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 Bob Weir, Clare Bowen, Dead & Company*, multiple GRAMMY Award winner Dwight Yoakam, Empire of the Sun, Frankie Ballard, Grateful Dead, The Lumineers, 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. 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.
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 serves as a board member of Genius Brands International, Inc. (Nasdaq) and has served on the board of the non-profit InsideOUT Writers organization. Bernie is also an appointed Advisor on the LA Chapter Board of the Recording Academy Governance.
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.
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 is excited to take on an additional role in overseeing the newly curated Activism Department. Stone’s current day-to-day client list includes the acclaimed musician and humanitarian, Michael Franti (Michael Franti & Spearhead), actress, singer and songwriter Clare Bowen, and Nasreen Sheikh, an undocumented child slave labor survivor and women’s empowerment leader. 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 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.
An activist for many things in her own right, Caitlin looks forward to bringing her passion for peace, equality, and unity to Activist’s newest endeavor while continuing to manage artists who are creating positive change.
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.
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.
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 Associate 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.