Michael is an advocate, strategist and entrepreneur who works at the intersection of emerging technologies, culture and public policy. As Founder Emeritus of the non-profit Future of Music Coalition, Michael spent fifteen years bridging the gap between the music community and policymakers. His platform at BTBV has allowed him to work with and represent a wide range of other cultural leaders including American Ballet Theatre, NPR, Native Public Media, Colorado Creative Industries and Fractured Atlas.
Building sustainable creative communities has been at the core of Kate Becker’s career. As the first King County Creative Economy Strategist, Becker currently spends her days (and nights!) working to build Seattle’s creative economy, keenly focused on the film and music industries. Prior to this, Becker served on the Cabinets of four Mayors as the Director of the Seattle Office of Film + Music. She has served in leadership roles in large and small non-profit organizations, and co-founded legendary Northwest all ages venues The Vera Project and the Old Fire House, talent pipelines for the music industry. Becker has produced more than 1,000 all ages shows, and numerous large scale events and fundraisers. She was a charter member of the Seattle Music Commission and serves on multiple nonprofit boards.
Kwende currently works as the Cultural Industries Development Officer for the City of Ottawa. Prior to completing a Masters of Research from UCL’s Bartlett School Architecture in Space Syntax Architecture and Cities (2017 - 2018), Kwende played a leading role developing the council-approved Renewed Action Plan for Arts, Heritage and Culture (2013 - 2018). Following that, he led the development of the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition - a not-for-profit organisation focussed on industry development, and the Ottawa Music Strategy (2018 - 2020) - a council-approved strategy for investing in, and developing the music industry. He now works on day-to-day implementation of the strategy while developing other cultural industry initiatives. Kwende also produces and performs under the name DJ Memetic and he is the host and resident of TIMEKODE, one of Canada’s most established dance parties.
Ashlye practices intellectual property, arts and entertainment law and is an advocate for the arts. Ashlye is an adjunct professor at Tulane Law School and also an adjunct professor at the University of New Orleans Graduate School in Arts Administration. She is Co-Founder and Supervising Attorney for The Ella Project. Ashlye has served on numerous boards including the Recording Academy, and she currently chairs the advisory board for WWOZ 90.7 FM Radio.
Anna holds a joint appointment in the Writing Seminars (Krieger School of Arts & Sciences) and Musicology (Peabody Conservatory) at Johns Hopkins University. Before her career as an academic, she served as a writer/commentator for NPR’s Performance Today. She has published a wide array of articles and books, including “Legislating Jazz” in DC Jazz (2018), the award-winning Jazz Italian Style: From Its Origins in New Orleans to Fascist Italy and Sinatra (2017) and Music and Human Flourishing (2022). Her current project is a book on music and politics titled Music that Changed America. Anna is also the author of eight children’s books on music. Her advocacy work includes her previous positions as Co-Director of the DC JazzHubs organization and co-developer of the DC Music Census. She currently serves on the boards of the Baltimore Jazz Alliance and the Music Policy Forum.
Dani owns and manages a legendary and historic music venue located in Northern Colorado, The Mishawaka Amphitheatre. Dani is one of those tenaciously hard-working, creative entrepreneurs who has transformed a deep passion for music into her life’s work. She understands that music and the arts are powerful economic drivers, and collaboration is the key to success. She founded and managed SpokesBUZZ Fort Collins for eight years, a grassroots nonprofit that develops emerging artists and promotes the thriving local music scene to grow the local economies on the Front Range of CO, and has severed on many boards including WESTAF Denver Music Task Force, Rocky Mountain Media Corp (CSU), Community Radio of Northern CO – KUNC/The Colorado Sound and the recent Reopen Every Venue Safely (REVS) cohort.
Hakim Bellamy was the inaugural Poet Laureate of Albuquerque (2012-14) and facilitates youth writing workshops for schools, jails, churches, prisons and community organizations in New Mexico and beyond.
Dena Morris has served as a federal advocate for non-profit clients, as the Legislative Director for a senior member of the U.S. Senate’s Democratic leadership, and as Washington (DC) Director for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In each of these roles, Dena advanced an agenda through Congress with an understanding of the interrelated role that policy, process, and politics play in the legislative process. Political experience includes leading debate preparation and questionnaires for candidates, contributing to and appearing in television ads, and (of course) knocking on doors in Indiana, Illinois, Virginia, and Arizona.
In Seattle, Dena led the Washington Global Health Alliance, a state-wide membership group of organizations working in global health and served as chief of staff with Seattle Public Schools. Today, she is vice chair of the governing board of Amplio, a Seattle-based non-profit advancing global health and development, and a dedicated if not particularly gifted student of the cello.