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Board of Directors

The FAI Board of Directors

FAI is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors representing leadership in the folk music industry. The Board is elected by the voting members of the organization each fall, and an Annual General Meeting of members is held during the February conference.

Click here for a list of Folk Alliance International Board Alumni.

FAI Board Members

PRESIDENT (term end: 2022)
Festival & Artistic Director, Philadelphia Folk Festival

Lisa served as President of the Philadelphia Folksong Society from 2007 until 2015, and is currently the Festival Director, following nine years as Marketing and Press Relations. Under her direction, the PFS has focused on inclusivity, increased membership and attendance, a broadening scope of music, fiscal responsibility, and an increase in sponsors and grants. Lisa is a senior sales and marketing specialist with more than 30 years of experience providing marketing, project management, and consulting services in the new home construction, education, arts marketing, manufacturing, and retail arenas.


VICE PRESIDENT (term end: 2022)
Artist, Matt the Electrician

Matt the Electrician is a quirky, sincere folk/pop singer songwriter based in Austin, TX. He has self-released 8 studio albums, and 2 live CDs since 1998. With his newest project, Matt gets by with a little help from his friends. Throughout 2015 and 2016, he's focusing on a string of 7-inch vinyl singles. Matt regularly tours all over the world, playing theaters, festivals, clubs and house concerts, and is a fixture in clubs of his hometown, Austin, TX.


TREASURER (term end: 2021)
Executive Director, Folk Music Ontario

Alka Sharma is the Executive Director of Folk Music Ontario, previously the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (OCFF), based in Canada's national capital, Ottawa. In this role she oversees the operations, staffing and programming of Canada's largest folk music industry event. Prior to this role she worked as the Interim Executive Director at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival coordinating the country's largest multicultural cinema event. Preceding that she served as the Senior Manager of Operations with the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Carleton University specializing in History and Political Science.


SECRETARY (term end: 2022)
Executive Director, Woody Guthrie Center

Deana is the Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa. A member of the Tulsa Arts District Business Association, and the Tulsa Regional Chamber, she is also a board member of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice and the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers. McCloud was a charter member of the board for the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts & Culture and currently serves on the executive board for Tulsa Regional Tourism. Deana is a National Board Certified educator. For 17 years she was a member of the Woody Guthrie Coalition, booking and producing concerts for the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah, Oklahoma. She currently serves on the festival’s advisory board as well as the advisory board for the Woody Guthrie Journal.


AT-LARGE (term end: 2021)
Executive Director, Minnesota Music Coalition

Ellen Stanley has worked for over 15 years as a publicist, promoter, DJ and music writer. The founder of EFS Publicity and the host of KFAI's Womenfolk radio show, she has worked with venues, writers, arts orgs and some of the top names in folk, roots and Americana music, including The Wailin' Jennys, Josh Ritter and Lucy Kaplansky. As the former Director of Publicity & Promotions for indie label Red House Records, she launched many Billboard-charting releases and was voted “Best in the Industry” by Americana DJs five years running. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of the Minnesota Music Coalition, a statewide nonprofit supporting artists of all genres, ages and backgrounds with mentoring, professional training and industry networking. Ellen performs her own music under the name Mother Banjo.


(term end: 2022)
Agent, Paradigm Agency

Lynn has been at Paradigm Agency for over 18 years and in the music business for over 23 years. Getting her start at a big agency in Los Angeles, Lynn found that Monterey Peninsula Artists was a better home, and she began working as the assistant to legendary agent Chip Hooper. Promoted to Agent in 2001, Lynn built her own roster while also booking clients from the full roster. Today, Lynn is proud to represent a host of amazing artists, such as Bruce Hornsby, Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers, Aoife O’Donovan, and The Wood Brothers.


