2017 Speakers

Brian Allen

President, AMPLUS Productions


A veteran of the business, Brian Allen was a member of and principal songwriter for the band Toronto in the 80’s, logging four platinum albums. He was co-writer of the Top 10 worldwide hit for Heart, “What About Love.” Brian currently heads Amplus Productions and is actively producing, writing, recording and consulting. Recent productions include Marshall Dane, Robert Michaels and Larry Berrio

Sam Arraj

Seeds & Company


Sam Arraj is a CPA, CA at “Seeds & Company”, an accounting practice that serves a broad rage of sectors, with a specific focus on music and entertainment through their “Rock N Revenue” brand. The former President of the CMAOntario and an on-going music fan believes in giving back to the community, which is why he has served on the CMAO board since 2011. In addition, Sam publishes a blog focused on the music industry called Music Biz Finance www.musicbizfinance.com

Amy Aust

KICX FM


After graduating from the Radio Broadcasting program at Humber College in 2003, Amy began her career at 104.1 KICX FM in Midland Ontario. Here she quickly discovered her love of country music and in 2005, she moved into the afternoon drive position. When 104.1 KICX FM moved to Orillia, Amy shifted to the midday show on the newly branded KICX 106 where you can hear her Monday through Friday from 10am-3pm.

Heidi Baiden

Program Director, BX93/Virgin Radio


With stops along the 401 in Windsor, London and Kitchener-Waterloo -- as a Program Director, Promotions Director, Announcer, Producer and Account Executive -- Heidi Baiden is proud to be the Program Director for Today’s Country BX93 and 97.5 Virgin Radio in London, Ontario.

Jason Barry

Producer/Musician


Jason has established an impressive list of credits producing & engineering many of Canada’s top artists and was recently entered into the CCMA Hall of Honour for winning Guitar Player of the Year an impressive 5 times. Song writing credits boast a list of top tens in country music, including "Another Mans Gold" with Dean Brody. Well known for his efforts to help new artists break into the country music industry, Jason Barry is a 3-time CMAOntario producer of the year winner.

Amber Bell

Manager, National Promotions, RGK Entertainment


Amber has worked in the music industry for over 10 years, & prior to her position with Open Road Recordings & RGK Entertainment she was the Promotions Manager at Dale Speaking. Through her radio promotion expertise, Amber assisted in launching the radio careers of Canadian Country artists Chad Brownlee, Bobby Wills and Jess Moskaluke. She also played a key role in the radio success of numerous other acts including The Sheepdogs, Jimmy Rankin, Alexisonfire, City and Colour, Rival Sons, and more.

Maura Broadhurst

Cross-Sectoral Associate Officer, Ontario Arts Council


Maura is the Cross-Sectoral Associate Officer at the Ontario Arts Council managing the Arts Service Organizations programs in addition to other programs. Prior to this position she was the Arts Investment Fund Officer at the Ontario Arts Council from 2011 to 2013. She received her Bachelor’s from the University of Waterloo with a major in Art History and a specialization in Arts Administration. She then continued her studies at Concordia University where she received her Master’s of Arts.

Gavin Brown

Producer/Musician/Songwriter


Gavin Brown is a songwriter, musician, and a Juno award-winning and Grammy-nominated producer. He’s worked with world-class artists incl. Lady Gaga, Metric, Billy Talent, Barenaked Ladies & The Tragically Hip. Gavin’s work has been recognized globally with 35 Gold Albums; 31 Platinum Albums; 24 Top 10 albums; two #1 albums; 41 top-ten singles & 14 #1 singles. He is currently expanding his artist management & development company helping emerging artists launch their careers on a global scale

Dara Conrod

Artist Coordinator


After graduating from Acadia University, Dara moved to Nashville TN to continue her studies, taking the Music Business program at Belmont University. It was at that time that she also began interning with RGK Entertainment in their Nashville office. She returned to Nova Scotia to work with Jimmy Rankin and The Rankin Family on the management side. In September 2015, Dara joined the RGK team full-time working on the administrative side, as well as taking lead on grant funding initiatives.

