Leadership Music, a national non-profit organization based in Nashville, will mark its 30th year with veteran record label executive, Jimmy Wheeler, at the helm. A member of the Class of 2007, Wheeler is Vice President of Sales & Distribution for Provident Music Group. Joining him are officers: songwriter Stacy Widelitz, Past President; City National Bank’s Diane Pearson, President-Elect; Creative Artist Agency’s Jeff Gregg, Secretary and Big Machine Label Group’s Andrew Kautz, treasurer. The officers comprise the Executive Committee, which also includes Linda Bloss-Baum, SoundExchange; David Kells, Bridgestone Arena/Nashville Predators; Justin Levenson, Lev’s House Entertainment and Amy Smartt, Country Music Association.
In addition, Leadership Music has added five new board members, each of whom will serve a three-year term. Incoming board members are: Marghie Evans, Do Write Music; Erick Long, Academy of Country Music; City National Bank’s Diane Pearson; Dave Pomeroy, AFM Local 257; and John Strohm, Rounder Records.
During the past 30 years, many alums are second generation. Wheeler is one of those legacies. For him, Leadership Music is more than generational, it is a true family affair; his late father, Dave, was a member of the third class (1992) and his sister, Jill graduated in 2016. “The irony that I am President during the 30th year is not lost on me, given the fact there was a member of my family in each of the first three decades. My Dad was the reason I got into this business and my only regret is that he is not here to enjoy this year with me.”
He noted: “Leadership Music has a very special place in my heart. Not only because both Jill and I followed in Dad’s footsteps, but because my own experience with the organization has been so special. I am passionate about giving back to an organization that has enriched my life and career in so many positive ways, and I am deeply honored to lead the board as chair in this landmark year.”
The complete board list is:
Linda Bloss-Baum, Senior Director, Artist & Industry Relations, SoundExchange
Bradley Collins CEO, Frontman Consulting
Ron Cox, Executive VP/Director, Music, Arts & Entertainment Division, Studio Bank
Jaynee Day, President/CEO, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee
John Esposito, Chairman/CEO Warner Music Nashville
Marghie Evans, Managing Partner, Do Write Music
EJ Gaines, Co-Executive Director, Motown Gospel/Vice President, Marketing/Capitol CMG
Joe Galante, Chairman, Galante Entertainment Organization
Jeff Gregg, Agent, Creative Artist Agency
Kelli Haywood, Artist Manager
BJ Hill, Vice President, A&R, Warner Chappell Music
Andrew Kautz, COO, Big Machine Label Group
David Kells, Senior VP, Booking, Bridgestone Arena/Nashville Predators
Jerry Kimbrough, Musician
Chandra LaPlume, VP/Partner, Taillight TV
Justin Levenson, Founder, Lev’s House Entertainment
Erick Long, Senior VP, Operations & Events, Academy of Country Music
Heather McBee, VP, Operations, Nashville Entrepreneur Center
Diane Pearson, Senior VP, Entertainment, City National Bank
Dave Pomeroy, President, AFM Local 257
Amy Smartt, Senior VP, Finance & Administration, Country Music Association
Neal Spielberg, President, Spielberg Entertainment
John Strohm, President, Rounder Records
Jimmy Wheeler, VP, Sales & Distribution, Provident Label Group/Sony Music Nashville
Rachel Whitney, Head of Country Music Programming, Pandora
Stacy Widelitz, Songwriter, Stacy Widelitz Music
Lane Wilson, Senior VP, Agent, William Morris Endeavor
Bret Wolcott, Freelance TV Producer
Erika Wollam-Nichols, President/GM, Bluebird Café.
Will Cheek of Waller Law and Lynn Morrow of Adams & Reese serve as legal counsel.
Leadership Music was founded in 1989 by 12 music industry executives who had graduated from Leadership Nashville. They recognized that there was something unique to the Nashville music community—a sense of camaraderie—and there was a need for a program designed to ensure and protect the dialogue and relationship building within the Nashville music community. Thirty years later, the national program in Nashville has graduated close to 1,200 leaders from across the country in virtually every segment of the entertainment industry as well as community leaders, including two Nashville mayors, the deputy chief of police and a Tennessee Congressman.
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