Our Diversity Gives Us Strength
We are a team. From our executives who espouse and inspire excellence, equality and
trust, to our motivated staff, we win as one. We bring together an incredibly diverse set
of skills and perspectives to support and serve our clients.
Meet the team
Bernie Cahill is a Founding Partner of Activist Artists Management, a top-tier, full-service music and talent management, integrated media and advisory firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Nashville and Atlanta. He founded Activist along with Greg Suess and Matt Maher who heads the Nashville office. Liz Norris, Head of Activist’s NYC office and Tony Khan, Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham FC owner, are also Activist partners.
Cahill currently oversees the careers of artists such as Ben Rector, Bob Weir, Clare Bowen, Dead & Company*, multiple GRAMMY Award winner Dwight Yoakam, Empire of the Sun, Frankie Ballard, Grateful Dead, The Lumineers, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Nahko & Medicine for the People. Cahill, along with Dead & Company’s *co-manager Azoff/Moir, has overseen the rise of Dead & Company into a record-breaking stadium act. Dead & Company has headlined iconic stadiums across the country including Folsom Field, Autzen Stadium, Citi Field, Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium. Additionally, the band broke Wrigley Field’s all-time attendance record in 2017. This year, Dead & Company’s Summer Tour ranked in the top 25 of the Top 100 Worldwide Tours and in both 2017 and 2018, their Summer Tours ranked in the top 15 of the Top 20 Global Concert Tours from Pollstar.
Cahill also advises the Khan family on non-sports related programing for their venues, including the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Daily’s Place, Fulham FC’s Craven Cottage and on their pending bid to acquire the iconic Wembley Stadium.
Prior to Activist, Cahill co-founded Roar management where he established and ran its music division over the last decade. While at Roar, Cahill and Maher led the department that managed three-time GRAMMY Award winner Zac Brown Band. During their time together, the band grew into a stadium act with dozens of sold out stadiums shows, including setting the all-time attendance record for three consecutive shows at Fenway, as well as being the first act to play and sell out Coors Field.
Cahill, along with Activist partner Greg Suess, were among the leading principals in helping Zac Brown successfully launch his state-of-the-art non-profit, Camp Southern Ground, for children and military families which sits on over 400 acres in Fayetteville, GA. Cahill also co-chairs the USO Entertainment Advisory Board and is actively involved in numerous philanthropic causes. He also serves as a board member of Genius Brands International, Inc. (Nasdaq) and has served on the board of the non-profit InsideOUT Writers organization.
Greg Suess advises clients across a wide range of transactions, content strategies, seed and growth capital, strategic alliances, joint venture agreements, licensing agreements, mergers and acquisitions, dispositions, and marketing and distribution agreements.
Previously, Suess was a co-founder at Roar where he established its corporate division and was a strategic advisor to Vice Media, and strategic advisor to, and investor in, Appetize, Cinedigm, Genius Brands, Influential.co, Ticketfairy and Virgin Hotels – Nashville, all of whom have joined Activist as clients.
He will continue to advise Activist’s clients in their non-profit endeavors; while at Roar, he led fundraising initiatives that resulted in more than $50M in funding for their various causes, including $35M for Zac Brown’s Camp Southern Ground where he is still an active advisory board member.
Suess has a background in entertainment law with an industry focus on general corporate law, media and entertainment. Greg is a member of ACM and CMA and serves on the Board of Directors of Wizard World, Inc. (WIZD).
Matt Maher is an experienced music manager and the head of Activist’s Nashville office.
Maher was previously a partner at Roar and the head of the Roar Nashville office where he helped to expand the roster and build the music careers of Dwight Yoakam, Ben Rector, and Zac Brown Band in their rise from regional success to a GRAMMY Award-winning stadium act. He previously worked as the sole manager of the entertainment law practice at the Cahill Law Office.
His background as the founder, songwriter and lead singer of a touring act signed to Capitol Records and EMI Music Publishing afforded him the opportunity to develop a unique artist-oriented skill set and professional network, which has informed and enhanced his ability to effectively represent Activist’s top-tier roster.
Maher is an active member of CMA, ACM, BMI and NARAS, and has been listed as one of Billboard’s annual Nashville Power Players. Maher joined the T.J. Martell Foundation Southern Region Board in 2014, co-chairing and hosting the annual “Bad Ass of the Year” event, and now sits on the advisory council.
Liz Norris is a partner and runs the New York office of Activist Artists Management. Norris focuses on media and brand strategies for all Activist clients and creates promotional opportunities and awareness around album releases, book releases, tours, film premieres and product launches. She specifically focuses on Activist clients the Grateful Dead, Dead & Company, and Bob Weir.
