Even at 12 Lis Stephens was a fearless MAG. One day she woke up in her father’s house in the quiet valley of the Pocono mountains, instead of in her mother’s house in the bustling city of Cleveland, Ohio. She had just made a life changing decision that many people wouldn’t dare even in their 40’s or 50’s – to relocate to a brand new place in order to create a new life with greater possibilities. Smart, fearless, unusually mature, and determined to do great things, Lis had left behind 4 siblings, a big extended family and a huge community of friends. This was the first in a long line of boss decisions that Lis would make as she created what she calls her “Life of Adventure”, constantly choosing the unknown and embracing greater possibilities.
That same fearless spirit of adventure would eventually lead Lis to pursue a career as a professional opera singer, knowing that the odds were against her as a larger black woman. In a fantastic journey that carried her to stages in China, Italy, France, Switzerland, and all over the US, “Elisabeth Stevens, soprano” found herself at the top of international competitions advancing frequently to the finals and taking numerous first place prizes at the Concorso Zandonai and the Concorso Iris Adami Corradetti among others. Lis had relocated to Milan, Italy but was wooed home to the US when she landed a coveted contract at the world’s most elite opera house – the Metropolitan Opera in 2012.
A born MAG, Lis longed to create something of her own – something that would allow her to combine her love of singing with her keen business sense and provide a platform to give back. So she created Studio LIS, a voice studio and career development workshop created to provide aspiring and emerging singing artists with solid vocal technique, career guidance, and practical business skills. Since its inception in 2015, Studio LIS has been on college campuses throughout the US including Penn State University and the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, Lincoln University and many others. 2018-19 will be the biggest year to date with Studio LIS on 15 campuses throughout the academic year.
Lis continues to perform and teach throughout the world, currently preparing the Verdi Requiem for a performance in May and recruiting students to study in Italy this summer at the International Lyric Academy. Always ready for the next adventure, Magnificent MAG, Lis says that she will cool her heels for the moment. “Building companies is a lot of fun and a lot of WORK! For now, I want to keep singing, keep building and watch how these businesses grow and impact people’s lives in a lot of different ways.” Lis’s mission is to use her voice powerfully, to touch, move and inspire the world. – And we think she’s doing exactly that!