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 and currently oversees the careers of artists such as Bob Weir, Dead & Company, Grateful Dead, GRAMMY Award winner Dwight Yoakam, Empire of the Sun, The Lumineers, Frankie Ballard, and Michael Franti & Spearhead. Cahill, along with Dead & Company’s co-manager Azoff/Moir, has overseen the rise of Dead & Company into a record-breaking stadium act with headlining performances at Folsom Field, Autzen Stadium, Citi Field, Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium. Additionally, the band broke Wrigley Field’s all-time attendance record. Over the last 5 years, Dead & Company tours have consistently ranked in the top 25 of the Top 100 Worldwide Tours according to Pollstar. Dead & Company finished their most recent Summer Tour atop Billboard’s mid-year Top Boxscores chart, Current Boxscore chart and Hot Tours tally. In addition, The Lumineers’ III: The World Tour ranked in the Top 10 North American Tours according to Pollstar. More importantly, through a series of partnerships spearheaded by Activist, The Lumineers successfully offset 150% of their carbon footprint for the tour, including fan travel. The tour was deemed “climate positive” by Reverb.
Cahill runs the Activist talent department and leads a team that manages iconic actors including Oscar and Tony nominated Ken Watanabe (Last Samurai, Inception, Godzilla, King and I on Broadway) and 3x Tony nominated David Alan Grier (Carmichael Show, Cool Kids, Race, Soldiers Play). 2020 finds Watanabe filming Tokyo Vice for HBO Max in which he plays the lead in the dramatic tentpole series directed by Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider, Collateral). Grier is currently set to star opposite Jamie Foxx in the Netflix Original Series Dad, Stop Embarrassing Me.
Activist has a very active Film and TV production slate that Cahill oversees, including 6 producing projects in 2020 that have been set up at major studios and networks including FX, Endeavor Content, WME/HBOmax, and Universal Content Partners.
Cahill advises Tony Khan on All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and was instrumental in securing 400 hours of prime-time programming for AEW on TNT running through 2024. In addition, Cahill advises all non-sports related programming for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Daily’s Place and Fulham FC’s Craven Cottage.
In early 2020, Cahill oversaw the creation of the Activist Foundation and the Activist Artists Fellowship, which he Co-Chairs with Greg Suess and Caitlin Stone. The foundation and fellowship were founded on the idea of “open source activism” to encourage collaboration, create a forum for sharing best practices and to provide resources for activists in their own communities and around the world. Nasreen Sheikh is the first-ever Activist Fellow. A former child laborer who escaped the sweat shops of Kathmandu, Nasreen is giving a voice to marginalized women around the world.
Cahill co-chairs the USO Entertainment Advisory Board and is actively involved in numerous philanthropic causes. He serves as a board member of the Black News Channel and has served on the board of the non-profit InsideOUT Writers organization. He is currently an elected 2020-21 Governor serving the LA Chapter of The Recording Academy. He previously served as an elected Advisor on the LA Chapter Board of the Recording Academy Governance.
Prior to Activist, Cahill co-founded Roar Management where he established and ran its music division. While at Roar, Cahill and Maher led the department that managed three-time GRAMMY Award winner Zac Brown Band. During their decade together, ZBB grew into a stadium act with dozens of sold out stadium shows, including attendance records at Fenway Park and 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.
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, 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 a Founding Partner of Activist Artists Management, head of the Activist Nashville office and oversees clients such as The Lumineers, Dwight Yoakam, Bob Weir, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Frankie Ballard and Felicity.
Since 2013, Maher has helped propel the career of multiple GRAMMY Award winner and Americana Artist of the Year, Dwight Yoakam. The country icon was honored in 2019 with both the prestigious BMI President’s Award and an induction into the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame as the sole artist-songwriter in his class. In 2018, Maher and Cahill negotiated the full-time SiriusXM artist channel, Dwight Yoakam and the Bakersfield Beat, now in its third year of existence. Maher also secured Yoakam’s inaugural and ongoing residency at Wynn Las Vegas, a special production that showcases themes from the Bakersfield Beat artist curated SiriusXM channel, exploring the development and influence of California Country music from its Dust Bowl genesis to the modern era.
Maher helped lead the charge on the release of The Lumineers’ 2019 album III, a record that topped album sales charts and spawned #1 singles at both the AAA and Alternative radio formats. In conjunction with III, the critically acclaimed band also headlined premiere festivals in the US and internationally, and The Lumineers’ III: The World Tour ranked in the Top 10 North American Tours according to Pollstar. In 2020, Maher also helped architect the Work Hard and Be Nice album and radio campaign for Michael Franti & Spearhead, debuting at #1 on iTunes Top Albums (Singer/Songwriter – US) and Franti’s first #1 single at AAA radio since 2010. Maher was also instrumental in securing a support slot for Franti on Kenny Chesney’s upcoming 2021 stadium and amphitheater tour. At Activist, Maher has also negotiated multi-million-dollar master and publishing catalog sales for Activist artists.
