Rose: From Opera to Entrepreneurship
While at a baby shower in 2006, a friend approached Rose Guccione — an opera singer for 20 years at Lyric Opera Chicago — and asked her if she remembered a voicemail Rose left her four years before. Her friend exclaimed, “Well, I saved it! And I play it every year on my birthday while drinking a glass of champagne!” This interaction was Rose’s ah-ha moment and the start of her business, OperaGram.com® — a singing telegram company with an operatic twist.
While OperaGram.com® did well in Chicago for over a decade, life circumstances prevented Rose from expanding the business nationwide. In addition to managing her singing telegram company, Rose held two teaching positions, continued to sing professionally, returned to grad school, and dealt with her mother’s decline and death. While finishing her graduate program at Northeastern Illinois University, Rose discovered the AARP Foundation Work for Yourself@50+ workshop and thought, “this is for me!” Rose attended the workshop and soon after enrolled in a business-planning course at Northeastern Illinois University.
“This program has shown me that OperaGram.com® has the potential to do what I want to do – build a legacy of joy. And, that the numbers are attainable,” said Rose Guccione, CEO of OperaGram.com®. “It’s really empowering. I’ve learned so much, and I’m still learning.”
With this newfound knowledge and support, Rose is fulfilling her dream of taking the business nationally and providing opportunities for aspiring and veteran opera singers who need more income.