She was previously with Roar for fifteen years where she opened the New York office and created a Media and Brand Strategy Department. While at Roar, Norris oversaw brand strategies for music and talent clients across all disciplines with a focus on music, film and television. Norris engineered award campaigns including Tony, GRAMMY, CMA, Oscar, Golden Globes, Emmy, and James Beard Awards in addition to many other top tier honors for clients. For example, Norris lead the campaigns for Zac Brown Band’s 3 GRAMMY Award wins.
Before joining Roar, she operated her own management company based in Nashville, specializing in songwriters and indie-rock bands. Norris has been an active supporter of the Robin Hood Foundation and led the company team at the NYC Marathon in 2017. She graduated from James Madison University and is an active member of NARAS, ACM, AMA, and CMA.
Kris “Red” Tanner launched the Commerce and Activations Department for Activist to optimize client’s ancillary revenue streams via her specialized areas of expertise include ticketing, merchandise, sponsorship activation and fan clubs, VIP programs. She is also an authority on all aspects of producing and executing special events and festivals.
Previously, Tanner spent eight years at Sixthman, an Atlanta-based company which operates full ship charter cruises providing a unique vacation experience for music fans. She also formerly coordinated label operations for Sixthman (ADA) and Autonomous Records (Roadrunner Records). Red began her music industry career building and overseeing AMG, a CD manufacturing company targeting independent musicians.
She grew up in Wilton, CT and graduated from Miami University in Oxford, OH. She lives in Atlanta with her husband Chris and their two spoiled dogs, Ramone and Zeus.
Andrew Ward was previously a Managing Director of Roar, where he focused on strategic advisory work at the cross section of technology and media. Prior to Roar, Ward co-founded Saeculum Research, an investment research and corporate advisory firm focused on demographics, generations, and social trend analysis, whose clients include leading investment managers, Fortune 500 corporations, and family offices. Before Saeculum, Ward served as head of Investment Research Sales for Canada at Bloomberg Tradebook, the brokerage arm of Bloomberg LP, and as a Director for Roubini Global Economics, where he lead the expansion of Roubini’s advisory business in Asia & Australia.
Ward began his career as a financial analyst at ICON Investments, a multi-billion-dollar alternative investment management firm where he sourced, analyzed, and managed portfolio investments in the technology, global shipping, manufacturing, and energy sectors.
Ward grew up on a farm in small town Maine before moving to New York City, where he graduated from Columbia University.
Toby Benson is an artist manager and immersive event creative director with over a decade of experience, specializing in electronic music.
Before founding his own management and live events company, Discord, Toby was Executive Vice President at Control Music Group where he signed and managed the careers of multiple platinum-selling and GRAMMY-winning headline electronic artists and DJ’s.
He has overseen a multitude of domestic and global tours covering over 70 countries. He worked on the campaign to launch the first large-scale DJ residency in Las Vegas and the first-ever North American college arena tour for an electronic artist. He concepted and produced The Voyage, a 2-day music festival in Southern California where the headline artist arrived in a hot air balloon and performed for over 15,000 people. Toby also co-created and was the creative director for I Feel Love, an immersive theater concert experience reimagining Studio 54, in partnership with Universal Music Group.
Toby will maintain his status as Creative and Talent Director for VAC China, producers of Vision and Colour festival, one of the few top-tier domestic EDM festival IPs in China. VAC is also the first large-scale electronic festival in central China. He’ll be overseeing the expansion of VAC to additional cities in China in the coming months.
Toby was born and raised in London before moving to the USA on a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduating he spent 6 years in New York before moving to Los Angeles in 2012. He’s currently learning Mandarin and also has the Guinness World Record for the largest pillow fight in history.
As the Head of Creative Strategy at Activist, Fratoni ensures each client has the creative tools necessary to break, compete and thrive in today’s attention economy.
He focuses on artistic development from recording to release, guides the creative process and articulates the artist’s identity to stakeholders responsible for amplifying their vision.
Fratoni evaluates audience reaction to inform future creative decisions through combined feedback, research and intuition, allowing him to further understand the artist ecosystem and draw conclusions alongside competitive records.
He joined Activist from Columbia Records, where he contributed to successful campaigns for a broad array of local artists and international superstars such as Arcade Fire, One Direction, Maren Morris and The Script. He has worked on Oscar nominated and Emmy Award winning television and film projects such as Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver and Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle as well as Grammy nominated soundtracks including Fox’s EMPIRE and GLEE.
Fratoni possesses an in-depth understanding of the creative and business aspects necessary for generating unique experiences through music, enhanced by a background in writing and production.
Sheema Siddiqi is a digital marketing professional who has experience working across music, sports, fashion and television for high-profile clients in both the U.S. and the UK. She joined Activist from Modest Management where she was Head of Digital for One Direction, Little Mix, Niall Horan, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Hey Violet.
