Give A Note Board
Sean 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.
Renier 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.
Tom Osborn, Vice-President of Marketing, New West Records
Veteran marketing expert, Tom Osborn, is currently the VP of Marketing for New West Records and also has overseen the worldwide music marketing initiatives for the likes of 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.
Beth Rivar Slusher, President, Rivar’s & CEO, Give A Note Foundation
Former Board Chair/ President, Give A Note Foundation
As an entrepreneur and the Owner & CEO of Rivar’s, Inc., an apparel manufacturer for the music performance industry, Beth is a passionate leader in advancing the cause of music education. Recently appointed as CEO for Give A Note Foundation, she continues to support music educators through the Foundation’s commitment to enhance and expand music education opportunities. Beth’s dedication to Give A Note began as one of the founding board members for the organization in 2012 and serving as Board Chair & President from 2014 – 2018. Music has long played a key role in her life. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Ball State University with a double major in vocal and instrumental music performance and a minor in business. An avid concert goer, Beth appreciates all music genres from Broadway and classical to pop, country, bluegrass and jazz.
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.