Maher is a member of the Governor’s Board of the Nashville Chapter of NARAS and sits on the advisory council of the T.J. Martell Foundation hosting the annual “Bad Ass of the Year” event. Maher is an active member of NARAS, AMA, CMA, ACM, BMI and has been listed as one of Billboard’s annual Nashville Country Power Players. He has called Nashville home for 25+ years.
Prior to Activist, Maher was a partner at Roar Management where he helped launch the music division and ran the Nashville office. While at Roar, Maher helped lead the department that managed three-time GRAMMY Award winner Zac Brown Band. During their decade together, ZBB grew into a stadium act with dozens of sold out stadiums shows, including attendance records at Fenway Park and Coors Field, and seventeen #1 singles at multiple radio formats. At Roar, Maher also oversaw the career of Ben Rector, growing his fanbase and assisting the 100% independent artist to achieve multiple #1 singer-songwriter releases, hit singles at Hot AC radio, and perennial sold-out tours of large theaters and boutique amphitheaters. Prior to working in management, Maher was a singer-songwriter in a rock band signed to Capitol Records LA and EMI Publishing.
Liz Norris is a Partner at Activist Artists Management. As head of the New York office and the Media and Brand Strategy Department, she has been instrumental in advancing and sustaining the careers of Dead & Company, (co-managed with Irving Azoff/Steve Moir), Grateful Dead, Bob Weir, The Lumineers, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Dwight Yoakam, Empire Of The Sun, and Frankie Ballard.
Norris leads promotional opportunities to heighten brand awareness around award campaigns, album releases, book releases, tours, film premieres and product launches. Additionally, Norris has been instrumental in navigating the Tony Award campaigns for David Alan Grier who recently co-starred on Broadway in A Soldier’s Play.
Norris was previously with Roar for fifteen years where she established the company’s New York presence. She 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 prestigious honors for clients. She was part of the team that managed three-time GRAMMY Award winner Zac Brown Band. During their decade together, Zac Brown Band grew into a stadium act with dozens of sold out stadiums shows, including attendance records at Fenway Park and Coors Field, and seventeen #1 singles at multiple radio formats.
Norris helped lead Activist’s efforts to raise funds for numerous charitable organizations and has curated all of the New York office’s philanthropy days of service. In 2019 and 2020, Norris oversaw the allocation of $76,700+ and $48,600+, respectively, to WhyHunger in Mexico as part of Dead & Company’s Playing In The Sand. The funds were distributed by WhyHunger to local farms, charities and civic organizations throughout Mexico. Norris serves on the board of WhyHunger, has been an active supporter of the Robin Hood Foundation and led the company team at the NYC Marathon in 2017. Prior to Activist and Roar, Norris operated her own music management company based in Nashville. She graduated from James Madison University and is an active member of NARAS, ACM, AMA, and CMA.
Based in Activist’s Nashville office, Caitlin began her career as an assistant to Activist Partner Matt Maher in 2010, was promoted to manager in 2012, and is the company’s longest-standing employee. She has been an asset in developing the music division of the company and has taken on additional roles in overseeing the newly curated Activism Department, the Activist Fellowship Program, and is a co-chair for the Activist Foundation.
Stone’s current day-to-day client list includes the acclaimed musician and humanitarian, Michael Franti (Michael Franti & Spearhead) and Nasreen Sheikh, an undocumented child slave labor survivor and women’s empowerment leader from Kathmandu, Nepal.
This summer, Caitlin spearheaded the album campaign for Michael Franti & Spearhead’s latest body of work, Work Hard And Be Nice, which debuted at #1 on iTunes Top Albums (Singer/Songwriter – US). She also played a large role in the radio campaign for Franti’s first #1 single at AAA radio since 2010 for “I Got You”.
While Nasreen has been on lockdown in Nepal due to Covid-19, Caitlin and the Activism Department have supported a number of crucial initiatives including raising thousands of dollars in emergency relief that provided over 350,000 meals to those who were starving in the remote village in Nepal where Nasreen was quarantined for 5 months. Caitlin also was instrumental in helping Sheikh launch her latest worldwide initiative, the 1 MILLION MASK INITIATIVE.
Stone is proud to have spent the earlier days of her career on the management team for the three-time GRAMMY award-winning Zac Brown Band, which she worked alongside for seven years, spending over three years touring on the road with the group full time.
