Lee Bynum is an Associate with Aspen Leadership Group and supports the firm's diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting services. Bynum currently serves as the inaugural Vice President of Impact at Minnesota Opera. In this capacity, he leads a team that listens and learns from the community to make meaningful, authentic, mutually beneficial and sustained relationships through the power of opera. He oversees the Opera's learning and training programs, community engagement footprint, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and access initiatives. A member of the seven-person senior leadership team, he promotes internal alignment throughout the interconnected departments of the institution and the Company’s board of directors. In addition, he collaborates closely with civic and grassroots organizations in the Twin Cities to ensure that the Company’s work aligns with community needs and interests.
Previously, Bynum served for a decade as the Senior Program Associate and Associate Director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. At the Foundation, he administered diversity, equity, and inclusion grants for colleges and universities; supported K-12 music education programs at community music schools, programs to diversify the ranks of museum curatorial staffs, and two PBS documentaries focusing on topics from African American history; and funded the creation of arts majors at Spelman and Morehouse Colleges and Johnson C. Smith and Tuskegee Universities. Before joining the Foundation, Bynum served as the Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University, where he was responsible for the administration of the Latinx, Asian American, Native American and comparative ethnic studies programs. He also spent a year as a Visiting Scholar at Caritas Francis Hsu College in Hong Kong.
Bynum has been active with a number of nonprofits, having served on the boards of The Dream Unfinished Orchestra, TakeRoot Justice, Black Feminist Project, and as the Founding Artistic Director of the Harmony Theatre Company in New York City. During his tenure with The Dream Unfinished, the orchestra has commissioned works from Jessie Montgomery, Courtney Bryan, and Evan Williams, and championed the works of many composers of color. As a dramaturg, he has collaborated on the development of new works with American Opera Projects, the John Duffy Institute for New Opera, and Columbia University. His historical research on race and ethnicity in classical music, concert dance, and theatre has been published by the university presses of Oxford, Harvard, Columbia, New York University, University College Cork, and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. He has been invited to speak by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, European Research Institute, the National Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, New York City Arts in Education Roundtable, and University of the Western Cape in South Africa.
Bynum received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Columbia University.