Patricia Conroy

Artist/Songwriter


Throughout her musical career, songwriting has been an integral a part of Patricia's success writing many of the tracks from her debut album Blue Angel. Crafting hits like Keep Me Rockin, Bad Day for Trains & I Don’t Wanna Be the One. Lately Patricia has been writing with many of Canada's brightest country stars like Meghan Patrick, River Town Saints, Michelle Wright, Emerson Drive, Chad Brownlee, Jessica Mitchell, Aaron Pritchett, Bobby Wills and Tebey.

Scott Cooke

Producer/Mixer


Scott Cooke is a Producer and Mixer from Vancouver BC, he’s produced/mixed such acts as Chase Rice, Cold Creek County, Aaron Pritchett, Petric, Chad Brownlee, Kira Isabella and Mixed for Dallas Smith, Jess Moskaluke, Jojo Mason, James Barker Band, River Town Saints and many more. Scott also played bass on Florida Georgia Lines “Cruise” and works on FGL’s, Jake Owen’s and Chris Lane’s records along side Joey Moi and has been part of that production team for the past 12 years.

Holly Cybulski

President, HC Consulting


From red carpets at film festivals to publicity campaigns for Grammy and JUNO Award nominees, Holly Cybulski’s professional portfolio is vast. Her motto is simple, “say what you mean, and mean what you say”. Balancing her time between Europe and North America, she is the owner of communications consultancy HC Consulting, and is a Professor at Seneca College (York University campus). In addition, she holds a Masters of Strategic Communication from UCLAN in England.

Mike Denney

President, MDM Recordings


Mike Denney, President of Toronto-based MDM Recordings Inc. believes in his artists & is prepared to invest whatever it takes, as long as it takes. He is a proud member of the CCMA, Board of Directors as well as the 2014 & 2015 CCMA Record Person of the Year. Denney is a man with a smile and a vision, acknowledged as a fervent champion of the Canadian music industry. Denney's infectious enthusiasm manifests through his work ethic, a driving force behind the MDM team.

Cathie Faint

President, Catherine Faint Entertainment


With more than 40 years in the music industry and creating Catherine Faint Entertainment in 1994, Catherine and her team have been working as talent buyers, border service consultants and providing stage labour services. Cathie’s current involvement with CCMA & present role on the CMAOntario Board of Directors affords her the opportunity to continue giving back to the community that supported & empowered her throughout her career.

Sarah Falzon

Associate, Taylor Oballa Murray Leyland LLP


Sarah Falzon is an Associate with Taylor Oballa Murray Leyland LLP. Prior to joining the firm, Sarah was an associate at a full service firm in Toronto, followed by a Toronto-based music law firm. Sarah is a graduate of McMaster University (Hons. B.Sc. in Mathematics & Statistics) & Osgoode Hall Law School (J.D.). Sarah has worked as part of the business affairs group of an independent production company, with a Canadian record label, and is an active violinist.

Jennifer Goheen

Havelock Country Jamboree


Jennifer has over 20 years of Marketing & Brand Management experience. She has contributed to both sides of the music industry, first, by working with young artists on the development side of the business and currently on the venue/booking side. She has spent the past 8 Years, as the Producer/Director of Marketing at one of Canada's largest country music festivals The Havelock Country Jamboree. One of her key responsibilities is Talent Buyer for the events they hold on the grounds.

Bruce Good

Artist, The Good Brothers/President CMAOntario


As member of the Canadian iconic band The Good Brothers, Bruce received several gold records; garnered 8 Junos & Big Country awards for best country group; he received a CCMA award for instrumentalist of the year (autoharp) and in 2004 The Good Brothers were inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. Bruce has been on the balloting committee for the CCMA for the past four years and is currently the President of CMAOntario.

Gil Grand

Artist/Songwriter


After signing a music publishing deal with TMP, Gil made the move to Nashville where he secured cuts for two recording artists – Jerry Kilgore & Tracy Byrd. His songwriting skills & vocal talent landed him a major U.S. record deal with Sony Music Nashville’s Monument Records. Eventually making the transition to the business side of the industry, Gil owns publishing company, a song plugging company & his newest venture, Grand Artist Services, a consultation and artist development company.

