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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: 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.


VICE PRESIDENT (term end: 2019)
Festival & Artistic Director, Philadelphia Folk Festival

Lisa Schwartz served as President of the Philadelphia Folksong Society from 2007 until 2015. Under her direction, the PFS became a more vibrant and inclusive organization, with increasing membership and event attendance, and a broadening scope of music. Her dedication to fiscal responsibility led to improved financial stability for the organization and greater recognition from sponsors and grantors.

For the past nine years, Lisa has been the Marketing and Press Relations chairperson for the Philadelphia Folk Festival and has just been named as interim Festival Director, leading a team of three seasoned individuals to produce the 54th Annual event this August.

Away from music, Lisa’s professional life includes being 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.

Sharing a love of all music genres, Lisa has also been a member of the Savoy Opera Company, performing on stage at the famed Academy of Music in Philadelphia.


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: 2019)
Executive Director, Woody Guthrie Center

Deana McCloud is the Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa. She is a member of the Tulsa Arts District Business Association, Folk Alliance International, and the Tulsa Regional Chamber. She currently serves on the Folk Alliance International executive committee as secretary, and is 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.

Prior to taking this position, McCloud was a National Board Certified educator. For 17 years, she was a member of the Woody Guthrie Coalition, serving as secretary and president of the board as well as booking and producing concerts for the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah, Oklahoma and working with Woody Guthrie Publications to present programs about Guthrie. She currently serves on the festival’s advisory board as well as the advisory board for the Woody Guthrie Journal.


AT-LARGE (term end: 2019)
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.


(term end: 2019)
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: 2019)
Manager, Market Monkeys

Michelle Conceison is the founder of Boston-based music marketing and management company Market Monkeys. She started managing artists in 2001, and founded the company in 2004 after getting an MBA in International Marketing & Music Management. Today, Conceison manages Canadian singer songwriter Rose Cousins. Market Monkeys provides services to clients including Kris Delmhorst, Meg Hutchinson, Lucy Kaplansky, The Pines, Winterbloom and Natalia Zukerman.

Prior to her music career, Conceison was an advertising executive specializing in digital media and analytics. She led teams at agencies in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, working with major brands including AT&T, Bank of America, General Motors and Adidas.

Conceison is also a professor of Marketing at Northeastern University and Simmons School of Management. She holds a MBA from Simmons and a BA in English & Philosophy from Tufts University.


(term end: 2021)
Founder, Momentary Love Management

When Beaver Nelson talked him into hosting a house concert in 2002, lou DeMarco had no idea he was taking the first step down a road that would lead him to a seat on the FAI Board of Directors. But that one show (which featured Beaver with Steve Poltz, Adam Carroll, and Scrappy Jud Newcomb) turned into a long running house concert series that lou and his wife, Loraine Fusco, still produce in their New Jersey home. In 2005, lou opened Momentary Love Management 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. MLM’s current roster includes: Beaver Nelson, Wild Ponies, Carrie Ann Carroll, Hilary Scott, Nellie Clay, The Roamies, and Rob Robinson. Momentary Love Management also supports the award winning Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey, recently named Whisky Advocate's "Craft Whiskey of the Year for 2015".

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: American Institute of Banking, YEA! (Youth Education In the Arts!), and Project U.S.E.

lou is a graduate of Dominican College, 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: 2020)
Executive & Creative Director, The Loud Poet Society

This is Joan’s second term on the FAI Board. Her first two years were spent on the Executive Committee as Board Secretary – a job some would say was perfect for an award winning journalist. But she prefers to be described as a “professional listener.” “I learn something new from every conversation I have with a member, whether on the phone, in person or by email---but I also learn a lot just hanging back, people watching, and listening to elevator chatter during the conference.”

Joan spent more than 20 years as a program presenter, producer and music correspondent at the Voice of America in Washington, DC, engaging more than a thousand guests in conversations about music, their lives and the world around us. Look for her as a “talking head” in two music documentaries: Jon Dee Graham: Swept Away and the upcoming film The Nighthawks: That Band On The Blue Highway. Joan’s also an experienced blogger, speechwriter, media coach. When Joan isn’t working, she loves to travel---anywhere and everywhere—and is great at helping you optimize the use of frequent flier miles.

Joan is an alumna of Leadership Music, served 2 terms on the Board of the Americana Music Association, and spent several years on the planning committee of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Leadership Bluegrass. You’re likely to see her on panels at Folk Alliance, AMA, IBMA and other music and media conferences. Joan is a graduate of Northwestern University (MS-Journalism) and received her BS (Broadcast Journalism) from Boston University.


