Monday, January 28, 2013

Meet an SPM Member: Joy Portella

We're featuring our singers in our internal newsletter; some of them have been kind enough to let us cross-post on the blog! Today, we'll meet soprano Joy Portella.

When did you start with SPM: I sang 2005-2006 but then had to stop because I got a job that required frequent int’l and domestic travel so my schedule was too erratic to commit to SPM. I started up again just this season, though I sang as a supernumerary for a few concerts in the intervening years. It’s great to be back!

What are your professional affiliations: I don’t really have any. As background, I’ve been a communications professional for approximately 15 years – working both at public relations agencies and in-house at non-profits. I get jazzed about working for organizations or clients who are doing good things for the world. Most recently I was the director of communications at the global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps for five years, and I had the privilege of seeing MC’s work in action in many places, ranging from North Korea to post-earthquake Haiti to the drought-stricken Horn of Africa.  

Any recent professional accomplishments: I started my own company this past fall – called Minerva Strategies. I try to help organizations use smart, strategic communication to advance pro-poor development, increase access to health resources, and promote social justice.

Any recent personal news: My husband and I got a cat this summer. Her name is Prana and we’re convinced she hates us. She runs around a lot, chews up our plants, and occasionally cuddles. I just got a bike and am gearing up to join my husband on a cycling trip to Italy. I had a nasty accident 7 years ago and have not been on a bike since. I’m also not terribly coordinated, so this is both thrilling and terrifying. Last, I’m trying to be gluten-free for a good chunk of 2013. I feel healthy but a little hungry all the time. SPM snack time is not as much fun if you can’t eat gluten!

Hobbies: Vinyasa yoga, travel to almost anywhere, cooking and obsessive recipe hunting

Family members: My husband Mark who, despite being my best friend, has a limited appreciation for choral music; my mom Joyce and dad Al who worked really hard to raise their 3 daughters right and now spend a lot of time listening to FOX News at maximum volume; my sister Leslie, brother-in-law Mitch and adorable 8-yr-old niece Mia; and my sister Daria, brother-in-law Bill and their 3 sons, the eldest of whom is apparently old enough to practice law and get married, which is funny because he was just a baby 5 minutes ago. My entire family lives on the East Coast and I miss them.

Other information that people might want to know about you: I’m a Jersey girl, my name was supposed to be Olive but my parents thought better of it, I think I’d go crazy if I had to be an alto.

You can learn more about Joy by friending her on facebook or following her on Twitter. Thanks for your wonderful answers, Joy; we're glad you're part of Seattle Pro Musica!