THE BANDMATES

Music Forward is an eclectic group of passionate professionals, with a diverse array of skills, talents, and interests. Each of us works to harness the power of music in creative ways that energize, inspire, and motivate young people and help them create pathways to productive, sustainable, and fulfilling lives.

Marjorie Gilberg
Executive Director

I’m a dedicated changemaker and passionate activist. I don’t believe in the old adage, “Teach a man to fish…” because knowing how to fish is only useful if there are lakes nearby. So my drive is to make sure everybody has equal access to the lakes. When I’m not busy trying to save the world I love to dance until my feet hurt, cook creative dishes, rock out at concerts, and play outdoors.

Laura S. Clark
Director of Programs

Laura is an experienced nonprofit professional with an extensive background in providing outcomes driven youth service programming. She began her career in Western New York where she developed and delivered educational access programs for at risk youth. Laura has presented best practices workshops at national youth at risk conferences and continues to lead dynamic teams in the delivery of engaging programs. She is an advocate for arts access and serves locally to recommend public art projects in the Las Vegas Valley.

Energize
Elisa Morimoto
Director of Operations

I love bringing people together, big ideas and implementing a bit of process, sprinkled with a sense of urgency. When traveling, I split my time 45/55 between the city and the country, conversations with strangers and quiet moments. My daughter and partner bring me so much joy, turning the mundane into funny episodes and little adventures.

Christibelle Villena
Director of Development

I’m a utility player committed to collaboration and making things happen to build up the nonprofit sector, impact communities and cultivate change – all with friendly energy and a smile. Event-planning and designing systems bring me joy. Born and raised in San Diego, I moved to LA in 2001, mainly for the food but also for a nonprofit arts fellowship and easy access to diverse culture and music. While at play, I enjoy the outdoors, dancing, sports, yoga and adventuring with my two young boys. I’m very excited to bring more than 14 years of experience in philanthropy and fundraising to move Music Forward!

Nazanin Fatemian
National Program Manager

Naz is a nonprofit professional with a passion for program development and implementation. Her background is rooted in education and her work is driven by a spirited momentum in positive youth development. Naz is a Texas native managing Music Forward programs from her hometown of Dallas.

Hayley Bowyer
Development Project Manager

I am a native Angeleno and recent UCLA alumnus. I previously interned here at House of Blues Music Forward and am very excited to be joining the team in this new role.  Music has played a huge role in my life. As a singer and performer, I learned the value of hard work, dedication, and creativity. These values overflowed into many aspects of my life, from relationships to the workplace. Music acted as a vehicle that taught me many of life’s lessons and made me the person I am today. I hope that through my time at Music Forward that I can bring young people together to experience music in a way that helps them build confidence and learn valuable life skills that will propel them towards success in any career.

Karen Duve
Marketing Project Manager

I’m enthusiastic about all things arts related from graphic design to music. Having worked in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors, I like to bring the best of both worlds together by combining what I know to improve or solve any challenges that come my way. I am currently enjoying everything that California has to offer with my new dog and amazing husband.

Robin Martin
Program Coordinator - New Orleans

I’m a New Orleans native, born into a family of musicians. Music has been and always will be my source of peace.
Other than that, I’m a rabid Saints fan (WHO DAT!), Michael Jackson fanatic, seafood addict, total bandhead, and world changer.

Andi Kenzer
Program Coordinator - Las Vegas

A research geek with a passion for enhancing developmental outcomes for our youth, Andi has been working in youth programming for over a decade. She is a Midwesterner at heart and received her M.S. in Human and Community Development from the University of Illinois in 2014. In her spare time she enjoys travelling the world and seeing live music – preferably at the same time.

Curtis Peterson
Program Coordinator - Orlando

Curtis has devoted his life to music and education.  Growing up in Miami, FL, Curtis started playing in music bands as a teenager and later taught music at various youth programs for the arts. Since then, his passion for all things music has earned him degrees in Music Business and Entertainment Business. With the strong belief that music changes lives, Curtis strives to help the youth of Central Florida follow their dreams of becoming future music industry professionals.

DeMarco White
Program Coordinator - Los Angeles

I am DeMarco; a Chicago native. I join the organization with the hopes to bring my four years of experience in non-profit program development and implementation. I am an adventurous type of person who loves to explore. I have only been in Los Angeles for two years and since then my life has been a cross between “Broad City” and “The Real World”. Put simply, I am a dream chaser with an inhaler and I am more than ecstatic to create opportunities for our youth and communities as the Los Angeles Program Coordinator.  I live my life by these words “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday”.

