We are proud to announce the members of our newly formed Advisory Board. Comprised of a dynamic group of leaders, its members represent a broad range of roles in the music industry. The group will serve to advise and guide the WiMN, contributing times, ideas, and resources to aid its growth and outreach.
Mindi Abair – Grammy-nominated saxophone player and singer/songwriter
Two-time GRAMMY nominee Mindi Abair has made her mark as one of the most recognizable saxophonists in the U.S. You may know her as the saxophonist on American Idol, or the only saxophonist to tour with rock legends Aerosmith since 1973. You may have seen her on stage with Bruce Springsteen for a historic night at the Beacon Theater, or tuned in as she joined Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra on the Late Show with David Letterman, sat in with The Roots on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, caught her recent appearances at The Grand Ole Opry, or recognized her as Al Pacino’s sax player in the movie Danny Collins.
Her eight solo CDs have garnered ten #1 radio hits, seven top 5 spots and two #1 spots on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz album chart. Abair received a 2014 GRAMMY® nomination in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category for Summer Horns, a #1 recording with her friends Dave Koz, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot, and more recently received a 2015 GRAMMY® nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for her solo CD Wild Heart featuring friends Gregg Allman, Joe Perry, Trombone Shorty, Booker T. Jones, Keb’ Mo’, and Max Weinberg.
She authored the book How To Play Madison Square Garden – A Guide to Stage Performance and serves as a National Trustee for The Recording Academy. The artists she’s toured with and/or recorded with are a testament to her talent: Aerosmith, Gregg Allman, Keb’ Mo’, Joe Perry, Bobby Rush, Lalah Hathaway, Duran Duran, Adam Sandler, Lee Ritenour, The Backstreet Boys, Booker T. Jones, Jimmy Webb, Mandy Moore, Max Weinberg, Bill Champlin, David Pack, Mocean Worker, The Ides of March, Rick Braun, Teena Marie, Bobby Lyle, Jonathan Butler, and Peter White.
Brian Berman – Vice President of Marketing, Guitar Center
Brian Berman is the Vice President of Retail Marketing for Guitar Center, the largest musical instrument retailer in the United States. Responsible for the overall promotional strategy of Guitar Center in addition to Broad Scale media, Public Relations, Marketing Partnerships, Experiential and Local Marketing, Branding and Content. Brian has spearheaded several large initiatives for Guitar Center responsible for innovative musician development strategies including the marketing for Guitar Center Lessons, Repairs and Rentals.
Previously, Brian has held several executive level marketing positions within the multi-unit, franchise restaurant space and has been responsible for the opening of more than 300 restaurants around the world. Additionally, Brian has developed marketing strategies responsible for driving sales, traffic and awareness across all mediums including traditional, guerilla, local, digital and social marketing. Brian has also been responsible for spearheading social responsibility efforts responsible for driving significant contributions across multiple causes and efforts.
Brian holds a BS in Marketing from California State University, Chico and an MBA in Marketing from California Lutheran University. A constant supporter of musicians’ services as Brian spent his childhood playing instruments ranging from woodwind and brass to marching percussion and is currently working diligently on learning popular Disney songs on the ukulele to entertain his wife and three young daughters.
Janet Billig Rich – Founder, Manage This Media
Janet started her journey in the world of musical entertainment in the rock clubs of NYC. Along the way she has worked as an artist manager, record company executive, music supervisor and theater producer. Initially at Caroline Records, first as a publicist, she then segued into A&R working with artists including the Smashing Pumpkins, Hole and White Zombie. She made the move to artist management partnering with Gold Mountain Entertainment where she was at ground zero of the tidal wave of alternative music in the 90’s managing all her favorite bands, including The Lemonheads, Hole, Nirvana, The Breeders, Walt Mink, Lisa Loeb and Dinosaur Jr.
After a brief detour to Atlantic Records, where she was one of the youngest senior executives, she launched Manage This! and has never looked back….She has partnered with amazing folks along the way and co-produced unscripted television for the E! Network, a multi-year groundbreaking Bluegrass tour based on the music from the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a documentary on the reunion tour of the seminal band The Pixies entitled loudQUIETloud and a number theater projects involving a wide range of musical styles.
