CMA Launches Women’s Leadership Academy

The Country Music Association has announced the launch of its Women’s Leadership Academy. Having kicked off just last week, the inaugural professional development program is an interactive group coaching experience for 12 high-performing, high-potential women leaders within Country Music.

The 16-week program will include an initial one-on-on coaching session to establish individual goals and set success measures, eight educational sessions as a group, and group coaching sessions twice a month throughout the entirety of the program. The program is structured to allow an environment of exchange and trust-building, while still allowing sufficient space for all participants.

“We feel strongly that as our industry’s top trade organization, we need to be thinking critically and intentionally about leadership pathways of all kinds, but especially in support of our talented women leaders,” says Tiffany Kerns, CMA Vice President, Industry Relations & Philanthropy. “We know that women make up half of our talent pipeline. Through conversations we’ve had, especially those throughout the pandemic, we know it’s more complicated for women to reach leadership positions, whether because of double standards, the second shift, or glass ceilings. Even more, as a result of the pandemic, women are now leaving the workforce at much higher rates than men. Our business as a whole is actively focused on creating a more inclusive future, and this program is our first of several professional development initiatives to do just that.”

The inaugural class of CMA’s Women’s Leadership Academy includes:
Callie Cunningham Nobel (Red Light Management)
Stevie Escoto (Girlilla Marketing)
Lauren Funk (Endurance Music Group)
Chrissy Hall (Ryman Hospitality Properties)
Kara Jackson (Spirit Music Publishing)
Meredith Jones (CAA)
Sloane Cavitt Logue (WME)
Amanda Mitchell (Farris, Self & Moore, LLC)
Megan Pekar (Loeb & Loeb LLP)
Jessi Vaughn Stevenson (Warner Chappell Music)
Samantha Thornton (G Major Management)
Kortney Toney (Naxos of America)

The program kicked off last week with a welcome reception hosted at CMA’s Nashville headquarters, where participants echoed their excitement and the industry’s need for a program focused on women’s professional development. Throughout the next 16 weeks, participants will be coached by expert executive coaches, Diane Watson, PCC, and Cory Colton, PCC, BCC, and will receive further insight surrounding increased self-awareness and how to use it strategically, confidence building and communicating effectively, managing inner criticism to unleash further potential, building a personal brand and networking successfully, as well as creating a better work-life integration by setting boundaries. While in its inaugural year, CMA intends for the program to welcome future classes, allowing for the creation of an alumni network to provide ongoing mentorship and community.

About Jerry Holthouse

Music editor for Jerry Holthouse is a content writer, songwriter and a graphic designer. He owns and runs Holthouse Creative, a full service creative agency. He is an avid outdoorsman and a lover of everything music. You can contact him at

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