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Meet the 2023 Honourees

Meet the 2024 Women in Music Canada Honourees
Organization of the Year - Music Nova Scotia

This honour is given to a company making significant strides in equity in the workplace. Music Nova Scotia has demonstrated exceptional dedication to fostering the development of women and non-binary folks within the music industry. 83% of their team are women or gender diverse, the organization's events have had a positive impact on the local music community and since the pandemic, have been a leader the provincial music industry by fighting for artist and industry support through increases in project grants, bringing legacy events to their market, presenting music focussed anti-oppression training, developing a Builders Camp, and Beyond the Board live sound project for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and using resources whenever possible to elevate other community organizations to foster industry-wide growth. Their impact reaches far beyond its local community, resonating with the broader mission of Women in Music Canada to create a more inclusive and equitable music industry.

Excellence in Live - Mira Silvers, FORT Agency

The Excellence in Live Honour recognizes a music professional working in a live production or touring environment making significant impact in their field. Working with a global music roster of clients from Canada, US, United Kingdom, India, and Africa, she has contributed to the careers of Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Charli XCX, Backxwash, and more. She takes pride in creating a culture of cultivating a path for the next generation of music executives. mentoring and broadening opportunities for brilliant young music executives with a particular focus on those from marginalized and underserved communities. More recently she co-created FEMINAE NOX — a platform and program that seeks to prioritize equity for BIPOC+ women, femme, nonbinary folks working in and seeking to work in live music and nightlife, both on and off the stage. 

Changemaker of the Year presented by the National Arts Centre – Erin Benjamin

Erin Benjamin has led the live music industry through the darkest period in its history with fierceness, diplomacy, and incredible empathy, with industry members often citing her work as the reason their businesses survived. She has spearheaded research and advocacy for underserved communities in music, led her team in professional development training programs for young leaders in Live Music careers, and has been touted as the “patron saint" for the Live Music Industry, for her unwavering passion and support. Erin has been a champion of Women her whole career, and as a mentor, has been a catalyst in the careers of many other Women in Music.

Entrepreneur of the Year presented by Believe and TuneCore – Lisa Patterson

An endorsee of YSL Pro, Lisa Patterson is an award-winning music creator and entrepreneur who has been championing collaboration and inclusion across 3 continents for the past 25 years. At her LPM studio in Toronto, Canada she works as a producer-engineer, songwriter-musician, string-horn arranger as well as running an innovative Artist Development Program whose successes include Warner Records signing Alex Frew & ISC semi-finalist Nova Carver-Cook.

Lisa specializes in electro-acoustic songwriting and sound design for Contemporary Pop, Roots, Folk, Indigenous and cross-cultural artists. Recent release highlights include Alysha Brilla's album Circle and two single co-prods with 2 X Juno-award winning Producer-Songwriter Michael Lantz (Charmaine, Jazz Cartier). 2022 was a banner year for producing & co-writing indie released singles (5) and EPs (2). Currently she's collaboratively producing & engineering a record with Juno & Polaris Prize winning Producer-Engineer Michael Wojewoda; formerly as an active recording & touring artist, Lisa released 4 albums and 5 videos of original music - including a Top Ten charting single in The Benelux that garnered a Rough Trade European distribution deal.

In 2022 Lisa launched the Create Fearlessly brand to reflect her reputation for providing welcoming studio environment and empathetic vocal production for female, queer, BIPOC creatives: esteemed artists over the years include Elliot Page (piano coaching); Melissa Laveaux (No Format-Universal); Lido Pimienta (Polaris Prize winner); Calypso Rose (WOMEX 2016 Artist of the Year); Kale Reid (LGBTQ activist songwriter); Shanika Maria (indie rising star); Medicine Song Woman Brenda MacIntyre (Juno nominee); Lillian Allen (Juno winner).

An inclusionist trailblazer, Lisa presented the first-ever Canadian music industry discussion panel of female & non-binary producers in 2017. Spring of 2018 she curated & moderated a first CMW gender inclusive producer panel, followed in fall 2018 with H.E.R. studio Sound Production monthly series for women & non-binary audio workers. In 2019 Music Publishers Canada selected Lisa for their inaugural Women In The Studio Program. In 2022 Lisa co-created The Listening Party - a new public showcase series for underrepresented producers.

