CMA Announces Staff Promotions And New Hires

The Country Music Association has announced several staff promotions and new hires. CMA was the first trade group formed to promote a single genre of music in 1958.

Senior Vice Presidents

Sheri Warnke has been promoted to the position of Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

“In the past two years, Sheri has proven to be a tremendous asset to the organization, a dynamic leader, and a passionate voice for Country Music and the industry,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “Her vast experience and her commitment to excellence make her an ideal fit for the position of Senior Vice President.”

In her new role at CMA, Warnke will have direct oversight of several departments including Communications; Membership and Balloting; Research; Strategic Partnerships; Strategic Marketing; and CMA’s vast online and social platforms.

Prior to joining CMA as the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships in 2010, Warnke had been the Nashville-based representative for MS&L, one of the world’s leading communications firms. Before MS&L, Warnke worked for Playboy Enterprises as regional sales manager. Prior to her role at Playboy Enterprises, she spent more than 15 years in high-level consumer magazine publishing roles including four years as the VP/Group Publisher of Country Weekly and Country Music Magazine.

Warnke is an industry expert, having served on the Board of Directors for CMA, Leadership Music, T.J. Martell Foundation, and Gilda’s Club, as well as maintaining memberships in organizations including NARAS and the National Advertising Federation.

Amy Smartt has been promoted to the position of Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration.

“It is important that we have someone like Amy to oversee our financial state of affairs so that CMA is thriving and able to be of service to our membership for decades to come,” said Moore.

In her new role, Smartt will have direct oversight of Accounting, Facility Operations, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology Operations, and Legal/Trademarks Administration. She will also serve as Secretary/Treasurer of the CMA Foundation.

Smartt joined CMA in 2006 as Senior Director of Finance and Administration, and was promoted to Vice President of Finance and Administration in 2009. She is an alumna of Leadership Music and was named a 2011 finalist for the Nashville Business Journal’s CFO Awards. Smartt is a member of the Nashville chapter of Financial Executives International and has served as both Vice President of Programs and Secretary.

Prior to CMA, she worked for nine years at Vanderbilt University, eventually rising to the position of Director of the Commodore Card Office and Financial Operations for Business Services after serving as the Chief Financial Officer for Vanderbilt Dining and Commodore Card Office. Prior to Vanderbilt, Smartt worked for Signage, Inc. for three years, in the position of Director of Finance and Administration. Earlier, she worked as Director of Administrative Services at Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative for six years and embarked on her first tour of duty at Vanderbilt University as Bookstores’ Business Manager for two years. The Tennessee native graduated from Tennessee Technology University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, and earned a Masters of Business Administration from Tennessee State University.

Events and Special Projects

Chris Crawford has been hired as Senior Director of Live Events and Special Projects, Greg Pitman has been hired as Production Manager, and Jessica Turk has been hired as Production Coordinator.

“At CMA, we continually evaluate and update our events and services so that we are providing our artists, industry, and fans with the absolute best,” said Moore. “We have overhauled our Events and Special Projects Department and directed them to constantly evaluate how we can improve our event logistics to make our events even better and more efficient than they already are.”

Crawford will oversee the CMA Events and Special Projects Department as he develops and implements events and programs that build and support CMA’s strategic mission and imperatives. He will plan and oversee the logistical and operational execution of CMA Music Festival, CMA Awards, and the “CMA Country Christmas” television taping, including venue coordination and ticket sales. Crawford will also oversee the programming and execution all other CMA events including Board of Directors meetings, the CMA Songwriter Series, CMA Artist Luncheon, CMA Songwriters Luncheon, pre- and post-CMA Awards parties, and more. He will report directly to Moore.

Crawford comes to CMA after serving as the production manager for reigning CMA Vocal Duo of the Year Sugarland during their 2011 “Incredible Machine Tour.” Prior to that, Crawford was a promoter/production representative and tour accountant with AEG Live! from 2005-2010. Previously, he worked at TBA Entertainment from 2002-2005 as a project coordinator, and with CMT from 1999-2001 as a special projects coordinator. He has worked with more than 40 artist on their tours in arenas, sheds, and stadiums, as well as events such as the Calgary Stampede (2006-2010), Sound & Speed Festival (2006-2009), Stagecoach, and Voodoo Fest, among others. Crawford graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Recording Industry Business, a minor in Business Administration.

Greg Pitman will work on the logistical and operational execution of all CMA events, including CMA Music Festival, CMA Awards, and “CMA Country Christmas,” among others. He will report to Crawford.

Pitman joins CMA after seven years of freelance production. During this time, he worked on a wide variety of events including the 2011 CMA Awards, Glenn Beck’s Restoring Courage in Jerusalem, Joel Osteen Ministries, and more. From 1995-2004, he was a promoter representative for Cellar Door Productions in Columbia, SC. During that time he also served as production manager for Alltell Pavilion at Walnut Creek (Clear Channel Communications) in Raleigh, NC from 2002-2004; production manager with Special Event Services from 1997-2002; and stage manager at Hardee’s Pavilion at Walnut Creek in Raleigh in 1997. He has a degree in radio broadcasting from Brown Institute.

