Juliette de Campos is the new executive director of the Tulare County Symphony. De Campos, who started her new position on Tuesday, most recently served as the director of operations for the Community Water Center, a non-profit organization focused on California water policy. The Tulare County native brings with her over 15 years of experience in non-profit administration, community development and fundraising.
De Campos replaces Francie Levy, who is moving to Paso Robles this summer.
De Campos grew up on a farm southeast of Tulare, where, she says, summers spent working in the fields instilled in her the importance of a good education. In 1995, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in political science and an emphasis in international economic development. After spending two years in Africa, de Campos returned to the Valley in 1998 and went to work for the Tulare County Redevelopment Agency as a community development specialist. Her accomplishments in economic development ultimately led to the position of district director with U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. De Campos specialized in agriculture and water issues in a region covering 16 counties in the Central Valley.
While the leap from a non-profit organization focused on public policy to one vested in the arts may seem unlikely, de Campos says the decision reflects her own professioal evolution.
“My honors thesis at UCLA was on economic development in Africa,” she explained. “When I arrived there I discovered very quickly that the non-profit world doesn’t need more people who understand the problem. They need people who can implement solutions. I’ve spent the last 15 years developing my professional skillset so that I could be one of the people with the hard skills needed to run an organization. I chose this one, quite simply, because when I interviewed with the symphony I knew immediately that these were people I wanted to work with. A live orchestra is lovely and fun, and that’s what I want to immerse myself in on a daily basis—a network of people who are committed to sharing something that is beautiful and uplifting.”
When asked about her plans for the symphony, de Campos is quick to say that the future direction of the organization will be determined in close collaboration with Music Director Bruce Kiesling and the 20-member board of directors. “That said, so far there is consensus that we need to increase the organization’s exposure and diversify our audience. We will be reaching out to younger audiences, expanding education programs and exploring opportunities to share what we are doing with the region’s majority Latino population.”
For de Campos, who previously served on the boards of the Tulare County Hispanic Roundtable and the Tulare County Latino Rotary Club, the opportunity to promote cultural exchange through music is a dream come true. A 15-year veteran of salsa dancing, de Campos is a strong supporter of Latin music and dance in the Valley.
“I first became exposed to Latin dance when I moved to Central America for a year to study Spanish,” she said. “It’s my passion. I have been known to get up after I’ve already gone to bed if someone calls and tells me about an event at the last minute. The board has made it clear that they consider my connection to this community an asset, and that’s exciting.”
Board President Florence Kabot is delighted that de Campos is joining the symphony. “Juliette was the clear choice. Her qualifications and experience made her the ideal candidate. Her grant writing experience should add a new dimension to our work and our budget.”