Music Business Empowerment comes in with the mission to edu-tain (educate and to entertain) up and coming artists, producers, managers, and other industry professionals about the ins and outs of the industry.

The goal of the event is simple:

How to Empower the Industry Professional for Tomorrow.

The MBE Conference is a career building event. The MBE Conference is the premiere networking event for those serious about their future in the industry. The MBE Conference has a panel of successful industry professionals, one-on-ones and showcases. The MBE Conference has a place for small to large businesses.


The MBE Conference is a weekend event, however, the impact is not made during that weekend but over a period of several weeks and months. The MBE Conference is a launch pad for new products and services in the music industry. The reach of the Conference is local, regional, and national.



Arlinda Garrett has charted a groundbreaking career in the worlds of music and entertainment. In her 20 plus year history in the industry, Garrett has overseen the projects of chart-topping artists such as Ice Cube, Big Boi of OutKast, Master P. and Jay Z.


In 1986 she founded Coming Attractions Promotions, a music marketing and radio promotions company that continues to establish the professional careers of recording artists on a national and global level.


The industry vet served as Promotions and Marketing Director at Virgin Records and the Southeastern Regional Manager at E One Music. Under her expert guidance, Garrett developed and discovered new music talent, as well as helped revive struggling divisions of black music. Known for her success with the independent record label, Garrett has assisted with placing artists like Y.C. “Racks”, George Tandy Jr. “March” and Kelly Price “It’s My Time” (to name a few) to the top of the Billboard Charts.


Houston, Texas-native, Lester Pace, is the new Senior Vice President of Radio Promotions at Roc Nation. Lester began his career at 19, working for KTSU 90.9 in Houston as an intern. In 1991,  he transitioned to KBXX 97.9 the Box in Houston from 1991-1994. Though he enjoyed disk jockeying and party promotions, he desired to do greater things within the entertainment industry.


During his tenure at KBXX, he met James “J Prince” Smith, who hired him immediately, and Lester worked his way up to become the Southwest Promotions Manager for Rap-A-Lot Records. Working with notable acts such as Geto Boys, Scarface and many more.


After a successful run with Rap-A-Lot, in 1996, Lester moved to Memphis, Tennessee to become the Midsouth Regional Manager for Interscope Records eventually becoming the National Director of Promotions.Working for Interscope increased Lester’s hunger for success and influenced him to start Setting the Pace Promotions in 1998. This company was formed to help independent artists and labels receive the same type of attention that major artists and labels were receiving.


Lester and Interscope parted ways in 2010, but he had already established Setting the Pace Promotions, and instead of joining another label, he went in full-timewith Setting the Pace and has been working as an independent rep until 2019 when he landed the new position as Senior Vice President of Radio Promotions at Roc Nation.


Lester’s ongoing motto is the acronym of his last name PACE
Positive Attitude Changes Everything—is what keeps him grounded and focused. He plans on exercising that mantra throughout the Roc Nation family.

Bronx-born Dr. William Ashbourne is Alabama State University’s (ASU) first full-time Music Business Professor, a position he’s held since 2006. Under Ashbourne’s leadership, he facilitates the coordination of nationally recognized music business professionals and entertainers to lecture to the music business students. Some of those who have participated include platinum selling and Grammy Winning artists and producers such as Flo Rida, Tank, Trey Songz, B.O.B, Estelle, Musiq Soulchild, Raheem Devaughn and DJ Toomp.


Prior to joining the faculty at ASU, Ashbourne was the Music Business Professor at Georgia State University where he taught Business Management, Copyright, Publishing and Artist Representation. Some of his famous students include Grammy Winning artist, actor and philanthropist Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges and Kathy Stringer, who was the Director of the Atlantis Music Conference from 2003-2008. Some of Dr. Ashbourne’s other professional highlights include serving on the management team for LL Cool J (1990-1993), managing the Grammy-nominated group Tag Team, who to-date have sold over 8 million records (“Whoomp There It Is”), negotiated the first use of rap artists on a video game representing Ludacris (Madden O1’), served as a member of the management team that negotiated major label and publishing deals for R. Kelly (Jive) and Ludacris (Def

Jam/EMI). Ashbourne holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Howard University and a Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School. In addition, Ashbourne is a member of the Tax Counsel for the City of New York, as well as a member of the Juice Crew in New York.

Louise Ferguson is the Founder and CEO of No Payne No Gain Management and Entertainment, L.L.C. since 2003 and brings to No Payne No Gain three decades of unique and outstanding experience in the fields of marketing and promotion, as well as ownership and operation of her own record label, Sagipion Records.


Louise began her career in the music industry in the areas of tour management, artist management, road management, concert promotion, club promotion, booking agent, press releases, public service announcements, assisting in the promotion of national tours, negotiated and secured record and music publishing deals, designed customized marketing packages for presentation to labels, screened music demo tapes, built and still maintain a vast client base.  Liaison between artists and record labels, maintained tour itinerary for artists, supervised artist contract negotiations, product management and media relations, organized artist tours for national and international markets, artist and repertoire, artist budgets, artist development and product development projects.