Turk will provide support for the department in all areas of production for CMA events, including vendor interaction, budget management, staffing needs, and event logistics.

Turk was previously an intern in the CMA Strategic Partnership Department. Prior to that, she worked at Michael Dorf Presents from 2007-2009, where she oversaw marketing and advertising plans for concert promotions, handled day-of-show logistics, researched strategic partnerships, and more. Earlier in her career she was a production/event coordinator with the syndicated television series “Real Pro Wrestling,” a production assistant with “Grand Ole Opry Live,” and a production assistant with Sirk Productions. The Nashville native is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and has a Masters in Business Administration from Belmont University.

Communications

Dawn Fisher Copley has been promoted to Senior Media Relations Coordinator and Amanda Severs has been hired as Communications Coordinator.

In her new role, Copley will oversee all media logistics needs for CMA events and serve as a liaison with ABC affiliates to facilitate their coverage of CMA’s television properties. She will pitch stories to media outlets, write press releases, and create video and web tools that aid media outlets in their coverage. In addition, she will oversee the department’s intern and event volunteer program. She reports to Scott Stem, CMA Director of Media Relations.

Copley joined CMA in 2007 as Communications Coordinator while also working as a Retail Associate with the Grand Ole Opry. Prior to that, she served as Payment Processor for Bank Director Magazine and Assistant Box Office Manager for the Ole Smoky Hoedown in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. She also volunteered as the Assistant to the Talent Coordinator at the 2005 and 2006 Rhythm in the Hills Music Festival in Pigeon Forge. Copley interned in the CMA Communications Department in 2005, interned with Capitol Records Nashville and Universal South Artists the following year, and graduated from Belmont University with a Bachelors of Business Administration in 2006.

Severs will work closely with Copley on media logistics needs for CMA events and press conferences. She will also handle day-to-day clip licensing duties, maintain CMA’s vast photo archive, create and distribute physical and digital press kits, provide editorial support for CMA Close Up magazine, maintain clip files, and more. She will report to Wendy Pearl, CMA Vice President of Corporate Communications.

Severs has served as a temporary assistant shared by the CMA Communications, Strategic Marketing, and Strategic Partnerships Departments since August 2011. As part of those duties, she processed clip licensing requests and posted content and media to CMA’s Facebook and Twitter pages. She was also an Experience Coordinator with LivingSocial Adventures from May 2011-January 2012, where she assisted the City Manager in preparing and managing all events. Previously she was an Administrative Assistant with Condon Music Group and an Associate Account Manager with Musictoday (Live Nation). Prior to that, she served internships with MTM Music Management, Red Light Management, and London-based Universal Music Group International. She has a Bachelor in Science with a concentration in Marketing and International Business from the University of Virginia.

Finance and Administration

Lance Morton has joined as the Network Administrator. He will be responsible for maintaining the CMA internal network, connectivity and network servers; providing hardware and software end-user support; assisting with the planning and implementation of Information Technology (IT) needs for company events; and more. He reports to Ken Sanderson, Senior Manager of Information Technology.

Morton spent more than 10 years with the United States Navy. During that time he was an advanced network analyst on the USS Iwo Jima, where he managed operating systems and networks with more than 2,500 users; worked with the Deployable Joint Command and Control System, providing a broad range of IT infrastructure services; and served as Communication Watch Officer for the USS Barry.

Brittany Norton has been hired as the receptionist. Norton was previously a tour manager with several artists, including Jessica Lea Mayfield, Phosphorescent, and Wagons. Prior to that, she worked at Vector Management. Norton graduated from Belmont University with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Music Business. She reports to Amy Smartt, Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration.

Strategic Marketing

Matt Ames has joined as the Digital Marketing Manager. He will create content, implement, and analyze results for all of CMA’s digital initiatives, including website, social media, e-mail, mobile, and other efforts to support the company’s brands, events, and industry awareness. He reports to Ben Bennett, Senior Manager, Digital Strategy.

Ames is a professional web designer/developer with five years of experience in graphic design, digital marketing, and analytics. He worked with the Tennessee Medical Association for three years where he served as project manager during two site redesigns; produced web pages, templates, graphics, and multimedia; created electronic advertisements for websites; initiated the company’s social media presence; and more. For 15 months during this time, he also taught introductory web design and advanced desktop publishing classes at the National College of Business and Technology in Madison, Tenn. Prior to that, he was a contract worker for Union Sportsmen Alliance, where he provided creative and production services for e-mail campaigns and served as lead for the website redesign; and was on staff with Quadrant Technology, a Columbus, Ga.-based web design company. Earlier, he was a contract worker for the Columbus Gourmet, where he managed the e-commerce store; created all web and print advertising collateral, including billboards, newspapers, and banner ads; managed and developed website redesigns; and created packaging designs for the Aunt Pearlies brand’s frozen food containers. A veteran of the United States Army, Ames has an Associate Degree of Applied Science from the Columbus State Community College and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Digital Communications from Franklin University.

SOURCE: Country Music Association

PHOTOS: Sheri Warnke and Amy Smartt Photos by Donn Jones / CMA, Chris Crawford and Greg Pitman Photos by Christian Bottorff / Provided by Country Music Association

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