Brendon Anthony, Director, Texas Music Office

As Director of the Texas Music Office, Brendon Anthony sets the agenda for business development, helping music industry professionals navigate their entry into the Texas market, as well as moving their businesses to Texas (including corporations, start-ups, and everything in between). Appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2015, Brendon provides the link between the Office of the Governor's Economic Development & Tourism Division executive staff, private sector music industry businesses, and non-governmental music organizations and trade associations. In addition to leading the Texas Music Office, Brendon is also the point person for the Music Friendly Communities program which helps connect the various music markets throughout the state with one another, establishes best practices for economic development success, and fosters the development and connection of higher education music programs to real-world music business opportunity.


Nic Bagherpour, President, Denton Music & Arts Collaborative

"Wichita Falls native Nic Bagherpour moved to Denton in 2004 on his 25th birthday. A lifelong passion in music has motivated him to advocate for and serve the Denton Music scene through founding DMAC and participating as a board member of the 35 Denton Music festival. He is also a co-host of "Candy Floss" on KUZU, Denton's local volunteer organized low power FM radio station. Nic resides in North Denton with his wife and their three dogs Radha, Annie and Digby."

Favorite Texas Music Experience
Being a part of 35 Denton was the most fun experience, but being involved with DMAC is by far the most rewarding and meaningful.


Shanna Cate, Director of Programming & Development, Trinity River Vision Authority

Shanna Cate has worked in planning on the Trinity River Vision – Panther Island Project since May of 2004. She manages aspects related to urban planning and development.   She is in charge of programming and is tasked with managing multiple events and a variety of vendors that activate the Trinity River and open spaces on Panther Island including the Panther Island Pavilion – a large waterfront event venue.

Favorite Texas Music Experience
Larry Joe Taylor Texas Music Festival 2016


Elizabeth Cawein, U.S. Lead, Sound Diplomacy

Elizabeth Cawein is a music strategist and advocate. She is the U.S. Lead for Sound Diplomacy, an international music policy consultancy that works with cities to leverage music for economic, social and cultural benefit. She is dedicated to the belief that smart cities are music cities - her TED talk on the subject has one million views and counting. 

Favorite Texas Music Experience
I have been to Austin for 8 SXSW experiences now, and every year has its highlights - like when I saw Leon Russell (RIP) at the Tulsa Boom Factory, or when I saw all the living members of Nirvana play together at Stubbs during the launch of Dave Grohl's Sound City doc. And there are a million more!


Jamie Lou Connolly, Artistic Manager, House of Songs Ozarks

As both a songwriter, live performer, and front woman for "Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo", Jamie Lou Connolly has become known for her empowered yet relatable lyrics and wine-soaked vocal style. The Arkansas Times describes the band as “crescendo-ing, expansive rock with a frontwoman who summons a lilting Judy Garland to full-on Joplin-esque wild child within the same song." 

Jamie Lou first became acquainted with The House of Songs when The Hullabaloo was invited to Crystal Bridges through the House in 2018. Since then, the relationship has blossomed into an ongoing collaboration between the two. Jamie currently Manages the Ozark House and Public Relations for the company while touring with her Band.


Sandra Doan, Director of Artistic Planning, Van Cliburn Foundation

Born and raised in Fort Worth, Sandra Doan started to learn the piano at age 4, and went on to get earn bachelor’s degrees summa cum laude in piano performance and economics at TCU. As the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, she studied for two years at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, earning a performance certificate while also using the city as a jumping-off point to explore Europe. Realizing that she could better serve the artform on the management side, Sandra returned to North Texas to get her Master of Arts and MBA from SMU’s dual-degree arts administration program in 2009. She now combines her love for music and business background, serving as director of artistic planning at the Cliburn since 2011, where she curates and executes the organization’s various concert series, education programs, and three international piano competitions, while also acting as artist manager to launch the careers of the Cliburn laureates. She tries to offset her love of food with yoga.

Favorite Texas Music Memory
I work in classical music, so of course, my favorite experience will be in that! The Cliburn launched our Cliburn Sessions series in 2014 at Live Oak (we’re now at Scat)—classical music meets casual—with piano duo Anderson and Roe presenting both classical music and covers/interpretations of Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, and more. The room was full of Cliburn patrons who had never stepped into a music venue like this before, and audience members who we haven’t seen at any traditional Cliburn concerts before, but everyone was all having so much fun listening to music together. It was just a fantastic moment of great music bringing people from all stripes of life together. Outside of that, it was fun to see the Old 97s again on a perfect night as part of the FWSO’s Concerts in the Garden last summer!


Katherine Dussault, Founder, HiFi House Omaha 

Katherine Dussault is a veteran marketing executive with over 30 years professional experience. She began her career as a journalist and spent five years as a reporter, editor and news anchor for local and national television. She was recruited from the news business to join a well-respected incentive marketing firm in 1984 where she led sales and strategic marketing efforts for Fortune 500 clientele. Her passion for music then led her back to the broadcast world where she held positions as Director of Marketing, General Sales Manager and National Sales Manager for media properties in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas. In 2001 she founded a Los Angeles based consulting firm focused on marketing due diligence for the investment community. The firm reviewed business plans for individual investors as well as private equity and venture capital firm seeking investments in the music business. Katherine is currently building a global network of social listening spaces called Hi-Fi Houses. 