Caitlin is a certified health and life coach, a very proud graduate of the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) and is a devout believer and volunteer at her church, The Hills Nashville. She is a lead event manager for The Onsite Foundation’s latest fundraising campaign: Triumph over Tragedy, a one-of-its-kind healing retreat for mass shooting survivors, which she felt compelled to commit her time to after working firsthand with survivors and their families in Michael Franti’s video, “The Flower,” which landed at #1. Caitlin launched a blessing initiative in 2017 that supports the homeless community in Nashville throughout the year with home-cooked meals, blankets, basic supplies, toiletries, and more.
Tanner launched the Ticketing, Commerce and Sustainability Department for Activist to optimize client’s ancillary revenue streams via her specialized areas of expertise including ticketing, merchandise, sponsorship activation, fan clubs and VIP programs. She is also an authority on all aspects of producing and executing special events and festivals. Additionally, Tanner works closely with all Activist clients to neutralize the carbon emissions for tours, management offices and travel while amplifying Activist’s ongoing environmental commitment. She is on the advisory board for REVERB, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to greening tours and engaging concert fans to take action on environmental and social issues.
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.
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.
Johnny Alamo is Sr. Director of Partnerships & Sponsorships and opened Activist’s Boulder, CO office – a city with a booming music scene and concert touring business.
Johnny has dabbled in sports, film, and entertainment for the past 22 years, and has fostered close relationships with brand executives, experiential agencies and media agencies across the country. He builds out strategy and brand partnerships for our roster of artists.
Prior to Activist, Johnny was operating his firm Johnny Alamo Entertainment where he managed Olympic athletes and developed partnerships for Superfly’s Music Festivals, World Ski Championships, The Rise of Superman and X Games. He was also previously the Executive Director of Warren Miller Entertainment, overseeing partnerships & strategic alliances and co-produced 13 feature films that were distributed via U.S. and International Theatrical Tour. Most notably, Johnny forged a partnership with former Vice President Al Gore’s organization, The Climate Reality Project, which created a platform for the winter sports community to advocate around the I AM PRO SNOW campaign.
Johnny is a passionate guy who loves concerts, music festivals, filmmaking, skiing, mountain biking, cooking and goofing around with his two sons Jackson and Jayden (a.k.a. the J-club). Although the real chef in the family that keeps the household running is his awesome wife Nicole.
Veteran music manager Lindsay Brandt serves as Senior Director of Creative & Digital, focusing on overall brand strategy through art direction, content development, creative marketing and fan engagement.
Previously, Brandt cut her teeth at Mick Management, overseeing digital strategy for artists like John Mayer and Ray LaMontagne before signing and launching the career of then indie-pop band WALK THE MOON. Following the success of the band’s #1 Alternative Radio hit “Anna Sun”, she assumed A&R responsibility for 2015’s Talking is Hard, including multi-platinum single “Shut Up and Dance”. During her seven year tenure at the company she also led marketing initiatives for indie and alternative acts like The Walkmen, Sharon Van Etten, Deer Tick and White Denim. Brandt then joined C3 Presents’ management division in 2014 where she looked after rock projects Delta Spirit and J. Roddy Walston and The Business before signing the Grammy nominated genre-bending band, MUTEMATH. In 2015, she built Wojtek Records, their artist-owned independent label and guided the release of four full length albums, including 2015’s Vitals which sold more than 10K copies first week.
Following the band’s split in 2017, she navigated co-founders Paul Meany and Darren King towards careers as producers and songwriters, leading them to collaborate with acts like Kanye West, twenty one pilots, Travis Scott and more.
Brandt grew up on eastern Long Island, attended Hofstra University where she studied studio Audio Production and Music, and recently relocated from New York to Los Angeles to spend more time in nature, surfing, hiking and camping.
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.
Mark Caplan advises clients on developing and broadening IP strategy with a focus on licensing and brand building in a wide variety of consumer product segments.
Before founding his own entertainment and licensing consultancy, Mark was Senior Vice President, Consumer Products at Sony Pictures. In this role, he oversaw global licensing initiatives and activities on behalf of the studio. He was involved with a wide variety of film and television properties including the Spider-Man movie franchise, Ghostbusters, Men in Black, Bond, The Smurfs, Breaking Bad, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and many more. Mark has worked with such partners as Marvel Entertainment, Overbrook Entertainment, Cartoon Network, Tencent, Amazon, Activision, Electronic Arts, Hasbro, Mattel, Walmart, and Target in all types of content development & distribution, and consumer product lines of business.
He has a demonstrated track record of creating and growing new businesses and deep experience in a combination of business/corporate development, licensing and brand building with a focus on the media, entertainment and consumer segments.
Mark is a native of Los Angeles where he lives with his wife and two daughters.
Toby Benson is an artist manager and event creative director with over a decade of experience, specializing in electronic music.
