Pop the champagne! We’re officially a chartered nonprofit and a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization!
We owe many thanks to our long-time fiscal sponsor, Memphis Rock’n’Soul Inc. – they operate the Memphis Music Hall of Fame and the Memphis Rock’n’Soul Museum. If you haven’t been to either/both, check them out. They celebrate the history of Memphis music but the team there is engaged in moving Memphis music forward, too, and we’re grateful to have had their support.
Now that we’re legit, I even managed to talk some really smart, passionate folks into being the founding board members of Music Export Memphis. I’m excited to bring our curation process for events and the strategy development around organizational growth to this group – they are connected to myriad corners of the Memphis music scene (scenes, plural, really) and will make our work better, more diverse, more inclusive, more innovative and more effective.
Without further ado, meet the Music Export Memphis Board of Directors:
Megan Carolan is a musician, Marketing & Events Producer, social media consultant and occasional actress in Memphis, TN. Currently, Megan is the Marking and Events Producer at New Memphis where she connects people with the good going on in Memphis and organizes events such as Exposure on 901 Day, Memphis 101, and others. Megan also does social media for local bands like the Memphis Ukulele Band. Post college, she began her career at Church Health Center where she coordinated their major events, Walking as One and Rock for Love. Megan is a solo artist but has also sung in numerous choirs and performed in many different settings such as church, rock shows, songwriter nights, and theatre. Megan has performed across the East Coast, Mid-South, and internationally in Germany and Austria.
Tonya Dyson is the founder of Neosoulville where she shares her passion for what’s she’s coined “soul culture” online and via live event production. She also cultivates that same love of music in burgeoning artists by way of the Memphis Music Initiative as an in school fellow and as the Marketing & Program Manager of Memphis Slim Collaboratory. With 13 years in music promotion and event marketing experience, Tonya has been a driving force in the Memphis music scene producing shows featuring Corinne Bailey Rae, Robert Glasper, Foreign Exchange, and more in addition to serving as “curator-at-large” for an impressive list of clients. One of two of her signature events- “The Word” is the longest running open mic in Memphis. The other- Soulsville USA Festival is an annual celebration of the Soulsville USA neighborhood. As a singer/songwriter, Tonya is preparing for the debut release of part one of her highly anticipated “Finding My Way” series. She’s also been featured on Vh1 & The Grio and has also shared the stage with & written for several notable artists.
Leah Gafni is the Director of Online Marketing working with with the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau to bring visitors to Memphis and extend their length of stay. After moving to Memphis from Tucson, Arizona Leah fell in love with the community. She feels a responsibility share with the world about all the amazing assets that Memphis has as a top tourist destinatination and to tell the stories about the people that make this city great.
Catrina Guttery is a graduate of the University of Memphis with an Entertainment Management degree. The Memphis native has worked for local talent agency, Colors, alongside managing local bands until 2012. Her commitment to promoting Memphis Music has kept her in the city known internationally for its diverse musical landscape. After serving four years as the Artist Relations and Business Manager for local non-profit Memphis Music Foundation she can currently be heard as an On-Air Personality with IheartMedia Memphis at legendary rock station WEGR Rock 103. Additionally, she serves as host/producer of the radio station’s local music program Memphis Made every Sunday from 8-10pm (CST). She spends her free time volunteering on the steering committees for the Centro Cultural Latino de Memphis and the annual Memphis Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) Celebration and now serves on the board of Music Export Memphis. She is currently serving her third term on the board of the Memphis Chapter of the Recording Academy and in 2012 the Commercial Appeal named her a “Woman to Watch”. She prides herself on being a defender of the low end.
Deron Hall has developed and led multi-million dollar social impact strategies executed by schools, nonprofits, philanthropies and others. Stemming from his work as Executive Director of Cincinnati Outreach Music Project, a creative youth development initiative that served nearly 800 students each school day, he was featured on the front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer sparking the conversation, “Can Music Rescue a Life.” He was a Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Cincinnati, where he studied, “replicable and sustainable arts-based intervention programs for at-risk youth,” leading to presentations on behalf of the U.S. Department of State with (1) Community Arts Center Directors from Dakar, Senegal, Africa, and (2) artists and administrators from Iraq representing the Ministry of Culture, University of Baghdad, and the Iraqi National Symphony. Following his work in Cincinnati, Deron piloted strategies in global partnerships, operations, philanthropy, and research as the Director, Operations/Partnerships/Research for the Memphis Music Initiative, a 5-year, $25-Million creative youth development funding initiative. Deron also serves as an arts/equity/philanthropy subject matter expert on grant panels across the nation including the Heinz Endowments and the National Endowments for the Arts. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (MM ’13, Music Education, French Horn) and the Executive Program in Arts and Culture Strategy at University of Pennsylvania, he currently serves as the Chief Executive and Innovation Officer with Memphis Arts Engine, a social impact design firm creating the innovations of tomorrow, today.
Born and raised in Memphis, TN, John Miller grew up with a love for a wide variety of music. First learning to play piano before tackling french horn and mellophone, he quickly developed a love for the music of the Bluff City – it’s pounding rhythms, soaring soul and gritty rock and roll. After moving back to Memphis to attend law school, he soon took an opportunity to directly support artists in the local scene. Beginning in 2007, Miller was hired by the Archer Records label, assisting with legal issues, artist project coordination, and web marketing. After seeing three years of national and international label growth, he took a position with the non-profit Memphis Music Foundation (MMF) as Resource Center Coordinator. In that role, he worked with artists of every genre to help develop and implement specific career goals, as well as creating educational music business materials and opportunities, and representing Memphis artists at national festivals and conferences. Since leaving the MMF in 2014, he has held a variety of roles in the local music community. He served as a tour manager before gaining experience securing artists for community events and festivals as well as a stint as the talent buyer for Lafayette’s Music Room. Currently a part-owner at local staple Shangri-La Records, he also co-owns Misspent Records, a label dedicated to releasing music from Memphis artists. Additionally, Miller works as Music Coordinator for Indie Memphis Film Festival, booking artists to perform throughout the festival as well as working with programmers on coordinating music documentaries and live performances. When he’s not spinning records up at Shangri-La, you can find him at local shows, cheering the Grizz, or hanging with the Midtown OGs soccer club.