Give A Note Board

Sean Smith - Quaver MusicSean Smith, Director of Sales, Northeast region, Quaver Music

Board Chair/ President, Give A Note Foundation

After graduating from University of North Texas, Sean Smith moved to Nashville and began touring with established Country Music Artists, including Big and Rich and Muzik Mafia. As a composer, Smith has received awards for film composition, including a Telly and an Emmy for the short film Running Back to Forward. He has developed a successful music program at the Ensworth School in Nashville and is continuing to develop a unique curriculum that is designed to inspire and engage both teachers and students alike.

Currently Sean is Director of Sales for Quaver Music, in the Northeast region.


Ed James, Senior Vice President, High10 Media

Vice Chair, Give A Note Foundation

Ed James is a highly skilled branding and communications professional with 20 years of experience across multiple disciplines including lifestyle, entertainment, luxury goods, business-to-business, technology, non-profit, and crisis management.

Prior to High10 Media, James created and served as president of Cornerstone Public Relations. In that capacity, he worked on projects for HBO, Pepsi, Microsoft, Diageo, Turner Broadcasting, Mountain Dew, Guitar Center, BitTorrent, TDK, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Converse, Reader’s Digest, Red Stripe, Bushmills, Nike, Jose Cuervo, Crown Royal, The FADER, Kia, Threadless, 2K, Levi’s, Activision, and Adult Swim.

In 2011, James left Cornerstone for a year to head Global Public Relations for Gibson Guitar Corporation.

James is a regular editorial contributor to trade publications offering his perspective on best practices and the state of the industry. Named one of the industry’s “40 Most Influential” by Folio Magazine, James has also been profiled in PR Week and PRSA, nominated several times as Executive of the Year by PR News, and awarded Bulldog Reporter’s Silver Medal for PR Professional of the Year.


Emily Chase, Development Associate & Special Assistant to the Chief Development Officer at National Audubon Society

Emily Chase is from Westchester County, New York, where she grew up surrounded by animals and nature. After graduating from Barnard College of Columbia University with a degree in Political Science and English, she moved to Aspen, Colorado, where she worked as Hallam Lake Programs Manager for the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. Emily moved back east to Brooklyn in 2018 and currently works as a Development Associate and Special Assistant to the Chief Development Officer at the National Audubon Society.
Emily’s passion for music was embedded in her from a young age. She grew up singing and playing instruments with her father and two older sisters, and started her first band at age 9 – aptly named, “The Niners”. In later years, Emily discovered her true passion was singing – particularly blues, soul, funk and rock. She currently gigs with a jazz trio in Connecticut and tries to see as much live music as possible in and around NYC.


music and artsRenier Fee, Marketing Director, Music & Arts

Renier oversees marketing for Music & Arts, the largest music education company in the country, with more than 135 retail stores, over 350 retail affiliates, website operations, and a road rep force servicing students and music teachers nationwide. He relishes creating integrated marketing plans that not only successfully generate sales, but also encourage children to pursue their creative talents. This is a significant responsibility, because Music & Arts rents more than 200,000 instruments to beginner musicians and provides nearly 1.25 million music lessons per year. With three children of his own, Renier recognizes the importance of music education programs. Prior to Music & Arts, he honed his marketing skills at Mental Floss, Ecko Unltd, L’Oreal, Playboy, and National Journal. Renier is thrilled to use that experience and his previous education at University of Florida and Fordham University to ensure that every child has the opportunity to participate in music.


Denese Odegaard, Curriculum Specialist, Fargo (North Dakota) Public Schools Performing Arts
Denese Odegaard, NAfME Immediate Past-President (2018-2020), is currently the Fargo (North Dakota) Public Schools Performing Arts Curriculum Specialist, and taught orchestra for 35 years. National service includes board member for both the American String Teachers Association Board (ASTA) and the National Association for Music Education Board (NAfME). While on the ASTA Board, she was chair of the Committee on School Orchestra and Strings and received the ASTA Citation for Leadership twice.