Tyler Hale, Digital Music Editor, KCRW Los Angeles

Tyler Hale is the Digital Music Editor at the acclaimed LA-based radio station KCRW. Working with artists, labels, management, and publicists - it’s his job to produce and curate music content @ so audiences can stay ahead of the proverbial curve. Tyler’s also part of the tastemaking crew @, covering all corners of the record shop and beyond. 

Favorite Texas Music Memory:
Paul McCartney @ ACL 2018
SXSW 2013 (Willie's Ranch a specific highlight)


Cindy Hames, President, Junior Achievement of the Chisholm Trail, Inc.

Cindy’s career has focused on Sales & Marketing Management, as well as Non-profit Management and Fund Development. She has helped small businesses exceed their sales goals, as well as assisted non-profits in expanding their reach. Up until recently, she was general manager of the Fort Worth Business Press; now she serves as president of Junior Achievement of the Chisholm Trail, covering 109 counties starting in Fort Worth and heading west.

Favorite Texas Music Memory
My favorite Texas music experience/memory wasn’t at a concert and it didn’t occur in Texas - I bumped into Waylon Jennings at a restaurant in Nashville, which became the highlight of my trip! #Luckenbach


Erika Hersch, Regional Lending Manager, DFW PeopleFund

Erika Hersh joined the PeopleFund team in 2012 and currently serves as the regional lending manager for Dallas/Fort Worth. Her diverse background includes experience in lending, grant writing, community outreach, and business assistance & education.  She is responsible for guiding new clients through the loan process and developing partnerships throughout the North Texas footprint. Erika is an officer in the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Cowtown Leads Exchange and the Burleson Chamber Power of Heels. She currently serves as the Head Judge for the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center Business Plan Competition. Erika has a passion for helping new entrepreneurs realize their potential. Her vitality, skills and compassion translates to her desire to see small businesses succeed. 

Favorite Texas Music Memory
Her most memorable Texas music adventures include standing in line for hours at the Texas State Fair with her mom waiting for Allan Jackson, taking her grandmother to see Neil Diamond, and spending her daughter’s 18th birthday at Kelly Clarkson concert.  There is nothing better than family and music!


Frank Jackson, Vice President Artist Accounts, Smith Music Group

Frank Jackson is Vice President of Artist and Account accusation for Ft Worth’s own Smith Music Group. Known for creating and distributing the Live at Billy Bob’s Texas line of DVDs, LP and CDs, as well as distributing top Texas music acts like new comer Parker Mccollum and music legends John Conlee and Willie Nelson. Smith Music Group distributes over 500 albums and over 6000 tracks in to all digital service providers worldwide such as Amazon, Apple Music, Facebook ,Pandora, and Spotify. Smith Music Group continues to look for different avenues of distribution in non-traditional retail outlets like Buc-ees and Digital Service Providers. Frank’s mission and commitment to the artist community is simple, support, be an advocate for songwriters and artist to help grow their audience.

Favorite Texas Music Memory
Making live albums at Billy Bob’s & collaborating in 2000 to create the original TX Music Chart


Seong MacLaren Director of Tourism & Downtown Development, City of Lindale            

My name is Seong MacLaren. I am the Tourism Director for the City of Lindale and have spent the past 4 years focusing on making Lindale a destination city. Recently, I was honored to be appointed Liaison for Texas Music Friendly Communities. A favorite musical memory of mine was on March 23rd of this year when we had our first big concert in our Downtown City Park. The attendance was in excess of 7,000 and our population is under 5,000. So, our mantra is that “We’re Little but Mighty”! We are looking forward to many successful music festivals in our new Downtown Cannery Development!


Tom Martens, Creative Director, Visit Fort Worth      

Tom Martens has been with Visit Fort Worth full time since April 2012. He joined the team as a freelancer to help with the increase of work during the 2011 North Texas Super Bowl. As the Creative Director he has help elevate the profile of the 15th largest city and lead the charge to incorporate music into events, advertising and brand activations. He is a founding member of Hear Fort Worth, an initiative of the local music community to build national awareness of the Fort Worth music scene.

Favorite Texas Music Experience
Willie Nelson wore a Visit Fort Worth bandana I designed at one of his concerts at Billy Bob's Texas. Then he signed another one just like it and gave it to me.


Kat Orsak, Executive DirectoR, The LOT Downtown

Kat Orsak is the Executive Director of The LOT Downtown, a non-profit outdoor amphitheater in Mansfield, Texas. The LOT Downtown transformed an empty grass lot into a state-of-the-art amphitheater and organization that provides live music, theater, and cinema to the community. With their mission of bringing people together to enjoy life through the arts, The LOT Downtown is so much more than a music venue. It's a place to find your inner Mansfield.