Emm Gryner

Artist/Producer


Emm is pop/rock singer-songwriter, actor and producer and has been nominated for 3 Juno Awards. Emm is a member of the CFMA-nominated roots trio Trent Severn. In 2013, Emm’s co-production with Commander Chris Hadfield saw the astronaut record “Space Oddity” on board the International Space Station. The song & video were viewed over 25 million times. David Bowie himself called the song “the most poignant version ever recorded”.

Brian Hetherman

Manager, MusicOntario/President Curve Music


Brian began at one of Canada’s premier Indie record labels, Duke Street Records. From there, his path took him to MCA Records before setting up one of the largest funding agencies in Canada, Radio Starkmaker Fund. Pursuing his dream of becoming an artist manager, label owner & music publisher, he founded Curve Music & Cerberus Artist Management. He has served a number of associations including Music Managers Forum Canada, International Music Managers Forum, CCMA, MROC & FACTOR & CMAOntario.

Kate Howse

Artist Manager


Kate started out producing television programming for CBC & CMT Canada, but moved to artist management after moving to Nashville. There she assisted the careers of several artists on both sides of the border, including Victoria Banks. Kate also spent several years working with the artist development & publishing teams at Nashville’s RareSpark Media Group. Kate joined the RGK Entertainment team as artist manager for Madeline Merlo, River Town Saints, Jessica Mitchell & the Hunter Brothers in 2016.

Kathryn Hummel

A&R/Marketing & Promotions, Royalty Records


Kathryn has extensive experience working in and behind the scenes of artist-related companies such as Canadian Music Week, Indie Week & FACTOR. For more than a decade heading Hummel Entertainment, Kathryn has provided services for both artists & events; she has had a hand in shaping a number of artists careers, including award winning artists Hey Romeo & Tenille. In late 2015, Hummel joined forces with Royalty Records, a full-service record label distributed through Sony Music Canada.

Lindsay Hyslop

Manager, Marketing & Digital, RGK Entertainment


Lindsay spent her first five years in the industry at Universal Music Canada where she ran the social media accounts for their brands & domestic artists including Hedley, Jann Arden, Canadian Tenors. While there, she developed the country music brand, Country Voice. For the past year & a half she has worked for RGK as their Digital Marketing & Social Media Manager. She helps run the country music media site, Top Country.ca, which attracts over 50k monthly visitors.

Andrew Karis

ACTRA Recording Artists’ Collecting Society


After spending some years playing music, Andrew decided that he'd do everyone's ears a favour & work for musicians instead of as one. Since then, he’s done stints in music supervision, promotion, & currently works with copyright-based royalties for recording artists (a.k.a. neighbouring rights royalties) at the Canadian Federation of Musicians. Over the past five years, he’s been trying to convince recording artists that, like songwriters, they too can collect royalties for getting airplay.

Steve Kassay

Vice President Programming, Durham Radio


After chasing the rock star dream, Steve moved from playing music to playing records. His career has taken him to various broadcast companies throughout Southern Ontario, on nationally syndicated live shows, in production, programming, on-air, MD & PD capacities. Now VP of Programming for Durham Radio, Steve manages operations for KX-96, KX-947, 94.9 The Rock, CKDO and wave.fm. In every format, the common denominators are a passion for radio, music & the performers who make it all happen.

Ron Kitchener

President, RGK Entertainment Group


An entrepreneur & innovator, Ron embraces the future of today’s business. In 1992, Kitchener established RGK Entertainment Group & that umbrellas Open Road Recordings; Roots Three Music & Rogue Eleven; DART events, a touring events company; TopCountry.ca; & RGK One Shot Productions, a television development company. In 2008, 2009 & 2011, Kitchener was named CCMA Record Company Person of the Year & honoured for an unprecedented 13 consecutive years as Manager of the Year at the CCMAs (2002-2014).

