and cultural growth of the organization. With the Ebell’s Board of Directors, she will lead the conservation and community engagement with the Ebell’s historic 75,000 square foot campus on Wilshire Boulevard, designed by notable architect Sumner Hunt, which encompasses the clubhouse, grounds, fine art and archival collections, and the 1200-seat Broadway style Wilshire Ebell Theatre. The campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has also been designated an Official American Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
By way of full disclosure, I am currently the volunteer president of the Ebell (and Buzz co-publisher Elizabeth Fuller is also a long-time Ebell member), and I am delighted to helm the organization at this momentous time in our history. Brightman’s extensive experience in non-profit management, as well as theatre, special events, and women’s studies, struck us as the perfect combination of skills and interests to lead us into the next chapter in The Ebell’s history. I am deeply thankful to The Ebell board members and volunteers who served on our search committee, lead by Ebell Vice President Laurie Schechter and Larchmont Village-based search consultant Martin Shirley.
Brightman joined The Ebell as a member in 2019. Like many of us, she had driven by the building for years. After collaborating with The Ebell on a program to bring members of the Opera to the club, she decided she wanted to join and support the work of The Ebell community.
“I am honored and excited beyond words to collaborate with our brilliant board and membership to advance the mission of the Ebell of LA. More than ever, women need to lift each other up. The Ebell of LA has been at the heart of advancing culture, education and equity for more than 125 years; our history is a mandate and prologue for what more we will accomplish together,” said Brightman.
“Stacy is an engaging and energetic executive whose interests and expertise solidly align with The Ebell mission of philanthropy and building community among women. We are thrilled she is coming to The Ebell,” said Laurie Schechter, Ebell Vice President and chair of the search committee.
During Brightman’s tenure at the LA Opera, she served as Vice President of LA Opera Connects, where she led four county-wide festivals: Ring Festival/LA, Britten 100/LA, Figaro Unbound, and Eurydice Found. She also managed the LA Opera’s acclaimed education and community programs, which served more than 220,000 students, family, and members annually. With an extensive network in L.A. built through partnerships in all areas of education and philanthropy, she increased the number of constituents the Opera served annually from 29,000 to more than 200,000. And she started her career in live theater as the Associate Director at the Shakespeare Festival/LA, where she served as Associate Director at Theater L.A.
Brightman has also served as an Adjunct Faculty Member at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandizing, where she taught theatrical history for 10 years. And she was Adjunct Faculty at the Thornton School of Music at University of Southern California for eight years. She is a Trustee of the Michael White Adobe in San Marino, on the steering committee of the Women’s Opera Network (Opera America), and serves as a mentor for numerous women leaders in the arts.
Brightman graduated from Pomona College with a BA in Theatre and Religious Studies. She earned a Ph.D. in Dramatic Arts and Theatre Research from University of California, Davis. She is currently enrolled in a Masters Degree program for Non-Profit Management. Dr. Brightman is an LA native, from the Rampart neighborhood near The Ebell.
Brightman takes over from Philip Miller, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager who is retiring after sixteen years of service to The Ebell. Miller’s service to the club was celebrated last week by members, guest and Ebell staff. Miller guided the club through many challenges – most recently the closure of the club during the pandemic. Weddings and filming have now retuned to the space, and plans are underway to restart in-person events for members in October.
For more information about the Ebell, its programs, or membership (new members are always welcome!), see https://ebellofla.com/club/.