Additionally, Louise has provided consultative services to many entertainment entities, including major and independent record labels, radio stations, distribution and promotions companies. The plethora of artists whom have benefited from Louise’s services and experience include: Keith Sweat, Silk, Dallas Austin, New Edition, Goodie Mob, Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, Akon, The O’Jay’s, Ying Yang Twins, Luther Vandross, Patti LaBelle, Johnnie Gill, Musiq Soulchild, Ashanti, Gerald Levert, Charlie Wilson, Keisha Jackson, Commodores, Lionel Ritchie and a host of others.

Atlantic records Executive Vice President of Promotion Juliette Jones has built one impressive career—forging lasting relationships with the who’s who of the music business and turning dozens of artist into who’s who in the recording world. She began as a Street Promotions intern with Queen of radio promotions Arlinda

Garrett and music icon Sean Puffy Combs in an internship at New York’s WBLS radio station. Through that internship, Jones learned the inner workings of radio business—insight that has proven valuable times over.

While interning at the radio station, Jones met a then on-the- rise DJ Funk Master Flex. The two struck a friendship that developed into a working relationship when Jones received her first independent promotion record from Arista records. That record was Usher Raymond’s “Call Me a Mack” from the Poetic Justice movie soundtrack. Jones worked Flex’s resistance to playing a record that “wasn’t hip hop,” convincing him weeks later to give it a shot.


It was a move that helped to launch not her career but the career who of a music superstar. Jones, ever ambitious, went on to independently promote records for labels including RCA, Priority, Solar, and Arista. Still it wasn’t until faith-testing year or so later that she landed her first official jobwith a label: Mid Atlantic regional rep for Jive Records. At Jive Jones worked with artist including Aaliyah, TLC and R Kelly to name a few. Jones has since worked for Virgin, J, Warner Bros Records, and Atlantic record companies, rising steadily along the way: SE regional Promo Director, National Director of Promo, Senior National Director, Vice President, Senior Vice President, Executive Vice president.


In a business dominated by men, Juliette Jones has proven herself among the

greatest at what she does. Intelligent, effective, ambitious, creative, tenacious…she is

a phenomenal success in the measures that matter most.

Azim Rashid, a veteran executive in the music industry, moved as a teenager to Dallas, Texas where he started his music career as a rapper at the age of 19. After releasing three albums with his group Nemesis, Rashid returned to college and attained his bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from UNT. From there, he started a career in music promotion and the rest – as they say – is history. Throughout his career, Azim has been involved with successful campaigns at global brands Motown, MCA/Universal, Atlantic, Capitol, Roc Nation and now Columbia Records. Azim has worked with cultural icons, award winning artists and industry leaders that include Mary J. Blige, Sam Smith, NE-YO, Katy Perry, Wiz Khalifa, Sean "Diddy" Combs, T.I., MIGOS, The Carter’s, John Legend, Beyoncé, Raphael Saadiq and many more.
A believer of “paying it forward,” Azim lends his time and resources to various charitable and philanthropic organizations, including his fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., The Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation, The Mark Cuban Heroes Foundation, his own Behind The Mic Foundation geared toward grooming future entertainment executives and The Living Legends Foundation.

Maurice White, President of Urban Marketing of America has taught Music Marketing at Columbia College for the last 12 years. Maurice is widely recognized as a specialist in the field of music marketing and promotions.


He has been working professionally in the Music Industry since 1976. A graduate of the University of Southern California, White worked for Progress Distribution whose clients included companies such as Motown Records, A&M Records, and over 250 other labels both major and independent.
White is currently the V.P. of Urban Promotions at Entertainment One.

During a career that has spanned over 30 years, Downtown Jackson Brown has scaled the walls of success in both the Radio & Record industry. As an on-air personality & programmer in Memphis Tn (KJMS/WRBO), Little Rock Ar (KKYK/KIPR), Greensboro NC (WQMG), and Lafayette, Louisiana (KNEK/KRRQ), Jackson Brown achieved ratings success, with his stations consistently rated #1or 2 in their target demo. He was also a prominent “on air personality”, who was very involved with the community. During the 90’s he was a Memphis favorite, known for breaking local artist music and giving them a platform to expose their music.  From artist such as Gangsta Pat, 8ball and MJG, Tele, DJ Paul & Juicy J of 3-6 Mafia, Al Kapone, SMK, DJ Squeaky and countless other Memphis artist, Jackson Brown was the go-to jock who made it happen.  All of the above mentioned, secured major record deals thru his platform.

On the Label side of the business, Jackson was National Director of promotions at Death Row Records, contributing to the success of artist such as 2pac, Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre. As National Director and Vice President at Blackground Records, he worked with Aaliyah on her last project and was also instrumental in the early development and success of R&B crooner Tank. He also was a regional marketing director of promotions for Interscope records.


Currently Jackson resides in Los Angeles, Ca.  He is C.E.O of MacJack Productions, President of “Raise the Bar” management Dawlin Heart Entertainment out of Los Angeles, Ca. Thru these business entities, he mentors and manage several clients currently in the Radio and Music business. One client of note is KeKe Palmer and her Big Bosses Entertainment record label. She’s currently a cohost of the daytime ABC TV show Strahan, Sarah, & Keke and prepping to release her new music project in conjunction with E-One Entertainment. 