Amanda Kingsland

National Music Director, Country Brand PD, Country 101.1


Amanda has spent close to 12 years working with Rogers Radio Ottawa, in various positions from remote tech to promo coordinator, to MD & PD. Last year Amanda lead the charge in making the Country brand the first Rogers Radio brand to operate as a music network (that’s 7 stations across 3 time zones on 1 music network) & she won the CCMA MD of the Year (Large Market). Amanda is now the National MD for the Rogers Country Brand while remaining the PD Country 101.1.

Pat Leyland

Partner, Taylor Oballa Murray Leyland


Pat began his career in the music industry as a guitarist and co-writer in a rock band that ultimately signed with Arista Records. Later, Pat graduated summa cum laude from McMaster University and completed law school at University of Toronto. Pat is now a partner at the entertainment and media law firm Taylor Oballa Murray Leyland LLP. He practices in the areas of intellectual property and corporate/commercial law, focusing on contracts in relation to the music industry.

Martin MacPhail

Sr. Marketing Manager, Wax Records


Martin MacPhail is the Senior Marketing Manager for Wax Records (Autumn Hill, Virginia To Vegas, Alee, Andrew Hyatt), and a Juno Award Nominated artist. Following years of touring Canada and building a career as an independent musician, he inked a record deal with Wax/Universal music in 2010 and shortly after was brought on to oversee the marketing and development of their full talent roster.

Charlie Major

Artist


He’s more Mellencamp than Merle but country music is where Charlie Major finds his home. Rising to the forefront of the Canadian Music scene in the early nineties, Charlie had become the first Canadian artist in history to score 6 BDS #1 hits off his debut album. Nine more chart topping hits would follow, earning Charlie 3 Junos & 7 CCMAs but you wouldn’t know it to meet him. He wears the cloak of humility, just like the hardworking folks that he represents in his music.

Allan Mamaril

Managing Partner, M88 Entertainment Group


Allan Mamaril is currently a Managing Partner at the M88 Entertainment Group. An industry veteran of more than 20+ years, Allan’s expertise weaves established business models with progressive digital start-up practices, and applies them to the changing music industry landscape. This dynamic approach results in ‘forward-thinking’ consultancy that focuses on business development, strategic planning, branding, marketing and product distribution, for music artists and their management teams.

Demetri Manuel

Trackside Music Festival


Demetri is a co-founder and partner of two major music festivals (Trackside Music Festival, BlockParty London). As a talent buyer at London Music Hall, Demetri handles over 100 concerts a year, working with a variety of artists.

Andrea Morris

AM to FM Promotions


Andrea Morris started as a radio personality in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Her radio career included stops in Manchester, England and Cleveland, Ohio. After a stint at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she worked in radio promotions at IRS Records, Discovery and Sire Records before moving to Canada. In 2004, Andrea decided to put her knowledge and contacts to work for herself and launched AM to FM Promotions, a full service, independent radio promotions company

Mary Murrill

Digital Marketing Coordinator, RGK Entertainment Group


As RGK Entertainment Group’s Digital Marketing Coordinator, Mary elevates the social media accounts of RGK’s award-winning roster. In addition, she creates & promotes content for TopCountry.ca, a leading influencer in the Canadian Country Music Industry. Mary graduated from Western University with a Bachelor of Musical Arts, and from Harris Institute's Artist Management Program as the class valedictorian and recipient of the prestigious, MusiCounts Fred Sherratt Award.

Samantha Pickard

President, Strut Entertainment


A 27-year industry veteran, Samantha has executed hundreds of PR campaigns including the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Kristian Bush, Dean Brody, Dolly Parton, Jason Blaine, MusiCounts & a number of music & film companies. Founded in 2006, Strut Entertainment has become one of Canada’s premier, boutique PR & event activation firms, boasting a diverse array of clients from country, rock & pop acts, to lifestyle brands, actors & celebrity tastemakers including Dita Von Teese and Perez Hilton.