Raymond Auzenne
Program Coordinator - Houston

I’m a Houston based record label executive and performer who started writing music at 9 years old. I recorded and sold records independently from middle school through high school before enrolling in an audio engineering program at Houston Community College. While attending school I got involved in performing for my churches youth group. My passion for mentoring with music grew when I saw the positive impact it had on the kids and their families. My mission is to inspire the youth to work hard, stay focused, and be realistic about turning their dreams into a profession.

Inspire
Genesis McCoo
Program Assistant - Dallas

I am currently a Foundation Room Sales Manager AND a Program Assistant for the Music Forward Foundation AND I couldn’t be more proud of what I do.

Chinyere Achebe
Program Coordinator - Chicago

I am an “ILLUMINATOR”, who’s passionate about spreading light in the lives of those I come in contact with. I thrive on developing systems, marketing strategies and motivating people along the way. Being a Program Coordinator in the greatest city in the world (Chicago) allows me to impact, illuminate and inspire our future leaders. I have the privilege of offering programming that maps out career pathways, provides instruments and brings down houses!

Bo Nicholson
National Grants Manager

I am a deeply committed nonprofit “lifer.” I enthusiastically champion the sector’s growth, diversification, and sustainability so that people from all walks of life, who are in need of many different forms of support, can be served in the best and most holistic ways possible. Service to talented young people who are learning, growing, and discovering the world around them has been an especially treasured part of my career, and I am grateful to be able to continue this work through grants fundraising at Music Forward. I grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. When I’m not busy writing proposals you can probably find me hanging out by the nearest breathtaking body of water, testing out an unfamiliar recipe, learning new steps at a salsa or kizomba class, or gabbing with loved ones over brunch.

Traelon T. Rodgers
UForward Intern

Traelon T. Rodgers is an 12th grader at the Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet at Townview. He serves in many capacities, such as a Townview Ambassador and Asst. Secretary on the Executive Student Board and he’s also on Mu Alpha Theta. He is a drum major in the Townview Big “D” Band. Traelon plays the saxophone and the trombone, he has been playing the saxophone for six years and the trombone for 2 years and he serves in many capacities in the band. He is also on the Mock Trial team for the JBS Law Magnet. During his tenure on the mock trial team he was recognized as one of the top attorneys in the city of Dallas by the Dallas Bar Association. At the state level, he was recognized as one of the top 10 witnesses in the state of Texas. Traelon is also a member of the YMCAs Youth and Government team where he competed as a delegate and qualified to the state level. Traelon is also a member of the academic U.I.L. team where he got 3rd place in extemporaneous speaking and qualified to regionals. Traelon is active not only in school but in his community, he is an active member at his church. His most recent accomplishment is becoming the President of the Juanita Craft NAACP Youth Council. He competed in two competitions in the TRI-CITIES ACT-SO and won 1st place in oratory.  He is also a member of the National Youth Work Committee from region 6.

Motivate
Samantha Fischer
Development and Communications Intern

I am a rising senior at The George Washington University studying Political Communication and Art History. In my professional experiences, I look to combine my love for the arts with my passion for change-making in the world. I have seen first-hand how powerful the role of the arts can have in an individual’s life, and I hope to ignite positive change through the arts around the world. The arts have remained an integral part of my life whether it is through singing, photography or art history. Although Washington, DC has become my second home over the past few years, I still remain a California girl and cannot wait to be back home working with Music Forward.

Nesha Price
Executive Assistant

Hello I’m Nesha; born and raised in Southern California. I am an ambitious, resilient, and fun-loving person with a passion to give back to the community. I spend a lot of time with my  beautiful daughter who is the light of my life and the reason for who I am today. I live for comedy along with the ability to make people laugh and bringing a smile to their face. I love art, dance, and music because they give meaning and inspiration to life, and being part of a nonprofit organization like House of Blues Music Forward Foundation brings purpose to my life.

Elijah Pantoja
Development and Communications Intern

As a third-year student at Pitzer College majoring in Political Studies, I have developed a passion for the arts as a vehicle for social change. Producing Hot 100 hits in my bedroom since the age of 14, I am eager to find a professional balance between social justice and music in particular. Unlike any other medium, music has a unique ability to articulate, criticize, and change political landscapes. Non-profits play an integral role in the preservation of the arts which is why I am eager to work with the Music Forward Foundation. From the isolation of the DJ booth to the streets among thousands of protesters, my most valuable lessons have been learned through experience, and contextualized by my academic background.