(term end: 2021)
Founder, Momentary Love Management

lou opened Momentary Love Management in 2005 and also began a brief stint as the booking agent for the late, great, Stephen Bruton. During that time, lou befriended numerous artists in need of support and a helping hand, leading him to turn Momentary Love Management into a full-time career after retiring from corporate life in 2014. Prior to his music career, lou was a very successful Human Resources professional for Bank of America, HSBC, and BP. He has served on other Boards including the American Institute of Banking, YEA! (Youth Education in the Arts!), and Project U.S.E. lou is a graduate of Dominican College in Racine, Wisconsin.


(term end: 2020)
Artist, The American Songster

Dom is the “American Songster,” pulling from traditions of old-time folk music to create new sounds. Having performed music professionally since 2005, he has traveled the world showcasing the rich history of American vernacular music. He has played at a variety of festivals spanning from the Newport Folk Festival, Bonnaroo and the Grand Ole Opry. Recently he received the honor of performing for the opening ceremonies for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. He is a multi-instrumentalist, researcher, record collector and advocate for the folk music.


(term end: 2020)
Founder, Cosmica Artists

Gil Gastelum is a Tucson, AZ native and longtime LA Resident (with a 3 year stint in Austin, TX in between). Gil has worked tirelessly as an advocate for indie Musicians for over 25 years- whether bringing in consignment records for indie artists, or founding Cosmica Artists- a management, label, and now publishing arm specializing in signing artists who are on the Indie side of the musical spectrum. Gastelum has worked with the likes of Gaby Moreno, Carla Morrison, David Garza, and Thee Commons, and as an Indie Music Marketer- Smokey Robinson, Jackson Browne, and many others.


(term end: 2021)
Head of Programming, Woodford Folk Festival

Chloe is the Head of Programming for the Woodford Folk Festival, The Planting Festival, and Festival of Small Halls Australia. Though most of Chloe's career has been with Woodfordia Inc, she has acted as the Executive Producer for MONA FOMA (Tasmania), as a show producer for major Brisbane arts venues, and as a consultant, agent, and manager. She has a BA in Theater Studies, has served on the boards of Vulcana Women's Circus, Flipside Circus and Folk Alliance Australia, and the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival (PEI) and was a recipient of the 2017 FAI Spirit of Folk Award.


(term end: 2020)
Executive & Creative Director, The Loud Poet Society

Joan Kornblith spent more than 20 years as a program presenter, producer, and correspondent at the Voice of America in Washington, D.C., engaging more than 1,000 guests in conversations about their music, lives and the world around us for internationally broadcast radio and television programs. Joan is a graduate of Northwestern University (MS-Journalism) and received her BS (Broadcast Journalism) from Boston University. She is also an alumna of Leadership Music (Nashville, TN) and served two terms on the board of the Americana Music Association. An experienced blogger, Joan is also an experienced speechwriter and media coach.


(term end: 2020)
Communications and Public Relations Strategist / Founder,

Michael is an award-winning communications and public relations strategist, a former contributing writer for The New York Times, and served on the boards of both the LI and NYC chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. His online publication,, has provided news and commentary for the folk, roots, and singer-songwriter communities since 2007. Mike is the current board president of the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) and serves as president of the Folk Music Society of Huntington, a presenting organization on Long Island. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stony Brook University and a recipient of its Distinguished Community Service Award. Photo Credit: Razzi Entertainment


(term end: 2022)
Executive Director, Calgary Folk Festival

Sara Leishman was brought up on house concerts and CKUA Radio. Her love of music but dislike of practicing led to her interest in the business of music. With a communications degree and NFP work experience she secured the job of Development Director for the Folk Festival Society of Calgary (Calgary Folk Fest, Festival Hall and Block Heater). For 7 years she obtained sponsorship and donations before becoming the Executive Director in 2017. From 2011-2018 she served on the Board of CKUA Radio and in 2015 successfully completed the Rozsa Arts Management through the Haskayne School of Business.


(term end: 2021)
VP A&R, Rounder Records

Gary Paczosa is a multi-Grammy winning producer and engineer. He is best known for his work with Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, and Sarah Jarosz. He has served on the Grammy board and also works as head of A&R at Sugar Hill Records in Nashville.


