SOPAC Announces New Staff Appointments

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The following press release is from the South Orange Performing Arts Center:


Mary Whithed, new Director of Development at SOPAC

Mary Whithed, new Director of Development at SOPAC

The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) is pleased to announce that Mary Whithed has recently been appointed  Director of Development. She was formerly the Director of Audience Services, and has been part of the SOPAC staff for the past five years.

Whithed, a Maplewood resident, has always had a love for the performing arts. She has worked for non-profit arts organizations around the nation, including at Lobero Stage Company in Santa Barbara, Ballet Tech in NYC, and Stuart Street Playhouse in Boston. She worked for the education department at New Jersey Performing Arts Center before she began her tenure at SOPAC in 2010.

Whithed hails from New Hampshire and received her BA in theatre from Hampshire College. She continued her education at Keene State College where she earned an M.Ed.

Whithed brings an eclectic and diverse background to SOPAC. In 2013, she traveled to Ghana for a month-long volunteer position through Global Volunteer Network. She worked with students in grades 1-3 in Abokobi, a village about 25 miles northwest of Accra.

Her interest in writing led to two items that bear her name in the Library of Congress. One, a Story Corps interview she recorded with her family in 2014. The other is a book she worked on in 2005 celebrating the Weathervane Theatre in Whitefield, New Hampshire where she spent many summers.

“This is such an exciting time for the South Orange Performing Arts Center. We are realizing the vision of SOPAC as a cultural destination known for variety and excellence in programming, a warm and welcoming customer experience, and the amazing intimacy that brings you face-to-face with incredible artists. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.” Whithed imparted.

[Whithed replaced Vivian James, who served as SOPAC Director of Development for the past 13 month.)

South Orange Trustee Steve Schnall and with SOPAC Director of Audience Services Celina Herrero

South Orange Trustee Steve Schnall and with SOPAC Director of Audience Services Celina Herrero

South Orange resident Celina Herrero has been named the Director of Audience Services. She has volunteered for many South Orange committees and events and her commitment to  South Orange has led her to serve as secretary of the South Orange Village Center Alliance. A Florida native, she relocated to South Orange in 2006. Herrero’s experience has primarily been within marketing and management fields. She worked as marketing manager of Verifone Inc. in Miami. She then became an event marketing manager for Chase Marketing Group, also located in Miami. Herrero shifted gears when she moved to New Jersey where she helped create and manage Sparkhouse Toys LLC, one of the most successful retail outlets in the Village; NJ Monthly named Sparkhouse “Best Toy Store in NJ” in 2009.

When asked about her thoughts on SOPAC Herrero replied “We are so lucky to have SOPAC here in our community and I am very excited to have joined the team. I look forward to continuing and growing the tradition of excellent customer service and hope that my passion for South Orange will be evident in all of our audience experiences.”

SOPAC’s Executive Director, Mark Packer, stated about the changes to the staff, “I am thrilled that both Mary Whithed and Celina Herrero have accepted their new posts at SOPAC. Their respective skills sets will make an enormous impact on our organizational strength and community engagement.”

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