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

Michael Kornfeld is an award-winning communications and public relations strategist who counts a number of independent recording artists among his clients. As past president of both the New York chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island, Mike is also a frequent speaker on PR and communications topics at music conferences. Through his online publication,, Mike has provided news and commentary for the folk, roots, and singer-songwriter communities since 2007. A former contributing writer for The New York Times, he served on the boards of both the LI and NYC chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists and remains active in media circles.

Besides serving on the Folk Alliance International board, Mike is a board member and past vice 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 has co-coordinated NERFA One-Day Mini-Conferences, organizes the annual Huntington Folk Festival, and forged a locally-heralded arts partnership between FMSH and LI’s Cinema Arts Centre.

Michael Kornfeld 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: 2020)
Artist, Sam Lee
Director, The Nest Collective

Since bursting onto the folk scene, Londoner Sam Lee has blazed a trail as a singer and song collector. Sam is also the founder behind the eclectic, award-winning folk club The Nest Collective, which has brought traditional music to new stages and venues as well as engaging younger audiences throughout the UK and beyond. He has toured more than 20 countries and traveled around the world as part of the new Song Collectors movement, collecting new versions of old songs on his iPhone and laptop, his repertoire steeped in folklore and history and inspired by the natural world.


(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 Reitnouer is the co-founder and executive director of The Bluegrass Situation, an online hub for roots music and culture, and producer of one-of-a-kind jams, stages, and festivals throughout the country, including the annual LA Bluegrass Situation festival.

After launching her first blog BLUEGRASSLA (whilst simultaneously working full time at the Academy of Motion Pictures), Amy was contacted by actor Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover), who had started his own Southern California bluegrass project, The LA Bluegrass Situation festival at Largo, a year earlier. Together, they merged their brands to start The Bluegrass Situation in April 2012.

Now hosting shows throughout the country – including stages at Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Fest, MerleFest, Americana Music Fest, and IBMA – and growing their website to include a broader range of musical coverage, inclusion of lifestyle pieces, and finely produced video series. BGS has positioned itself within the roots musical community, with Helms still maintaining an active creative role and Reitnouer as Executive Director. Aside from overall brand management, she is responsible for artist and industry relations, media production, event and festival producing, and mediating strategic partnerships.


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

Since 2013, Ellen Stanley has been the Executive Director of the Minnesota Music Coalition (MMC). The only nonprofit devoted solely to supporting Minnesota's independent musicians, the MMC is a network of industry professionals, businesses and nonprofits, providing artists with the skills, resources and opportunities to have sustaining careers in music.

Before heading up the MMC, Ellen was the Director of Publicity & Promotions at Grammy-winning indie label Red House Records, where she developed an international reputation as one of the top music publicists in the country and was voted one of the "Best in the Industry" by Americana DJ's five years running. She has an extensive background in the music business and has also worked as a fundraiser, festival organizer, radio promoter, booking agent, music writer and A&R rep. For the last twelve years, she has produced and hosted Womenfolk, a weekly music show on KFAI Radio. Ellen also performs her own music under the name Mother Banjo and teaches at McNally Smith College of Music.


(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)
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: 2019)
Content Manager / Music Programmer, Stingray

Greg Torrington has worked in the music business most of his adult life (over 40 years) as musician, radio programmer, artist manager, major label A&R and for the past 8 years as Stingray Music’s Roots and Country music curator (Folk, Americana, Blues, Bluegrass, Country – each a separate 24/7 streaming music channel) – available through digital cable and apps in over 20 million North American homes. He is a constant attendee and panelist at FAI, NERFA, Americana, Maple Blues, and FMO conferences and currently sits on the boards of the Country Music Association of Canada and Folk Music Canada.


(term end: 2020)
Program Director, Sirius XM Radio

Mary Sue Twohy is Program Director for multiple channels on SiriusXM including The Village, and The Folk Channel. She has interviewed Art Garfunkel, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Pete Seeger, Emmylou Harris, Judy Collins, Emma’s Revolution, and Ellis Paul, to name a few in her tenure. Before becoming a broadcaster, Mary Sue ran a boutique public relations firm and also toured regionally for a decade in support of three albums, two on Azalea City Recordings. Mary Sue resides in Maryland with her fiancée and dachshund.


(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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