Native Washingtonian Georgianna Paul has a job title that most college music majors probably don’t realize exists, but would covet if they only knew: “Opera expert.” Paul, a trained singer who’s also racking up credit hours for her Georgetown MBA, oversees the Nea Opera Honors (the opera equivalent of the Jazz Masters program), the Access to Artistic Excellence program, and Artist Communities—each of which requires the attention of both an organized administrator (the Oper Honors are in the “phone-ringing-off-the-hook phase”) and a deft musician.

Paul’s classical training makes her a must-invite for the company Christmas party, but more importantly, her grounding in the arts puts the opera companies with which she works at ease. According to Maryrose Flanigan, such grounding also adds to the integrity of the vetting process for arts recipients, which, due to multistage reviews conducted by experts like Paul, Flanigan considers fairly watertight.

Reporting by Andrew Beaujon