MusicRow is proud to announce the honorees who will be saluted as this year’s Rising Women on The Row. The second annual event will honor Cyndi Forman (VP Creative, UMPG Nashville), Cindy Heath (Owner, Monarch Publicity), Beth Laird (Co-Owner/GM, Creative Nation), Cindy Mabe (Sr. Vice President, Marketing, UMG Nashville), and Brandi Simms (Sr. Manager of Membership and Balloting, CMA).
Honorees will be feted at a private sit-down breakfast and awards ceremony set for Friday, March 22 at 8:30 a.m. at Maggiano’s, featuring special guest speaker Mary Ann McCready of Flood, Bumstead, McCready, McCarthey. Read more about McCready here or find information about the event here.
VP Creative, Universal Music Publishing Group
As head of the creative department at UMPG Nashville, Cyndi Forman focuses on artist and writer development, leading the creative staff and finding opportunities for UMPG writers and the UMPG Nashville catalog. Among the top songwriters she works with are Rivers Rutherford, Hunter Hayes and Shane McAnally, to name a few. Known for recognizing talent, she is credited with signing and developing Hayes, and has placed hits including “You & Tequila,” recorded by Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter.
After obtaining a Music Business degree from Belmont University, Forman became Creative Director at Balmur Entertainment. In 2002, she joined Almo Irving Music, which became part of Universal Music Publishing Group a year later. At UMPG she assumed the role of Creative Director, and has continued to rise through the ranks ever since.
Owner, Monarch Publicity
Cindy Heath debuted her publicity company over two years ago where the roster is a mix of established and rising artists and companies including Chris Young, Craig Morgan, Craig Campbell, High Valley, and NRA Country. She launched Monarch Publicity following successful tenures at major labels Sony and Lyric Street.
Heath serves on the board of directors of the Women’s Music Business Association. Her numerous charitable endeavors include Monarch’s pro bono services for the Shalom Foundation, which provides humanitarian assistance to children and families living in extreme poverty. She is involved with the City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge to fight cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, and actively supports Run, Walk, Wheel, & Roll (RWWR), ABLE Youth. Heath is also a Gulch Business Improvement District board member.
Co-Owner/GM, Creative Nation
Beth Laird oversees all operations and creative endeavors at Creative Nation, including publishing and career management for songwriters Luke Laird, Barry Dean, Maggie Chapman and Native Run. In the last year, the company has landed 27 cuts and four singles and established partnerships with Universal Music Publishing and Pulse Recording. She also initiated successful collaborations between husband Luke and rising artists Kacey Musgraves and Brett Eldredge.
Before starting Creative Nation, Beth Laird spent five years as a writer/publisher representative at BMI. During her tenure there, she launched BMI BUZZ at the Basement and East Side Sounds, and a Belmont University internship experience called BMI Catalog Cast. She also created the BMI Live program, which pays songwriters of all levels for live performances. These initiatives and more resulted in her being named one of Billboard’s 30 Under 30 in 2010.
Laird currently serves on the boards of Preston Taylor Ministries and Young Entertainment Professionals, and was previously on the Gospel Music Association board. She also organizes volunteer opportunities for Creative Nation’s writers, employees and interns.
Sr. Vice President, Marketing, UMG Nashville
Cindy Mabe orchestrates the label group’s marketing efforts for its extensive roster. She oversees Creative Services, Digital Marketing, Marketing, International and Media Marketing divisions for all four Universal labels (Capitol, EMI, Mercury and MCA). Mabe joined Capitol Records Nashville in 2007 and was promoted to her current post following Universal’s purchase of Capitol/EMI in 2012. Prior to that she worked for the Sony Music Group for 13 years.
Mabe has overseen marketing campaigns that yielded fifteen No. 1 albums during her time at Capitol, and been pivotal in developing the exceptional careers of Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker. Most recently, she and her team scored with successful albums by Little Big Town and Gary Allan. Mabe’s community service endeavors include the Pencil Foundation Board.
Sr. Manager of Membership and Balloting, Country Music Association
Since joining CMA in 2001, Brandi Simms has been consistently promoted, and currently oversees all balloting for the CMA Awards, CMA Broadcast Awards, and the Country Music Hall of Fame elections. In recent years this role included updating the CMA Awards balloting process, and the re-launch of the SRO touring awards.
Simms also works with the CMA Board of Directors, where she manages board member elections, board communication and activities. For the organization’s general membership, she focuses on growing and retaining members by offering engagement, networking, healthcare and educational opportunities.
Outside CMA, Simms is active in numerous organizations, including serving on the board of directors of the Salvation Army. She previously spent three years as president of the Women’s Music Business Association, and remains an active board member.
The second annual Rising Women on the Row event is sponsored by City National Bank.