Among some of her most recent projects are the Tony-nominated Broadway musical Rock Of Ages, the kids-themed musical Camp Kappawanna and the musical theater/cabaret hybrid show For The Record: The Series. Additionally, other ventures include The Lisa Loeb Eyewear Collection with Lisa Loeb now featured at Costco, music supervision & clearance of numerous independent, documentary films (I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead and Step) and national TV commercials for brands such as The North Face and Muscle Milk.
Dawn Birr – Commercial Manager, Audio Recording, Sennheiser Electronics Corporation
Dawn Birr began her career in the audio industry in 2000, joining Sennheiser fresh out of college. She started as a temporary receptionist and began to learn her way around and through the company. Shortly afterwards she moved into Customer Service and began learning how the customers and company worked. Thanks to a nurturing company culture and strong role models who encouraged her to learn as much as possible whenever possible, Dawn was promoted over the years to Neumann Product Manager, Professional RF Product Manager, VP of Sales for U.S. Installed Sound, Global Commercial Manager for Audio Recording, and most recently as Channel Manager for the Americas for Sennheiser Business Solutions. Dawn completed her MBA in 2006 and is a proud Advisory Board Member for the Women’s International Music Network and member of Soundgirls.org
Monique Boyer – Director, Artist Relations | PRO Membership, M.A.C Cosmetics
Being an avid music fan, Monique Boyer moved to Hollywood in 1991 with a dream of working in the music business. After an education in record engineering and working in radio promotion, she discovered another passion: makeup artistry. Luckily, her work these days for M·A·C Cosmetics allows her to experience the best of both industries. As the trendsetting brand’s Director of Artist Relations and M·A·C Pro Membership, she provides product support and education in the areas of music, editorial, theatre, performing arts, and television.
For the past ten years, Monique has directed makeup support for many of the biggest names in music including Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Marilyn Manson, Sia, Missy Elliot, Steven Tyler, Janet Jackson, The Cure, Gwen Stefani, Tori Amos, Motley Crue, Heart, Kelly Clarkson, and Wynonna Judd. She’s seen the music industry from every angle through her work to support music television (including shows like American Idol, The Voice and Nashville), music festivals, and an extensive array of awards shows and ceremonies, including the Grammy Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, MusiCares Person of the Year, ASCAP’s Women Behind the Music, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Monique is thrilled not only to be immersed in the world of music, but to work with and honor the extraordinary women who have helped build it.
Rob Christie – President of A&R, Robo Records
Rob Christie is a two-time Grammy Award winning Music Producer and the Founder – President of A&R for Robo Records (an independent production company & record label, distributed by Universal/Fontana, based in Los Angeles, CA). He is an L.A. native and graduate of Cal State Northridge, with a degree in Music. While he is a classically trained musician, he has a true passion and appreciation for all the recorded arts. Rob handled production and A&R at EMI-CAPITOL RECORDS in Hollywood for 15 years. He has produced front-line and catalog projects for The Beatles, The Frank Sinatra estate, The Beach Boys, Joss Stone, Tina Turner, Dave Koz, Richie Sambora (of Bon Jovi), the legendary Les Paul…and many more.
Rob is a former radio show host/producer for CBS radio in Los Angeles. He is currently living in Manhattan Beach, California, where he formed Robo Records & Waterfront Entertainment Group, LLC in 2008. Recently, Rob has produced Top-40 projects for country superstar Martina McBride, guitar superstar Orianthi…and catalog projects for The John Lennon estate, Ringo Starr, plus the acclaimed Dean Martin “Forever Cool” (featuring swinging new recordings with Kevin Spacey, Chris Botti, Joss Stone, Robbie Williams, Big Bad Voodooo Daddy and more). Rob is a member of NARAS and committee member for The Grammys.
Rob is the first Male recipient of a She Rocks Award…The Champion Award at NAMM 2016.
Tish Ciravolo – President, Daisy Rock Girl Guitars
In the past sixteen years, Tish Ciravolo, Founder and President of Daisy Rock Girl Guitars, the ONLY girl guitar company in the world, has created a social phenomenon for the Girl Rock Revolution! Ciravolo’s insight and expertise on girl guitars, female empowerment and entrepreneurship has made her a sought-after speaker at numerous conferences like Ted Talks, NACA National, Musicians Institute, NAMM, Colleges, High Schools, Associations and is a frequent contributor on national and international media outlets including USA TODAY, People, Time, Newsweek, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, FOX, VH1, the Premier Radio Network, BBC Radio, and the Associated Press.
