The Music Center is a beloved L.A. cultural icon. It’s also the 3rd largest performing art centers in the nation with a focus on strengthening a culture of racial justice, diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion. Shelby D. Boagni will soon take on the newly created role of senior vice president of people and culture.
We recently chatted with Boagni, who grew up in Los Angeles and is the proud mom of one daughter, Lindsay, who is an attorney working and living in Washington D.C.
Please tell us a little about your new position as SVP of People & Culture. It sounds unique.
My position is a new role at The Music Center. It includes the combination of human resources management and a focus on furthering a culture of inclusion with focus on diversity, equity, access and inclusion. This opportunity is unique in that it’s not that common of a role. It’s about ensuring that diversity is interwoven through all that we do from recruitment of staff to our public programming.
You grew up in Carson, tell us a little about your growing-up experiences in and around L.A. Fondest memories?
Carson was built for families. I grew up in a nurturing environment filled with neighbors who looked out for each other. Carson had several programs for families and children — a public swimming pool and golf course and my favorite event, the Carson Parade, was a big community event that I participated in every year with my drill team. Carson was a multicultural city with a small-town feel.
How do you see the role of The Music Center in relation to Los Angeles families?
The role of The Music Center and its goal is to ensure Los Angeles families find the campus to be open and welcoming with programming that is accessible to families from across the county, no matter their experience with the arts.
How do you see the role of The Music Center and education in Los Angeles?
The Music Center has a rich history of providing educational and arts learning programs to schools, families and the community at large. In addition, our free and low-cost programs offer all Angelenos with additional opportunities for arts experiences.
Did you have a mentor growing up? And what role did that person play in your life and your career?
My mentor was and continues to be my mother. She was an educator and administrator with LAUSD. She was the assistant principal at two of our local Carson high schools and principal at one of our middle schools before becoming a high school director in the South Bay. My mom was successful in her career while raising a family and instilled in me a strong work ethic and a heart and passion for community service.
Best life advice you received growing up?
My parents always said “if you believe it, you can achieve it.”
You’re a mom to an adult daughter. From your perspective now, what would you tell your new mom self?
I was a single mom for most of my daughter’s childhood. Looking back, I would tell myself “Not to worry so much, you can handle it.”
How has parenthood changed you?
Parenthood expanded my view of the world. Looking at the world through someone else’s eyes gives you a brand-new perspective and makes you appreciate things in a new way.
When not working, where will we find you?
When I’m not working, you can find me spending time with my husband.
What are some of your favorite spots and activities in and around L.A.?
My favorite places in L.A. are the many museums around Los Angeles. I really enjoy the arts overall and have always been a fan of The Music Center, and one of my favorite traditions with my daughter, starting when she was a toddler, was seeing “The Nutcracker” each year.