Artist of the Year presented by Amazon Music - The Beaches

This award recognizes an artist whose music demonstrates excellence with an exceptional year as a result of radio chart successes, media exposure, industry recognition, and/or touring success. The Beaches, Kylie, Jordan, Leandra, Eliza, have had an incredible breakthrough year. They have written and released the best album they've done in their 10-year careers, "Blame My Ex". Released independently through AWAL, the lead single "Blame Brett" currently sits at 25million streams, spent 15 weeks at #1 at alternative radio, is currently #29 at Alternative Radio in America (and climbing), & in less than 6 months, is already gold in Canada. This success has also translated to their live business, selling out their worldwide tour in a matter of hours, including Toronto’s Massey Hall x2 (5400 tickets), Vancouver’s Orpheum (2750 tickets), Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Music Hall x2 (1300 tickets), Los Angeles’s Troubador x2 (1000 tickets) & London, UK’s Outernet (1300 tickets). All of the success came from the band finally being in control of their own destiny, which is an absolute inspiration to young women in the industry.

International Leader of the Year - Maylee Todd

Maylee Todd has produced and released a science fiction record "MALOO" in which she learned and built 3-D models and worlds that she motion tracked live. It was featured on NPR's Tiny Desk as the first avatar performance and won the AIM award for best creative campaign in the UK. This performance was then showcased at The Lincoln Centre for Performing Arts in New York. More recently, Maylee figured out how to use an EEG headband to read her brainwaves and then play her synthesizers live. She has now recorded a brain wave record that will tour this Spring in Japan, Canada, US and Philippines. She teaches and mentors women and non-binary professionals in tech and is typically the only female in ALOT of the spaces she excels in, music, comedy, and tv.

Rising Leader - Ayo Leilani – Witch Prophet

Witch Prophet is an evolution of Toronto based, singer-songwriter Ayo Leilani. A soundscape of vocal layers, loops, raps and harmonies on a bed of hip-hop, jazz and soul-inspired beats produced by her wife and business partner, SUN SUN. She is also President and Co-CEO of Heart Lake Records. 

Rising Leader - Angie Randisi - Recording Engineer

Angie has been making her mark in the global hip-hop scene as an in-demand audio engineer and was featured in the Spring 2022 issue of XXL magazine’s ‘Behind the Boards’ article. Her career took her to work on PARTYNEXTDOOR’s third album PARTYMOBILE, debuting at #8 on the US Billboard 200 chart.   Angie was ranked in the Top 5 Woman Producers of 2021, nominated for Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and achieved a #1 single Billboard with Lil Baby and Nicki Minaj with hit Do We Have A Problem?. Angie now works full time as Grammy-winning artist Lil Baby’s main engineer.

Rising Leader - Good + Plenty Producer's Club

The Good + Plenty Producer's Club is a space for Manitoba's women, 2Spirit, and non-binary music producers and audio engineers to learn, share, encourage, and grow. The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative released in 2020 stated that less than 2% of producers in North America are women. This number is even smaller for 2Spirit and non-binary producers. In Winnipeg and Manitoba specifically, there are very few women, 2Spirit, and non-binary producers and audio engineers working in the recording industry. The Good + Plenty Producer's club seeks to be a safe place for gender minorities to interact (on Instagram and through our Facebook group) by sharing knowledge, encouraging, providing resources, and supporting one another. The group will also be working as a collective to find ways to mentor the next generation of up-and-coming music producers.

Rising Leader - Katrina Kernaghan - TikTok Canada Head of Music

Katrina graduated from Western University with a Bachelor of Arts, Honours Specialization in Media, Information and Technoculture, and an Honours Bachelor of Administration from the Ivey School of Business. She’s completed internships at Jeff Turner Entertainment Group, Coastal Jazz, and Corus Entertainment. Katrina acted as Head of Marketing for Wax Records, an award winning independent record label, for 3 years before joining the TikTok Canada team, focusing on Record Label & Industry Partnerships.