Most recently, Tish spoke at the Arclight Women’s Summit on Gender and Sexuality and at Digital Hollywood on Entrepreneurship and Branding, and was nominated as CEO of the Year by the LA Business Journal Women’s Summit.
Ciravolo has propelled the girls’ rock empowerment message far beyond the music industry by helping to empower young women to help them find their lane and follow their dreams. She has helped to create a level playing field for girls everywhere. To this day, Daisy Rock Girl Guitars is still the ONLY Girl Guitar Company in the WORLD!! A seasoned artist performing in Los Angeles since the 80’s, Tish continues to perform with her band and plays backup for the American version of Gene Loves Jezebel and several other bands of international acclaim. Tish loves to bring the funny to Flappers, in her home town of Burbank, when she isn’t on the road. Ciravolo created her own dream career and is now on a mission to empower everyone to find their passion, one girl at a time!
Lisa Foxx – On Air Personality, MYfm Los Angeles, iHeartRadio
Lisa Foxx is an on-air radio personality who can be heard on 104.3 MYfm in Los Angeles and their sister station, Star 101.3 in San Francisco, on the iHeartRadio network. For the past 25 years, she’s been the voice of many top stations up and down the California coast, starting in college, and rising to fame in the 90’s in LA where she and Ryan Seacrest tore up the afternoon airwaves on Star 98.7. When not in the studio or freelancing in talent/booking and music supervising, Lisa can be found at one of the restaurants on Sunset Blvd in which she’s a partner, at a Dodgers or Kings game, exercising, doing charity work, and listening to a very eclectic mix of her favorite music, including Maroon 5, U2, Journey, 80’s hair bands, Hall & Oates, Katy Perry and many others.
Dinah Gretsch – Executive Vice President and CFO, The Gretsch Company
Dinah Gretsch is the Executive Vice President and CFO of the Savannah, GA based Gretsch Company. Gretsch has manufactured high-quality drums and guitars since 1883. The Gretsch Company has also owned the Bigsby Vibrato company since 1999.
Dinah has been a prominent figure in the Musical Instrument Industry for almost forty years. Her prominence has been recognized by numerous awards. In 2003 the Atlanta Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) presented her with the Heroes Award, a distinction awarded to community leaders in the Music Industry. In 2008, she was inducted in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, which honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the Georgia Music Industry. In 2014, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Georgia Southern University honored her with the prestigious Betty Foy Sanders Patrons of the Arts Award. The same year she was honored by the Women’s International Music Network (WiMN) with the She Rocks Award for her leadership in the Music Industry.
In support of the Gretsch mission to “ENRICH LIVES THROUGH PARTICIPATION IN MUSIC”, Dinah created Mrs. G’s Music Foundation in 2010 to fund music programs in Southern Low Country schools. She also gives grants to individuals to attend guitar and drum camps.
Dinah devotes much of her spare time serving on the Georgia Music Foundation Board and Loyola High School Board in New York City. She also serves on the Finance Board for her church, Sacred Heart in Savannah, GA. Dinah also enjoys her family time with her husband Fred, six children, sixteen grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Leslie Ann Jones – Director of Music Recording and Scoring, Skywalker Sound, and 4 time GRAMMY® Award-winner
Leslie Ann Jones has been a recording and mixing engineer for over 30 years. Starting her career at ABC Recording Studios in Los Angeles in 1975, she moved to Northern California in 1978 to accept a staff position with David Rubinson and Fred Catero at the legendary Automatt Recording Studios. There she worked with such artists as Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin, Holly Near, Angela Bofill, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Carlos Santana and Narada Michael Walden, and started her film score mixing career with “Apocalypse Now.”
From 1987 to 1997 she was a staff engineer at Capitol Studios located in the historic Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood. She recorded projects with Rosemary Clooney, Michael Feinstein, Michelle Shocked, BeBe & CeCe Winans, and Marcus Miller, as well as the scores for several feature films and television shows.
In February of 1997 she returned to Northern California to accept a position as Director of Music Recording and Scoring with Skywalker Sound, where she continues her engineering career recording and mixing music for records, films, video games, television, and commercials. And she now adds Record Producer to her list of credits.
