Next Up Columbus 2020: Destiny Coleman

Destiny Coleman
Destiny Coleman

Photo by Matt Reese / CityPulse Columbus

Interview by Sarah Shumick

Name: Destiny Coleman
Age: 29
Profession: Director of Education and Artistic Administration at Opera Columbus
Neighborhood: Pataskala
Education: Master of Science in Management and Leadership, Western Governors University; Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, The Ohio State University
Quote: “My efforts to bring opportunities to people throughout the city and create sustaining and impactful programs for the community and by the community, are what get me through the workweek.”
Connect: LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

In the sixth grade, Destiny Coleman got her first choir solo and immediately knew she would have a career in music. She was fortunate to have a supportive teacher who gave her the tools she needed to go to college and study music. After graduating with a Master of Science in Management and Leadership from Western Governors University and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from The Ohio State University, Coleman decided that her role would be behind the scenes, supporting the arts and working with under-resourced populations. Now, she works for Opera Columbus as Director of Education and Artistic Administration where she gets to share music and opera with the entire community.

Humbly, Coleman offers that her success is a result of the support of teachers, family and friends who got her where she is today. She also credits her mentor – Suzan Bradford, Executive Director of the Lincoln Theatre – with guiding her along the way. “She helped me realize that all things are possible if I believe I can do it,” said Coleman.

Give us a snapshot of your career path:
When I was in sixth grade, I was given my first solo in our school’s annual spring concert. From that day, my teacher gave me the tools I needed to go off to college and study music. After college, I made the decision to focus my talents on being a supporter of the arts from behind the scenes and working with under resourced populations. From there, I built a career focused on bringing music and opera to the community. The support of my teachers, family, and friends got me where I am today.

What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
Children! Children get me up every morning! All 13,000 of them. I wake up each morning to start my day presenting and teaching music to students throughout central Ohio. Seeing the smiles on students faces and sharing in their happiness, makes my workday awesome! My efforts to bring opportunities to people throughout the city and create sustaining and impactful programs for the community and by the community, is what gets me through the workweek.

What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
My mentor, Suzan Bradford, Executive Director of the Lincoln Theatre, guided me along the way and helped me realize that all things are possible if I believe I can do it.

What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
To unwind, I spend time with my family. Whether it be at the movie theater every weekend or a sporting event, the time I spend with my family helps me unwind.

When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
When I was a child, I wanted to be a lawyer when I grew up.

What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
New People by Danzy Senna and The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
It is an incredible honor to be recognized and chosen for the Next Up Columbus Award. I would like to thank everyone who nominated me and the Columbus Young Professionals Club and CityPulse Columbus for presenting this award. This award gives me a great sense of pride for that work that I do in the community and my organization.

If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
The people. We are the pulse!


The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in Central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. Special thanks to the Columbus Young Professionals Club, Discover Financial, and Zipline Logistics for their support of this awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2020” »

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