By Eric Dundon
Dr. Yolanda “Yoli” Alovor is excited to return to her native St. Louis to make connections throughout the region and create an environment of welcoming for all in her new position with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
In January 2022, SLSO President and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard announced the appointment of Alovor as the institution’s first Vice President of External Affairs and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, a new executive-level position at the SLSO.
“Yoli is a proven leader in EDI, as well as a superb communicator and community connector. She is a results-oriented leader who has a track record of establishing rapport with diverse constituencies at all levels,” Bernard said. “I know she will be a strong advisor to me, our Board, and team as we chart a path toward becoming a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive institution.”
Alovor’s position oversees the SLSO’s ongoing work toward equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), providing strategic leadership to the entire SLSO family on all aspects of the institution’s growing EDI portfolio. She will also oversee SLSO External Affairs and Communications functions, aligning those departments with SLSO strategic plan objectives and EDI framework.
A St. Louis native and graduate of Webster Groves High School, Alovor brings a wealth of experience in EDI implementation and community partnership development. Most recently, she served as the Chief of Staff and Vice President of Diversity and Belonging at Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, where she guided complex management in support of the strategic mission of the college, provided critical insight for campus projects, and led diversity and belonging initiatives that helped drive business and administrative functions.
“I am honored to join a renowned St. Louis institution that has a global reputation for extraordinary music, but also is revered for their exceptional leadership and community engagement,” Alovor said. “I am looking forward to working with Marie-Hélène Bernard and my colleagues at the SLSO.”
Alovor holds a Ph.D. in Educational Research from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and recently completed postdoctoral training at the University of California, Berkeley's Intercultural Leadership Program: Global DEI Practitioner Institute.
In 2015, Bernard led work to create an EDI roadmap for the SLSO, including it as a key component in the SLSO’s 2016-2021 strategic plan. As part of this work, the SLSO created an internal EDI task force and provided training for musicians, staff, and board members. Alovor’s appointment is another step toward full development and implementation of the SLSO’s EDI framework.
“We are committed to learning from Yoli’s expertise in the same way the SLSO is committed to listening to and learning from the St. Louis community,” Bernard said. “On behalf of our entire SLSO family, I am excited to welcome Yoli back to St. Louis, her hometown, and look forward to beginning our work together.”
Alovor returns to her hometown of St. Louis where her extended family and son, a student at Missouri University of Science and Technology, reside. She began on January 18.
Eric Dundon is the SLSO’s Public Relations Manager.