In 2003, Leslie was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Recording, Classical, and received a Grammy Award for The Kronos Quartet’s recording of Berg: Lyric Suite, which won Best Chamber Music Album. In 2005 she received another Grammy Award for her work as engineer on Diane Reeves’ “Good Night and Good Luck” CD and in 2011 she won a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Classical for Quincy Porter: Complete Viola Works by Eliesha Nelson & John McLaughlin Williams. In 2014 she was also nominated for Best Engineered Recording-Non-Classical for her work with Madeleine Peyroux as well as for Best Surround Sound Album.
Leslie is a past Chair of The Recording Academy’s Board of Trustees. She serves on the Advisory Boards of Institute for Musical Arts, and Ex’pression College for Digital Arts, and is an Artistic Advisor to the new Technology and Applied Composition degree program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Karrie Keyes – Monitor Engineer/Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder and co-founder Soundgirls.org
Hailing from Los Angeles, Karrie has spent the last 25 plus years as the monitor engineer for Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder. Karrie started out doing sound for punk bands in Los Angeles in 1986 under the tutelage of Dave Rat of Rat Sound, where she spent twenty years helping to establish the company. She was able to gain an immense amount of hands-on experience and technical knowledge at Rat, which eventually led to her becoming the monitor engineer for The Red Hot Chili Peppers from 1990-2000. She first met and started working with Pearl Jam who opened for RHCP on their 1991-1992 Blood Sugar Sex Magic Tour. She has worked with Sonic Youth, Fugazi, and Neil Young.
Ursula Kneller – Director of Global Strategic Operations at Universal Music Group
Ursula Kneller is the Director of Global Strategic Operations at Universal Music Group. In the role, she interfaces with all departments within Def Jam Recordings, Republic Records, Island Records, Capitol Music Group, UMG Nashville and Interscope/Geffen/A&M to capture metadata, assets and rights and recommends ways Universal can fully monetize their repertoire. She also provides tactical direction as to new profit opportunities and underserved revenue streams for example; YouTube, PPL and Sound Exchange. Ursula also holds the title of Director of Commercial Development at Capitol Studios where she heads up all ancillary business in an effort to increase nontraditional revenue.
After graduating from the Musician’s Institute in 2010 with a degree in Vocal Studies and Music Business, Ursula began her career at EMI Music Publishing working in recording studio administration. She was promoted into Marketing and Promotions where she developed strategic project rollout and re-launch plans for a roster of writers and producers, including Jacques Brautbar (Phantom Planet), Skyler Stonestreet (Chainsmokers, Dua Lipa) and Tim Anderson (Banks, Ima Robot).
In 2012, during the acquisition of EMI by Universal Music Group, Ursula joined Capitol Records helping to ink multi-year brand partnerships with Masters of Maple and Ultimate Ears while spearheading marketing, merchandise, events and digital efforts. In 2016, she led ideation and planning surrounding legendary Capitol Studios’ 60th Anniversary Festival, a two day event that included sold-out studio tours, live vinyl cutting demos and an on-site vinyl fair. That same year, she was the recipient of the communicator award for her involvement in the re-design of Capitol Studios’ website.
Beth Marlis – Vice President, Musicians Institute
Beth Marlis currently serves as Vice President and senior faculty member at Musicians Institute (since 1987). She is also the Executive Director of The Musicians Foundation.
With over 30 years as a professional musician, her accomplishments also include serving as a clinician, interviewer, panelist, moderator and best-selling author of two music instructional books. She is proud to serve on boards of directors, advisory councils and committees for Little Kids Rock, Notes for Notes, Japan House, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Hollywood Heritage and The Recording Academy. In 2015-16 she was Chairman of the Board for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
Beth was honored to receive the She Rocks Champion Award in 2014.
Heather Dembert Rafter – Principal, RafterMarsh US
Heather Dembert Rafter has been providing legal and business development services to the audio, music technology and digital media industry for over twenty-five years. As the principal counsel at RafterMarsh US, she leads the RM team in providing a wide variety of services to small and medium-sized companies. For fourteen years, she was the lead counsel for Digidesign, the audio division of Avid Technology.
Heather and RafterMarsh US supports pro bono a number of causes, including work for the American Bar Association, where Heather served as chair of the Section of Science and Technology Law and is serving, as an ABA presidential appointee, the Fund for Justice and Education. They also support entities focused on advancing women in music and sound, including Soundgirls.org, and by sponsoring the annual women’s luncheon at SF MusicTech Summit.
