Committee Member: Charles Chip McNeal

Charles Chip McNeal

San Francisco - Director of Diversity, Equity, and Community at San Francisco Opera

If there was ever a renaissance man, that man would be Charles Chip McNeal. As a teacher, dancer, coach, actor, and director to name just a few of his many titles, McNeal is now taking on the role of Director of Diversity, Equity, and Community at San Francisco Opera. One of McNeal’s many passions lies in arts education for social justice, which makes his new role a great fit in which he will be able to facilitate racial equity and cultural competency in the arts. McNeal’s great successes in his many fields may be attributed to his philosophy: “do not just talk, think, hope or pray – DO Something!”



Berkeley, CA.

Place you call home now (neighborhood etc.)

Oakland (Temescal Neighborhood).

Any notes on your education?

PhD. Doctoral Candidate at California Institute of Integral Studies (August 2020).

Favorite sport to watch?

Professional tennis – overall sports fitness and finesse thrill me.

Favorite sport to play?


Best vacation ever?

Puerta Vallarta for winter holiday.

Dream trip destination. Why?

Egypt (The pyramids are representative of an ancient culture we can still learn from).

Favorite dinner?

Rib-eye Steak and veggies with good wine.

Favorite dessert?

Vanilla ice cream.

Underrated food?

Brussel Sprouts (roasted with garlic).

Dish you’re best at cooking?

Grilling any protein!

Best meal you’ve had at a restaurant?

The best thing I ever ate was a Roasted Chicken at Zuni Café in San Francisco.

Road trip - three in the car with you. Living or dead. Who are they? Why?

James Baldwin – my literary hero

Diana Ross – an artistic hero

Oprah – my entrepreneurial hero

Favorite TV show as a kid?

I love Lucy – The funniest show ever made.

Favorite movies?

Black Panther.

Favorite actress and or actor?

Nicole Kidman

Chadwick Boseman

Favorite bands?


Most impressive live performance you ever saw

Prince at the Oakland Coliseum.

Car you drive now?

Subaru Crosstrek.

Car you’d like to drive?

BMW anything.

Best car you’ve owned. Why?

Subaru Crosstrek – it's cute, reliable and politically correct.


2019 Honda CB300R.

Wear a watch?


Got a favorite watch?

A CASIO shock-resistant G-SHOCK series: GBA800EL-4A. This is a perpetual analog/digital watch that is synonymous with toughness, functionality and elegance.

Got a dream watch? Why?

Gold Rolex Mariner – represents financial freedom.

Summer drink of choice?

Lemonade and vodka

Winter drink of choice?

Orange juice and vodka.

Bourbon or scotch?

Single Malt Scotch - Lagavulin.

Vodka or gin?



Versace or Dior for Men.

Go-to red on a wine list?


Go-to white?

Chateau Ste. Michelle Gewürztraminer.

Favorite beach?

Los Muertos Beach in Puerto Vallarta.

On a Saturday, your favorite errand to run is:

Going to the neighborhood Flea Market.

Otherwise, you’ll be busy doing what?

Writing my dissertation.

Best work advice you ever got?

This is not brain surgery, so don’t take it too seriously!

Best thing about your career?

I get to bring all of me – my heart, my intellect and my social consciousness.

What do you do now for work? Tell us something about your work and career path.

Director of Diversity, Equity and Community at San Francisco Opera. My job is facilitating racial equity and cultural competency in the arts

What does luxury mean to you?


Got a philosophy to live by?

Do not just talk, think, hope or pray – DO something!

Do you have any philanthropic interests/endeavors?

Food, Housing and Water Rights are my activist passion in addition to Arts Education for Social Justice.

Add anything else about yourself here that you would like the world to know about you.

I am a work in progress, we all are!