Featured Speakers


Amy Terrill

Amy Terrill plays a leadership role in the development and implementation of Music Canada’s government and stakeholder relations portfolio and is responsible for overseeing Music Canada’s research and communications. Amy serves on several Boards of Directors including Music Canada Live, the Unison Benevolent Fund, and music advisory committees for Creative BC and the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada. 

Anna Harwell Celenza

Anna Harwell Celenza is the Thomas E. Caestecker Professor of Music at Georgetown University. Before coming to Georgetown, she was a writer/commentator for NPR’s Performance Today. She has published a wide array of articles and books, including “Legislating Jazz” in DC Jazz (2018), the award-winning Jazz Italian Style: From Its Origins in New Orleans to Fascist Italy and Sinatra (2017) and eight children’s books. Her advocacy work includes her position as Co-Director of the DC JazzHubs organization and a founding member of the Music Policy Forum.

AshlyE Keaton

Ashlye Keaton Esq. practices entertainment and intellectual property law and is an advocate for the arts. Ashlye is an adjunct professor at Tulane Law School and also an adjunct professor at the University of New Orleans Graduate School in Arts Administration. She is Co-Founder and Supervising Attorney for The Ella Project. Ashlye has served as an officer on the Board of Governors for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, better known as the Grammy’s. She has consistently been voted as OffBeat Magazine’s Best Music Attorney from 2008 to 2015; Gambit Weekly’s 2009 40 Under Forty; 2008 Governor’s Art Award/ELLA Project; and New Orleans CityBusiness 2007 Leadership in Law. 

Audrey Fix Schaefer

Audrey oversees communications for the 9:30 Club, The Anthem, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Lincoln Theatre and all I.M.P. events and issues. In addition to working with the media, she’s engaged in certain local and national legislative initiatives. Prior to joining I.M.P. 11 years ago, she was vice president of corporate communications for Sprint Nextel where she oversaw financial and crisis communications and media and community relations.


Singer, rapper, and writer Dessa has made a career of bucking genres and defying expectations—her résumé as a musician includes performances at Lollapalooza and Glastonbury, co-compositions for 100-voice choir, performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, and a top-200 entry on the Billboard charts for her album Parts of Speech. As a writer, she’s been published by The New York Times Magazine, broadcast by Minnesota Public Radio, published two literary collections of her own, and is set to release her first hardcover collection with Dutton Books in the fall of 2018. Dessa’s third full-length album Chime (Doomtree Records) was listed by NPR as one of 2018’s most anticipated albums.

Erin McKeown

Erin McKeown is a musician, writer, and producer known internationally for her prolific disregard of stylistic boundaries. Her brash and clever electric guitar playing is something to see. Her singing voice is truly unique – clear, cool, and collected. A familiar presence on NPR and the BBC, McKeown’s songs have also appeared on numerous television shows and commercials. She has spent the last decade and a half playing nearly 200 shows a year while releasing 9 studio albums and refining a distinct and challenging mix of American musical styles.

Gabriel “Asheru” Benn

Asheru is the Associate Producer of a documentary film called Maestrina da Favela that is on its way out into the world after a long 10 years of making, by DC native and independent filmmaker, Falani Afrika.  The team submitted the film to Tribeca, Sundance and the SWSX film festivals and has been getting great feedback from audiences here in the United States and in Brazil, including a Best Feature award at Brazil's 2018 Mostra Intinerante de Cinema Negro Mahomed Bamba film festival.

John Troutman

John Troutman is Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.  His first book, Indian Blues: American Indians and the Politics of Music, 1879-1934, won the Western History Association's biennial 2011 W. Turrentine Jackson Prize for a first book on any aspect of the American West.  His latest book (2016) is Kīkā Kila: How the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed the Sound of Modern Music.  Kīkā Kila has won five book awards, including the Organization of American Historians' Lawrence W. Levine Award for the "Best Book in American Cultural History," the IASPM-US Woody Guthrie Award for the "most outstanding book on popular music," and the American Musicological Society's Music in American Culture Award.  Troutman's essays have been featured in several anthologies, magazines, and journals.  

kwende kefentse

Prior to completing a Masters of Research from UCL’s Bartlett School Architecture in 2017/2018 Kwende worked as the Cultural Industries Development Officer in the City of Ottawa’s Arts and Heritage Development unit. He played a leading role developing the council-approved Renewed Action Plan for Arts, Heritage and Culture (2013 - 2018), and led a major music industry development initiative in partnership with local music business leaders and the City's Economic Development staff.

Michael Bracy

Michael Bracy is an advocate, strategist and entrepreneur who works at the intersection of emerging technologies, culture and public policy. As Founder Emeritus of the non-profit Future of Music Coalition, Michael spent fifteen years bridging the gap between the music community and policymakers.  His platform at BTBV has allowed him to work with and represent a wide range of other cultural leaders including American Ballet Theatre, NPR, Native Public Media, Colorado Creative Industries and Fractured Atlas.

Dr. Michael Seman

Michael Seman is the Director of Creative Industries Research and Policy at the University of Colorado Denver College of Arts & Media. He earned a doctorate in urban planning and public policy in 2014 and his work primarily examines the intersection of the creative economy, entrepreneurship, and economic development on the urban landscape. Dr. Seman is currently writing a book about music scenes and how they can transform cities for the University of Texas Press. His co-edited volume concerning the production and consumption of music in the digital age was published by Routledge in 2016 and his work can also be found in many academic journals. Prior to completing his graduate degrees, Dr. Seman spent several years as an executive at Creative Artists Agency in Beverly Hills, California where he focused on internal marketing and project development.

Michelle Hoffmann

Michelle Hoffmann is the Director of Education and Community Engagement at Washington Performing Arts (WPA), one of the nation's preeminent multi-disciplinary arts presenters, notable for launching and nurturing innumerable performing artists, and sustaining high-impact arts education partnerships with the D.C. Public Schools and diplomatic community.  Michelle is responsible for setting the vision and overseeing the implementation of responsive arts education programs that reach more than 50,000 people each year through hands-on instruction, innovative partnerships, and community engagement initiatives, including the Embassy Adoption Program, Capital Arts Partnerships, DC Keys, and Washington Performing Arts’ resident gospel choirs.  

Nancy Baym

Nancy Baym, Ph.D. is an American academic, formerly a Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas and currently a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research. She was a member of the founding board and former president of the Association of Internet Researchers, and serves on the board of several academic journals covering new media and communication. She has published research and provided media commentary on the topics of social communication, new media, and fandom.


Natalie Hopkinson

Natalie Hopkinson, Ph.D., is a fellow of the Interactivity Foundation and an assistant in Howard University’s graduate program in Communication, Culture & Media Studies. She has been an editor, critic, and columnist at the Washington PostThe Root and the Huffington Post. Her most recent book, A Mouth is Always Muzzled, earned the 2018 Independent Publishers’ Association “Spirit” award. Her 2012 book Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City was named among SPIN magazine’s best books about music and Washington Post’s Best Books about Washington.