Kat is always looking to try something new and push herself outside of her comfort zone. She believes that success comes from humility, unrelenting curiosity, and the constant pursuit of personal and professional growth. She takes pride in giving back to the music community, and am currently a Factor Jury Member and a MusiCounts Delegate.

Rising Leader - Seny Kassaye - FORT Agency

Seny Kassaye is an Ethiopian-Guinean music touring agent at FORT Agency becoming one of the few Black female talent agents in Canada in history according to the Canadian Live Music Association. Seny is breaking barriers and is an exponentially rising star in music, especially in live music.

In 2023 alone, Seny was shortlisted as nominee for the prestigious Arthur Award for Young Executive of the Year 2023 in London, UK at the International Live Music Conference, a globally recognized and one of the biggest trade live music conference for agents, agency, and promoters. She was the only Canadian and only Black music executive to be nominated for this award globally this year. In Fall 2022, Seny was also an honoree as the Top 20 Bosses of 2022 listed by IQ Magazine in London, UK.

Career Achievement Honour - Katrina Lopes - President of KL Management

Katrina Lopes is the president of KL Management whose roster includes platinum selling, Juno Award winning artist/producer Shawn Desman, pop duo and production team RadioClub, soul artist/film composer/Sephora collaborator TiKA, and pop singer/songwriter/producer Kayla Diamond.

Together with its clients KL Management has garnered numerous accolades including MMVA Video of the Year, Socan #1 Award, Socan Pop Song of the Year, as well as numerous platinum and gold certified singles.

KL also executive produced the film "ALIVE" in partnership with MUCH which starred Shawn Desman, Kaitlyn Leeb (Heartland), Melinda Shankar (Degrassi), and K.C. Collins (Lost Girl). The film was the cornerstone of an innovative campaign to promote Desman's album of the same name.

KL serves on the board for: Manifesto, a youth arts organization that creates space (physical and digital) that inspires, develops, and amplifies diverse communities through arts, culture and media; Music Managers Forum Canada (MMF); Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA); is a mentor with Femme it Forward, a female-led music and entertainment company and joint venture with Live Nation that celebrates, educates and empowers the industry’s most creative and accomplished female visionaries. KL also teaches Music Industry classes through F-You: The Forgiveness Project to youth and young men in custody. She is an innovator w/ Keychange, a global network working towards a total restructure of the music industry in reaching full gender equality. She was also named as an honouree on the global “Alternative Power 100 Music List 2020”.

Career Achievement Honour - Melissa Langley - DJ MelBoogie

MelBoogie recently celebrated her 30th anniversary working in radio as a host and DJ. She was the first female DJ on the 2023 Juno Awards, this year highlighting 50 years of hip hop, alongside Canadian music heavy weights Kardinal Offishall, Haviah Mighty, Dream Warriors, and Michie Mee.  She's been the tour DJ for Michie Mee, Maestro Fresh Wes and The Sorority.

Additionally, she was the first female Chair of the Rap Committee for the Juno Awards, and is currently a judge for Polaris, doing community outreach to artists across the country to create awareness of how they can be recognized as part of these prestigious awards.

Dedicated to developing and supporting Black Music in Canada, she's also done publicity for a multitude of Canadian artists and is the founder of the Black Music Brunch - an annual brunch designed to highlight and celebrate the music artists in many of Canada's underserved communities.

Career Achievement Honour - Lisa Zbitnew - President and Owner / Operator of The Phoenix Concert Theatre and Bronsen Centre Music Theatre in Ottawa.

She was the CEO of War Child North America from 2008 to 2011. Zbitnew was the President and CEO of Sony BMG Music Canada from the original merger in September 2004 until January 2007. She served as President of BMG Music Canada beginning in 1996 where she reported to Tim Bowen, who oversaw Sony BMG's operations in the U.K, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.[3] She was the first female executive to hold the position of a major record label President in Canada.

Zbitnew has had a longstanding career in the Canadian music industry, beginning in as Managing Director of Alert Records, one of Canada's most successful independent labels.  In 1990, she joined Sony Music Canada/CBS Records Canada as Marketing Director until 1993 when she became Vice President of Marketing at EMI Music Canada until 1996.

