FOUR NEW BOARD MEMBERS HAVE ALSO BEEN APPOINTED, IN ADDITION TO CHANGES MADE IN KEY LEADERSHIP POSITIONS
Toronto, ON –– Unison Benevolent Fund – a non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief to the Canadian music community in times of crisis – announces Bernie Breen, President of Bernie Breen Management, as the newly elected Chair of the Board. Additionally, Unison announces the appointment of four new board members, and changes to key leadership positions on the Board of Directors.
Continuing to serve as Vice-Chair is Andy Maize, songwriter, and co-founder of the band Skydiggers and label MapleMusic. Leadership changes include Brian Huston, Founder of urArtist Network, being appointed Treasurer, and Charlotte Thompson, President and Owner of Red Umbrella P.R., appointed Secretary Treasurer for the 2020/2021 fiscal year.
Unison is pleased to welcome the following new members bringing their various areas of expertise to the Board:
Jully Black, Canadian singer-songwriter, producer and actress
Jully Black is a true Canadian Icon. Named as one of ‘The 25 Greatest Canadian Singers Ever’, (CBC Music) she has been dubbed ‘Canada’s Queen of R&B Soul’ by fans and industry leaders alike. As a platinum selling recording artist, her music career has yielded multiple singles reaching the Top 10 pop, R&B and dance music charts. She has taken home Juno and Gemini Awards, earned innumerable industry accolades and was hand selected to sing for the Queen of England. As a songwriter, Jully has touched the hearts of her fans with her extensive music catalogue, her compositions for industry heavyweights such as Destiny’s Child and Nas, and on collaborations with songwriter, musician and performance titans such as Ian Thornley (Big Wreck). She has shared the stage with superstars such as The Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West, Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, Elton John, Alicia Keys, Etta James and Juno Breakthrough Artist, Jessie Reyez, to name a few.
Erin Ashley Lowers, Hip-Hop and R&B Content Specialist
For over a decade, Erin has spent her time diving into the worlds of music journalism, digital content creation, and festival programming with the hopes of pushing the Canadian music community, specifically Black music (Hip-Hop and R&B), to the forefront of the entertainment industry. Her written work has been featured nationally and internationally with the likes of Noisey, Red Bull, Complex, HotNewHipHop, United Masters, and of course, Exclaim! Magazine where she was the Hip-Hop Editor for several years until recently when COVID took its toll. Journalism aside, her love of music has also expanded into the festival market. At home in Toronto, Erin worked tirelessly with Manifesto’s Festival of Community and Culture as both the Educational Programmer and lending a hand to its educational and music programming for seven years, as well as music programming with the likes of CMW, NXNE, and Atlanta's A3C Music & Conference Festival.
Sandy Pandya, Pandyamonium Management
Sandy Pandya paved her own lane in the Canadian music industry, cementing herself as a leader and advancing the careers of the artists she represents. Her passion for music and inability to accept the word “no” supported her affinity for championing underdogs, which afforded her a career spanning over 20 years and counting. Her Client List includes and has included, Serena Ryder, Mike Sonier, Doc McKinney, Hawksley Workman, Hayden, Tegan and Sara, Dear Rouge and Alejandra Ribera. In 2017, Pandya struck a partnership with Serena Ryder to launch Arthaus, a multi-purpose creative working space that also houses her management and publishing company, Pandyamonium.
Mark Watts, Music Industry Executive
Mark’s entire career has been spent in the Canadian music industry, with the vast majority of it focused on developing & delivering government & private sector investment funding to both provincial & national music clients and initiatives.
Most recently a program consultant for the Ontario Music Office/Ontario Creates, (formerly known as Ontario Media Development Corporation) Mark was instrumental in the successful creation, launch and delivery of the Ontario Music Fund (OMF). The OMF continues to strengthen and stimulate growth in Ontario’s music sector by strategically investing in high potential projects. Prior to joining the OMDC, Mark played a pivotal role at FACTOR as General Manager. There, he was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization and managing a team of fourteen staff. Mark has served on the 2015 & 2017 JUNO Award Host Committees, and led several United Way charity campaigns.
"I look forward to working with the new members of our Board," says Executive Director, Amanda Power, "Each individual brings diverse knowledge of the Canadian music industry to the table. Their commitment to the organization will assist Unison in its continued growth, so that we can continue to be there for the Canadian music community in times of crisis."
Unison would also like to acknowledge and extend a gracious thank you to departing Board members Jesse Kumagai, Dan Fraser, Ralph James, and Melissa Bubb-Clarke for their time and considerable efforts to the organization, as well as a very special thank you to Immediate Past Chair Derrick Ross. Their dedication, hard work and commitment to building and growing Unison has left an indelible and lasting imprint on the organization.
Below is a complete list of the Unison Benevolent Fund Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 fiscal year:
Bernie Breen, Chair
Andy Maize, Vice Chair
Brian Huston, Treasurer
Charlotte Thompson, Secretary Treasurer
Erin Ashley Lowers
The new board takes effect immediately.