Stefanie Purificati

Agent, United Talent Agency


Stefanie Purificati has been at United Talent Agency (formerly The Agency Group) since 2008. She started as the executive assistant to the Senior Vice President and was promoted to Agent in 2012. Her current roster includes notable headline talent such as Sam Roberts Band, Bruce Cockburn, Alan Doyle and Paul Brandt. She is also overseeing the developing careers of artists such as Jess Moskaluke, Cold Creek County and Repartee.

Erin Richards

Publicist, Hype PR


Erin Richards, founder of Hype PR, is one of Toronto’s best known media relations specialists whose network of media contacts spans the nation. After many years in-house at CBC, she branched out on her own and currently works with a wide range of clients; consulting with agencies, local startups, large brands, as well as directly with musicians, athletes and personalities looking to build a personal brand.

Andreas Rizek

A&R Coordinator, SOCAN


An alumni of Fanshawe College’s “Music Industry Arts” program, Andreas is part of SOCAN’s A&R team. With years of experience in publishing, marketing, and distribution, as well as royalty administration, Rizek is able to connect the dots between the creation of the song to putting out records. In his spare time, he manages a successful electronic label called No.19 Music and is a producer and DJ.

Deric Ruttan

Artist/Songwriter


Raised just outside Bracebridge Ontario, Deric Ruttan is a Grammy-nominated songwriter with 4 US Billboard #1 country songs and 2 CCMA Awards to his credit. More than 60 of his songs have been recorded by other artists, including Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Tim McGraw & Dierks Bentley. Deric has headlined 4 of his own national tours in Canada; had 11 Top 10 singles as an artist & 2 #1 videos on CMT. Ruttan has a new EP coming soon on his own independent label, Black T Records.

Tracey Singer

Sr. Director Label Services, ole/Manager, Meghan Patrick


Tracey is Sr. Director of Label Services for ole which includes Anthem Entertainment Grp, Anthem Legacy & ole’s own artist development label, red dot. Tracey comes from her own artist management company, K Music Management, which has managed numerous artists over the past 20 years, including Meghan Patrick, a 2016 CCMA nominee for Songwriter of the Year recently signed to ole. A former recording artist herself, Tracey has well-rounded insight into all aspects of artist development & management.

Ashley Sperling

Manager, Events & Programs, MusiCounts


Now the Manager, Events & Programs for MusiCounts, Canada’s music education charity Ashley was previously the Marketing Manager at Cadence Music Group, & also led content and partnerships for BlackBerry’s music & video storefronts. Additionally, she has experience as a digital marketing manager at an artist management company and Universal Music Canada. Ashley has worked with artists including Hedley, The Bros. Landreth, Justin Bieber, Drake, and more. Follow her on Twitter @ashsperls.

Geoff Stairs

Project Coordinator, FACTOR


Geoff has been a Project Coordinator at FACTOR since 2016, where he acts as a direct liaison and resource to artists and music companies that are interested in public funding for their project. With a background in artist management and grant writing, he’s pleased to be able to help Canadian artists achieve their goals.

Gary Taylor

Music Director, BX93


Gary was born and raised on radio in Hamilton Ontario but has made London home for the past 19 years and Assistant Program Director, Music Director and Afternoon Host for BX93 since 2012.

David Thomson

Songwriter/Producer


David ‘Dwave’ Thomson is a producer/songwriter who grew up in Niagara Falls, ON. As a former member of the pop group Wave, David currently lives in Nashville TN where he writes and produces for artists like Lady Antebellum, Autumn Hill, River Town Saints, Jason Benoit, Virginia To Vegas, LIGHTS and many more!

KT Timmermans

Owner, Country 103, Great Lakes Country


KT is the owner & morning co-host of Country 103, Great Lakes Country, a station proudly supporting 60% Canadian content. In 2007 we started Manitoulin Country Fest where more than 114 artists have played the MCF stage. This year will feature 15 incredible talents including Corb Lund, Michelle Wright, Crystal Shawanda, Joe Nichols and Dwight Yoakum. KT served on the board of the CCMA for 6 years (2009-2014) and is a proud member of the CMAOntario.