Her involvement in NAfME includes serving as North Central President and Research Advisor for the 3-5 grade standards writing team. She was Executive Director of the North Dakota Music Educators Association for ten years and served as President of NDMEA.

Odegaard authored Curriculum Writing 101: Assistance with Standards-based Music Curriculum and Assessment Writing for Band, Choir, Orchestra and General Music (GIA): co-authored the ASTA Curriculum (Alfred), edited Kaleidoscope: A Collection of Standards-Based Lesson Plans for the K-7 General Music Classroom (Alfred); and co-authored the ASTA Curriculum Assessment Companion e-book for string music educators.

She has presented curriculum and assessment sessions at international, national, and state conferences including Midwest, ASTA, TMEA, TODA, AMLE, ISME, and three Symposiums on Assessment in Music Education.


popular musicTom Osborn, Marketing Specialist, QPrime

Veteran marketing expert, Tom Osborn, is currently the Marketing Specialist at QPrime and also has overseen the worldwide music marketing initiatives for the likes of New West Records, Kobalt Music Services, Warner Bros Records, and Capitol Records.

Throughout Osborn’s career, he worked at both major and independent labels and has implemented innovative and successful marketing campaigns for some of the biggest names in music as well as emerging artists. He has worked with a broad spectrum of artists ranging from luminaries Tom Waits, Lenny Kravitz, Nick Cave, and Devo to modern heavyweights The Flaming Lips, Wilco, The Black Keys, and Mastodon to acclaimed songwriters Noel Gallagher, Ben Folds, and Glen Hansard to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Fleetwood Mac and Paul Simon. Additionally, Osborn’s impressive resume includes stints at Anti-/Epitaph, Vagrant Records, Mammoth Records, ARTISTdirect, and Atlas/Third Rail management.

Osborn is a graduate from the University of Southern California with a Master of Fine Arts degree as well as a degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Sara Qazi, Director, Global Sports & Entertainment, Financial Advisor

As a director a GS&E division, Sara Qazi’s practice centers around the unique needs of the clients in music and filmed entertainment industries. Sara focuses on Strategic Wealth Planning for entertainers, artists, entrepreneurs and studio executives, representing client net worth of over $500 million. Sara is also the founder and executive Director of The LAB, a close collective of powerhouse entrepreneurial women in the music, media, publishing and filmed entertainment industries. Our mission is to foster prosperity while nurturing authentic relationships and offering unparalleled support and resource to one another. Sara received her BSA in International Business at Loyola Marymount University.




Photo: Michael Ventura

Eliot Pfanstiehl, Founder and CEO, Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc.

Parliamentarian, Give A Note Foundation

Eliot Pfanstiehl is the CEO of Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc., which operates and presents programming at Strathmore, a multi-disciplinary arts center, including the Music Center and the Mansion at Strathmore, in Montgomery County, Maryland. Mr. Pfanstiehl has held this position since the founding of the enterprise in 1983.

Born in the District of Columbia and a graduate of George Washington University with a B.A. in Psychology, Mr. Pfanstiehl’s career is a mixture of arts management, education, leadership training and organizational development. He has led over 300 board and strategic planning retreats for a range of non-profit civic, arts and social service organizations, government agencies and businesses.

Mr. Pfanstiehl has been a founder and/or chair of the Montgomery County Arts Council, the Round House Theatre, the League of Washington Theatres, the Maryland State Arts Council, and Maryland Citizens for the Arts. He was founding President and current Chair of Maryland Leadership Workshops. He continues to serve as program facilitator for Leadership Maryland, Leadership Montgomery, Leadership Allegany, Leadership Washington County, Leadership Southern Maryland, and is a graduate of the inaugural class of Leadership Washington.

Mr. Pfanstiehl was named 2000 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine, “People to Watch” in 2005 by the Washington Business Journal, and awarded Outstanding Leader of the Year by Leadership Maryland in 2007 and Leadership Montgomery in 2008.

With his wife Cynthia, a professor of Archeology/Anthropology at Montgomery College, they are proud parents of four talented children and live in Silver Spring, Maryland, where they are active in church and community affairs.