Timothy “Minnesota Fattz” Snell was born in New York but was raised in the heart of the South by his hard-working single grandmother. Timothy Snell, or simply Fattz, was taught the importance of education and treating people with kindness by his grandmother. Today, Snell serves as the Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia-Augusta and oversees the operation of seven radio stations in the Augusta market. Fattz’ thirty-year career in the radio industry is far from over. He also serves as on-air talent on 96.3 Kiss FM in Augusta and Throwback 105.5 in Columbia, SC. Timothy Snell is a radio and broadcasting legend and a shining example of “where you come from, does not dictate who you become”, a phrase his grandmother raised him on.

Professionally, Fattz takes mentoring young talent seriously. He is most notable for developing and grooming talent and creating successful radio stations. With an impressive thirty-year broadcasting and programming career, Fattz has received many local and national accolades. He is a recipient of the 2014 President Barack Obama Community Award, the Boy Scout Eagle Award, the BRE Award for Program Director of the year, and a past winner of the Radio Personality of The Year Awards. Under his leadership his stations have won Station of the Year three times. Fattz has touched airwaves with his co-host Cher Best for eighteen years of his thirty-year career. Fattz is a proud husband and father of two and he credits God and his grandmother for his success

Don “DC“ Cody is a highly respected, seasoned radio veteran with over 40 years in the broadcast industry. He has managed top radio stations in St. Louis, Charlotte, Little Rock, Tampa, Norfolk and other major cities.

Don Cody has managed and consulted radio stations across the country and has a proven track record of generating impressive results. In 2001 Don founded Moses Media Inc. Throughout the years, Moses Media Inc. has become a MAJOR media conglomerate working with clients such as: Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys, Lil Wayne, Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, Prince, Ciara, Boyz II Men,Kanye West, Beyonce, Ludacris, Future, Rick Ross, Nicki Manaj and many many more.


Moses Media Inc. Has very impressive relationships with many Major and Independent record labels getting records played on the air quick !! We will help you get out there !!


We pride ourself on treating ALL of our clients with respect and quality work.

As a Television Producer Don's accomplishments include:

1987 - 1991 Executive Producer “Don Cody TV Show” Charlotte, NC

1992 - 1994 Executive Producer “Entertaining St. Louis” St. Louis, MO

With over 25 years of marketing experience, Will Griggs’  career began as a national concert promotion executive and progressed into working with Warner Bros. as a Marketing Consultant.  He also developed and executed multi channel marketing programs for ASCAP, Culture 360, The Grammy's, Oakland Carnival and The Music Business Empowerment Summit to name a few.

He is also the creator of the Live Concert Tour, Compilation Series and Artist Development Agency Called Chocolate Soul that helped introduce and develop many great artists including India.Arie, Akon, Ceelo Green, Kindred the Family Soul, Raheem De Vaughn and Anthony David. produced a live music oriented reality show for Viacom’s urban networks called Chocolate Soul.

He is now the Director of Digital Marketing for Rob Floyd Enterprises and the Executive Director of the Artists of Creation Digital Marketing and Talent Agency. 

Above and beyond the call of duty, by any means necessary, a rider till the wheels fall off are all phrases repeatedly used from the streets to the suites of music industry executives when referencing Manuel Ayala also known as Mad Dog. A molder of Hip-Hop through music then radio, movies then soundtracks, fashion and corporate liquor brands, Mad Dog has surpassed the term contributor to this phenomenon culture. His smorgasbord of a resume has solidified urban lifestyles into tangible empires.

In 1988, a passionate accounting major turned a corner that would change the course of his life.
Quickly gaining notoriety, labels such as Uptown requested his Midas touch in launching the careers of Jodeci, Mary J. Blidge, and Heavy D. Bad Boy Records was soon to follow request for the likes of Notorious B.I.G., Craig Mack. By working Urban Mixshow promotions at Island Black, he began to own and understand his skill set in successfully aiding and establishing the careers of breakout artists such as Dru Hill nationally and globally. Continuing at Relativity Records with M.O.P., and Bone Thugs n Harmony even Wu-Tang Records couldn’t deny Mad Dog’s respected name offering him a position at Wu-Tang Records as Director of Promotions. Paving a way in new territories such as R&B and West coast music from Jahiem and Eric Benet to Westside Connection , Rass Kass and the 3 Strikes Soundtrack, he never missed a trend or beat. Companies such as Triple 5 Soul, Converse, Def Jam University, Ecko, Enyce, Hypnotiq, Remy Amerique, Everglo all trust his lead in promotions. By pioneering some of Hip-Hop’s most intricate movements from the How Can I Be Down Conference to the 2005 Justo Mixtape Awards, Mad Dog has made seamless strides in Hip-Hop culture.

“My goal is to leave a footprint in the sand for youth coming up in the business.

Specialties: marketing, promotions, brand awareness, event planning, tour routing & management