Before founding his own management 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 conceptualized 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 largest EDM festivals in China. Through VAC, Toby has built strong relationships between the US and China’s growing dance music industry by collaborating with domestic Chinese partners to bring some of the world’s most sought-after artists, such as Martin Garrix, DJ Snake and Marshmello to untapped regions of the country. He’ll be overseeing the expansion of VAC to additional cities in China in the coming months.
Toby has been interviewed by NPR, Billboard, Forbes, Vice, Time Out and spoken at ASCAP Music Expo, Winter Music Conference, ADE and EMC Australia.
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.
Anna Kolander oversees daily operations for The Lumineers and Frankie Ballard, and leads ACTIVIST’s Nashville writer/publisher relations. Since joining the company in 2013, she has assisted with creative for clients including Michael Franti, Luke Steele (Empire of the Sun), Felicity, and more.
Kolander began her music career working with Milwaukee’s famed Summerfest Music Festival as a college freshman. During her four years with Summerfest, she supported and later led new business development, event coordination and volunteer program management. Kolander further developed her sales, marketing and client relations abilities at Gravity Marketing where she led new event sales processes, executed networking events and created new B2B marketing strategies.
While working with Summerfest and Gravity, Kolander earned a double-major in Business Management and Business Marketing at Concordia University Wisconsin. She is an active member of NARAS, ACM, CMA, SOLID and TONS.
Based in Nashville, Angie manages daily operations for clients within the Music Department and oversees the development of Activist’s Podcast Department. Since joining the company in 2013, Angie has worked in tandem with the Activist partners in managing Dwight Yoakam, with an added concentration on touring operations for a variety of clients across the roster. In the podcasting space, Angie spearheaded the independent launch of Michael Franti’s ‘Stay Human’ podcast, which landed at #1 on the Apple Podcasts Music chart. She co-manages a developing podcast in network partnership for All Elite Wrestling. Angie continues to explore podcasting opportunities in the form of consulting, development of new independent podcasts or docuseries and identifying compatible partnerships for talent.
Following graduation from Belmont University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Music Business in 2010 and prior to beginning her career in management in 2013, she acquired industry experience in various capacities, including touring, publishing, licensing, and performing rights.
She is a member of CMA, ACM, and the Recording Academy.
Nathan Chwat is an Artist Manager at Activist Artists Management.
Originally from Paris, Nathan moved to Los Angeles in 2005, where he currently lives. He is a graduate of New York University, with majors in Entrepreneurship in the Music Industry, and Philosophy. During his time in NYC, Nathan interned at various music management companies such as Vector and Complete Control, and organized events for up-and-coming artists.
Prior to Activist, Nathan was an assistant to the Head of Marketing at Roar.
Kate Willingham is an Associate Manager at Activist Artists Management.
Originally from North Carolina, Kate moved to Nashville in 2017, where she currently lives. She is a graduate of College of Charleston, where she earned her BA in Arts Management with a concentration in Music Business. While attending college, she interned at various Live Nation music venues in the Carolinas and at Big Deal Music Group in Nashville, TN.
Upon graduating, she worked as a temp for Big Deal Music Group before starting at Roar as the assistant to partner Matt Maher in 2018.
Nelson is responsible for sourcing and evaluating investment opportunities, as well as working with existing portfolio companies at the intersection of media, entertainment, and technology. In addition, Nelson serves as an associate in Activist’s new Green Fund, an early-stage venture capital fund focused on the Cannabis Industry. Nelson also advises Activist clients in strategic capital, strategic partnerships, talent deals, and business development.
Prior to joining Activist, Nelson was a Venture Associate at Avant Global, a boutique Venture Capital firm based in Santa Barbara, California. In that role, Nelson was responsible for the complete life-cycle of various business and investment opportunities, from ideation to liquidity.
Nelson is also the fourth generation in his family’s business in Brazil. As such, he is actively involved with his father’s organization, FBFE (Family Business Forum of Brazil), a multimedia platform that connects thousands of members of family businesses across Brazil.
Nelson graduated with Honors from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Sociology and a Minor in Music. Nelson believes business is an efficient means for enacting positive change; at the age of thirteen, he founded a thrift store with the help of his family and donated all the proceeds to help children with Autism.
Vineetha Ramesh is an Associate Manager in Activist’s Digital Department. Vineetha develops marketing strategies based on digital analysis and audience reactions that ensure the creative development and commercial success for multiple artists across the roster including, Dead & Company, The Lumineers, Empire of the Sun, and more.
Ramesh graduated from California State University Chico with a B.A. in Music Industry Studies and Minor in Public Relations. Vineetha worked as a digital marketing consultant for various electronic artists before joining the team at Activist. During her time in college, she interned at a number of music companies ranging from Live Events to Publicity.