(term end: 2020)
Executive Director, The Bluegrass Situation

Amy is the co-founder (with actor Ed Helms) and executive director of The Bluegrass Situation, an online hub for roots music ad culture, and producer of one-of-a-kind jams, stages, and festivals including the annual LA Bluegrass Situation festival, as well as hosting shows throughout the country, including stages at Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Fest, MerleFest, Americana Music Fest, and IBMA. Their growing website includes a broader range of musical coverage, inclusion of lifestyle pieces, and finely produced video series. Aside from overall brand management, Amy is responsible for artist and industry relations, media production, event and festival producing, and mediating strategic partnerships.


(term end: 2020)
Managing Director, Club Passim

Matt Smith is the Managing Director of Passim, a non-profit arts organization in Cambridge, MA, and has been working there since 1995. He has also worked for Young/Hunter Management and was one of the founders of FolkWeb, an online CD realtor in the mid-late 90s. Matt has been on panels, juries and committees at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Folk Alliance International, and the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance. He has worked as a tour manager, sound engineer, and stage manager/MC for various tours and festivals.


(term end: 2020)
Artist Manager (Retired)

Denise Stiff began her official career in the music industry when she moved to Nashville in 1984 to pursue songwriting. Early jobs included the TV show Bobby Bare and Friends and publicity for the Summer Lights Festival. As an agent for Keith Case, she heard Alison Krauss, and began her transition to management. Other clients include Gillian Welch and Sarah Jarosz. She was the Executive Music Producer for “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and was instrumental in the subsequent album, film and tours of “Down From The Mountain”. Recently retired, she remains passionate about folk music and encouraging young songwriters.


(term end: 2021)
Senior Editor, Spotify

Meg Tarquinio is a Senior Editor at Spotify where she works to nurture folk music culture by curating for folk, roots music, and acoustic audiences - building a playlist ecosystem that aims to engage new listeners and deepen fans' experiences with music. Meg's early experiences with folk music communities at local powwows, Irish traditional music festivals, etc. inspired her to pursue a career in music. She attended Northeastern University to study music business, history, and ethnomusicology. She later obtained an MA and Ph.D. in Literature, situating her work within the digital humanities to explore how technology can evolve the way we create, consume, and critique art.


(term end: 2021)
Owner/Agent, ComboPlate Booking

Laura Thomas is the agent and owner of ComboPlate Booking, which opened in 1999. ComboPlate Booking is an artist agency representing folk, Americana and roots rock singer-songwriters. In addition to artist based tour services, volunteerism and community have been integral to Laura’s business. Since 2001, Laura has presented volunteer musicians at a monthly soup kitchen concert in Austin, Texas. In 2002, Laura started South By Soup Fest, a multi-day showcase at the soup kitchen. Since 2005, Laura has organized a day party raising funds for the same soup kitchen. SXSF and the day party take place during SXSW each year.


(term end: 2020)
Jane M.G. Professor of Law, Cornell University, Cornell University

Gerald Torres is a leading figure in critical race theory, environmental law, and federal Indian Law. He previously served as the Bryant Smith Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law and taught at The University of Minnesota Law School, where he served as Associate Dean. He is also a former president of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). Torres has served as deputy assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and as counsel to former U.S. attorney general Janet Reno. He is an avid Blues-man.


(term end: 2020)
Sr. Membership & Project Manager, Recording Academy

Reid Wick has served music communities across the South for many years. He is the Recording Academy's New Orleans-based Membership & Industry Relations representative, where his responsibilities include membership, advocacy, creating professional development and networking programs across a five-state region. For the two years post-Hurricane Katrina, Wick administered the MusiCares' Hurricane Relief Fund. Wick served Loyola University's College of Music as marketing communications manager and instructor in Music Industry Studies. He has served on numerous boards and co-owned an indie record label. He received the 2018 Cutting Edge Music Conference Lifetime Achievement Award. Wick is an active New Orleans musician.




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