Career Achievement Honour - Shauna de Cartier - Label co-owner and manager Six Shooter Records

Shauna de Cartier founded Six Shooter Records in 2000, a record label and management company who has maintained since inception a steadfast commitment to fostering artistic excellence and to the development of a distinct community of predominantly Canadian-based artists with international careers.  Her award-winning label and management rosters include July Talk, Whitehorse, The Dead South, Tanya Tagaq, William Prince, Rheostatics, Boy Golden, Skye Wallace and many others.

Together with her long-time business partner, Helen Britton, de Cartier founded and produced The Interstellar Rodeo, a music and wine festival which had a 3-year run in Winnipeg and an 8-year run in Edmonton, headlined by artists such as Beck, Alabama Shakes, Sarah McLachlan, and many more. Shauna leads the label division and prides herself in their diverse roster and in hiring and predominantly female staff. She is a great leader and motivator for young up and coming entrepreneurs. 

De Cartier plays an active role in the industry, including a continued participation as an elected board member of CIMA, which she chaired for four years. She also serves on the board of the Radio Starmaker Fund.  She holds an MBA from the University of Alberta.  De Cartier is an advocate for artists, independent businesses and fair dealings, and is committed to creating professional opportunities for young industry members – particularly women – and fostering a strong network of like-minded individuals in the industry at large. In 2019, de Cartier was honoured with the Canadian Independent Music Award for Entrepreneurship.

Career Achievement Honour - Susan Rosenberg - Sr. Vice President Marketing Global Touring at Live Nation

Susan Rosenberg is an industry veteran and trail blazer in the world of concert marketing. She cumulates over 30 year’s experience, 6 at CPI and 24+ years at Live Nation Global Touring, Susan quite literally wrote the book on how to market international tours. Working alongside Arthur Fogel and team, Susan has been instrumental in marketing and bringing to life global tours for the likes of Madonna, U2, Rush, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga… just to name a few.

Her always level-headed approach, meticulous attention to detail, and ultra-positive disposition has earned her respect from not only her colleagues, but the industry as a whole. She’s truly one of a kind and an inspiration to many aspiring to earn a role in music marketing today.

Career Achievement Honour - Yvonne Matsell - Promoter

Significant impact paving the way for a more equitable community: Yvonne has been in the Canadian music industry for decades and is best described as a woman "in the trenches". She was a promoter at the time when very few women were able to say the same and cultivated her career in spite of (let's call a spade...) misogyny rampant in the industry. Yvonne nurtured the careers of dozens and dozens of Canadian and international artists and cared for them personally and professionally, with an incredible eye for talent, longevity, and commercial viability. Her work alongside SXSW helped to bring us NXNE and build it into the outstanding festival/conference that it was. Her presence at North By was pivotal to its success, with her keen eye for talent and shrewd decision-making. Our industry looks the way it does because Yvonne Matsell has helped to shape it.

Founders Honour – Samantha Slattery

Samantha has been working in the music industry for over two decades within the live sector throughout North America and the UK. Most recently working on the JUNO Awards, Sam previously worked for The Mean Fiddler (Reading & Leeds Music Festivals), AEG Live (Coachella, Stagecoach, and Virgin Music Festival) Live Nation (Dreams Festival) as well as Republic Live (WayHome and Boots & Hearts Music Festivals).  

She is also the Founder of Women in Music Canada, a non-profit organization aimed at fostering gender diversity and equality throughout the Canadian music sector. In addition, prior to these roles Sam spent several years as a manager at Nettwerk Management’s UK office, working for major-label multi-platinum artists including Dido.

Sam holds numerous post-secondary qualifications, including a UK Graduate Diploma in Law, a Hon BA in Political Science from York University, as well as graduating from UCLA’s Music Business program, and most recently completing the Greener Festival Assessor Training from Falmouth University in the UK.

In addition, she regularly guest lectures at colleges and universities, serves on several boards, committees, and adjudication groups, as well as being a regular speaker at industry events including SXSW, Liverpool Sound City, and CMW. She’s received multiple nominations for RBC Woman of Influence award and is currently part of a handful of participants featured in the Canadian-Europe music industry gender initiative Keychange.