Divinity Roxx – Bassist and songwriter
Inspirational and genuine, Divinity Roxx has made the leap from sidewoman for the one and only Beyonce, to frontwoman of her own genre-bursting, honest, and compelling musical journey. Her career as a bass-player skyrocketed after attending a bass camp led by the legendary Victor Wooten where she was invited to tour with him merely three months after the bass camp. After touring with Victor for 5 years, she auditioned for Beyoncé and was selected as a band member and assistant Musical Director. Divinity also acted as the Musical Director for K-Pop sensation 2NE1.
Despite these appearances with so many legendary and iconic figures, it is in her solo performance where Divinity shines the brightest. Her ability to simultaneously play bass guitar while fronting her own band captivates audiences around the world. Her 2016 release ImPossible received critical acclaim as the ultimate mashup of hip hop, rock and funk.
Paula Salvatore – VP/Studio Manager, Capitol Studios
Paula Salvatore has been an anchor of excellence in the L.A. recording world for many years. As Senior Director and Manager of Capitol Studios for the last 26 years, and currently as the Vice President/Studios, Paula has been an integral part of recordings for top line artists such as James Taylor and Tony Bennett and has worked alongside Grammy legend Al Schmitt with artists including Paul McCartney, Diana Krall, Natalie Cole, Barbra Streisand, Sinatra and others.
With the opening of the new Studio A in 1990, Paula helped establish Capitol Studios as a leading facility for Film & TV Scoring projects, with Capitol hosting renowned composers such as Dave Grusin, James Newton Howard, Michael Giacchino, and Tom Newman. The Studio A & B adjoining rooms are amongst the most unique and popular rooms for orchestra sessions, live shows and events and film locations. Hosting the pre-records and live broadcast of the annual Academy Awards have set the standard for excellence.
Paula established her management career working at Kendun Studios with the likes of Quincy Jones and George Benson, and numerous R & B legends. Moving to Sound City in the 80’s, she worked with artists such as Tom Petty, Pat Benatar Rick Springfield and Fleetwood Mac. During the rock era of this decade, she worked with both heavy metal and “hair” bands from Dio and Guns & Roses to Warrant and Poison.
Musician, producer and now director, Dave Grohl of the FooFighters and once drummer for Nirvana, released his critically acclaimed documentary, Sound City, in which Paula is featured. She also co-wrote and performed the end title theme, entitled “Sound City”. The studio business has been Paula’s life journey and she is held in the highest esteem amongst her colleagues. Many successful engineers have come up through the ranks under her guidance and Paula’s commitment and loyalty has earned her the respect of her renowned clientele.
Brad Tolinski – Editorial Director of Special Projects, AMG Parade
Brad Tolinski is the Editorial Director of Special Projects for AMG Parade in New York City. Previously the editor-in-chief of Guitar World Magazine for 25 years, he is the author of Light & Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page (Crown) and Play It Loud: An Epic History of the Style, Sound and Revolution of the Electric Guitar (Doubleday) with Alan DiPerna. In 2015 he and partner Laura B. Whitmore launched BackStory Events, a series of live-streamed interviews with iconic musicians delivered on sites like AOL.com, twitch.tv, Parade.com and others. In 2017 Brad produced the critically-acclaimed She Rocks, Vol 1 compliation for Favored Nations Entertainment, and is currently working on a follow up to that ground breaking collection of female guitarists. Brad has interviewed hundreds of musicians and continues to write feature articles for Guitar World and other publications on a regular basis.
Karen Webb – Founder, PR Squared Public Relations
In 2008, Karen launched PR Squared Public Relations, a full service boutique agency specializing in consumer lifestyle and entertainment brands. Prior to founding her company, she was Vice President of a premier boutique public relations agency in Beverly Hills where she spearheaded media relations and influencer campaigns for a wide range of fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands.
Before a successful career in publicity, Karen worked in the face-paced world of marketing and broadcasting, developing multiplatform campaigns for some of the country’s most recognized brands. She would create a fully integrated, customized marketing package, which often included traditional and emerging media, sales-driven promotions along with various entertainment elements.
Her over 20 years experience includes work with Viacom (in conjunction with the NFL’s Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens and University of Maryland athletics) where she secured partnerships with prominent national brands like Bank of America, Constellation Energy, State Farm, Legg Mason, and Toyota. During her career, she has worked with a wide range of talent from top rated athletes to actors and musicians. For over a year, while still working with a roster of clients, she has overseen the day-to-day publicity for Capitol Studios, the legendary recording studios located inside the iconic Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood, California.