Shannon Overby, Director, Visit Conroe

Shannon Overby moved to Bryan-College Station from Georgetown to attend Texas A&M in 1988.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Parks & Tourism Sciences in 1991.   After graduating, she worked in hotel management and international advertising before launching her CVB career in Bryan College Station. Shannon spent 23 years at the Bryan-College Station Convention & Visitors Bureau in a variety of positions before taking the Director’s job at the Conroe CVB in October of 2017. Shannon received her Texas Destination Marketing Certification (TDMC) in 1998 and her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 2000 and completed her Certified Destination Marketing Executive (CDME) certification in 2015. Shannon stays very busy both professionally as well as personally.  She dedicates her time to the tourism industry that she loves through board and committee service on both state and national tourism associations.  She continues to help the next generation of tourism professionals by offering internships, teaching seminars around the state and speaking regularly to tourism classes at Texas A&M University and other area colleges.  When not working – Shannon’s love for travel and adventure keep her on the road (in the air, on a boat, or aboard a train), recent excursions have taken her to Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Israel! Shannon and her husband Don stay busy with their two sons – Wesley (19) and Zachary (28) and Daughter-in-law, Erica. 

Favorite Texas Music Memory
Growing up – I always LOVED music!  And although I took piano for years – I can only play chopsticks!  In high school and college, I only dated musicians. In fact, in college – I saw so many live music performances across the state – I met my future husband while watching a “gig” of my (then) boyfriend…  That was 25 years ago, and while he doesn’t play live much anymore – he and I still enjoy live music across the state as often as possible!I guess that is why I am so excited to promote Conroe as a Texas Music Friendly Community!  Music brings people together! 


Nick Shuley, President, Austin Music Movement

With over 15 years experience with high profile brands, athletes, musicians and events, Nick Shuley currently serves as President of the Austin Music Movement and Program Director of ALL ATX (501c3), organizations founded by Gary Keller of Keller Williams. The Austin Music Movement and ALL ATX are the keystones of Gary Keller's and his efforts to stabilize, protect, sustain and grow the Music Capital of the World — Austin, Texas. In addition to these efforts in Austin, Nick serves as the personal marketing advisor to Bo Jackson, and recently assisted Lance Armstrong in launching Lance's new brand “WEDŪ," as well as co-producing and launching "The Forward" Podcast and “STAGES" Podcast.  Nick previously served as the Director of Marketing at Capital Sports and Entertainment (“CSE”) and was responsible for the marketing of the RadioShack Nissan Trek Cycling Team, Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop and Lance Armstrong. Prior to CSE, Nick was with C3 Presents where he was responsible for the Interactive Marketing for Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Festival, and Austin City Limits Television, as well as the lead hip-hop manager responsible for C3 acts signed by Justin Timberlake, Outkast, and Cash Money Records.

Favorite Texas Music Memory:
Going to my first concert (without my parents) in 1995 as an 8th grader at Liberty Lunch (R.I.P.) in Austin. It was Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Sponge, and Fig Dish. I still recall the feeling of seeing music live in a club and I was instantly hooked. I couldn’t get enough live music and still can’t...even to this day.


Graham Weber, Program Director / Manager - The House of Songs Austin / Ozarks / New York City

Born and raised across the midwestern United States, Graham Weber has been a proud resident of Austin, Texas since 2004. He has released five studio albums and two live albums, toured the North America and Europe as a headliner, and has supported many of his songwriting heroes including Guy Clark, Slaid Cleaves, Todd Snider, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott,  Alejandro Escovado, and many more. In addition to performing as a solo troubadour, he is a member of critically acclaimed Americana Rock & Roll band, Western Youth. He also fronts his 3-piece jazz combo, crooning torch songs and forgotten selections from the American songbook. Weber began working with The House of Songs as a guest co-writer.  He now organizes and facilitates Songwriter Summit Camps, hosts and produces live events and brings artists from around the world together to collaborate in both Austin and Northwest Arkansas.  Weber considers his work with The House of Songs among the most rewarding achievements of his nearly twenty year career in the music business.

Favorite Texas Music Memory
So many! I'd say my first TX music memory. My second day in town Slaid Cleaves called me and asked if I could come to play his on the bill of his show at Cactus Cafe. I'd never spent any time besides driving through the panhandle before moving to Austin. It was a thrill and an honor and opened up a lot of doors for me right away in Texas.


Mitch Whitten, EVP Marketing & Strategy,
Visit Fort Worth 

Mitch Whitten is executive president for marketing and strategy at Visit Fort Worth, where he is responsible for all external outreach, tourism and the community’s Destination Master Plan.

In recent years his team has launched the Fort Worth Film Commission, fostered the Hear Fort Worth music association and produced the music video “Things to Do” and and the award-winning video series “Fort Worth Stories.”

Whitten’s team produced Fort Worth on Rainey at SXSW, combining music, tech and innovation from across the city.

His first job was reporting for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.