Sheema started her digital career by working at global management company 19 Entertainment, where she worked on campaigns for David Beckham, Victoria Beckham, Andy Murray and Annie Lennox. She then joined the digital marketing team at RCA UK and implemented campaigns for P!nk, Usher, Chris Brown and Willow Smith. Her in-house label experience paired with her 8 years of management experience resulted in award-winning global digital campaigns.
Sheema is originally from the east coast but lived in London for 11 years and moved to LA two years ago.
Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Jon Kanak began working as a script reader for Silver Pictures in 2007. After working for both Endeavor and then manager Alan Gasmer, he started his management shingle ‘Kanak Management’ in the Spring of 2014 before joining the Activist team.
Kanak’s focus rests primarily on representing writers and directors, especially in the international space, as well as film and TV development and packaging. Alongside Activist, he set up eight feature films in 2018, both at the studio level as well as the independent level. Kanak also represents a number of best-selling authors, including New York Times Best-Selling author Stephen Frey (THE CHAIRMAN), and international best-selling authors Richard Doetsch (THE 13th HOUR) and Patricia Dunn (REBELS BY ACCIDENT).
Additional highlights include writer/director client, Philippe Van Leeuw’s IN SYRIA was named one of Variety’s 10 Best Films of 2018 and writer client, Jay Longino (UNCLE DREW) was lauded as one of Variety’s 10 Screenwriters to Watch in 2018.
Caitlin is based in Activist’s Nashville office. Caitlin began her career as an assistant to Matt Maher in 2010, after graduating from the University of Alabama, and was promoted to manager in 2012. She went on the road full time, for three years, with a three-time GRAMMY-winning, multi-platinum band.
Caitlin has been a day-to-day manager for several of ROAR’s music clients and has also been an asset in helping to grow the music division of the company.
She is an active member of CMA and ACM, and has been a proud ambassador for the Boot Campaign since 2013.
Prior to Activist, Sara Grosdidier began her career Roar, where she started as an assistant over 7 years ago. She has been an instrumental part of the team helping develop, maintain and grow the company’s music roster.
Grosdidier has overseen the success of multiple independent artists at Roar, including Ben Rector’s past 2 album releases and his nationwide headline tours.
Grosdidier studied Music Business at Belmont University and Psychology at University of Kansas. She is originally from Lenexa, KS and is an active member of CMA, AMC, YEP (Young Entertainment Professionals) and St. Jude Music Row Ambassador program.
Prior to Activist, Angie Griffith joined ROAR in July of 2013 as an assistant. Angie now manages various daily operations for clients such as Dwight Yoakam, Nahko and Medicine for The People and King Leg and serves as support for other clients and projects within the Music Department.
She is based in Nashville and graduated Cumme Laude from Belmont University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Music Business.
She is a member of CMA and ACM.
Prior to Activist, Anna Kolander started with Roar as an assistant in October 2013. She currently oversees daily operations for various clients, including Frankie Ballard and Gaelic Storm.
Kolander kickstarted her music career with Milwaukee’s famed Summerfest Music Festival as a college freshman. During her four years with Summerfest, she supported and led new business development, event coordination and volunteer program management. Kolander furthered her sales, marketing and client relations experience as Marketing/Events Coordinator at Gravity Marketing, spearheading new event sales processes, executing networking events and developing new B2B marketing strategies.
While holding these positions at both Summerfest and Gravity, Kolander earned a double-major in Business Management and Business Marketing at Concordia University Wisconsin. She is an active member of ACM, CMA, SOLID and TONS.
An Atlanta native, Kendall graduated Cum Laude from Nashville’s Belmont University in 2014.
Immediately after graduation, he began his career in entertainment as an assistant at The Collective in Nashville, where he was an intern for a year prior to being hired on full-time. While at The Collective, Kendall worked with clients including Clint Black, Sara Evans, among others. He also oversaw all client’s tour marketing and press activities, while aiding all managers, as a coordinator, for three years.
Kendall joined Roar in Beverly Hills in March of 2017. After a year at Roar, Kendall transitioned with the entire music department to ACTIVIST where he currently serves as a coordinator.
Oklahoma native and current Los Angeles resident, Britton Stowell is the Coordinator of Media and Brand Strategy at Activist Artists Management.
He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University, where he earned his BS in Strategic Communications. While attending college, Stowell interned at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Big Machine Label Group in Nashville, TN.
After graduation, he made his way to Los Angeles where he began his career as the assistant to the SVP of Corporate Communications of ICM Partners, one of the leading talent agencies representing Kristin Chenoweth, Ellen DeGeneres, Orlando Bloom, among others.
Prior to Activist, Stowell was an executive assistant to Liz Norris at Roar.