Board of Directors
WiB Chairman of the Board 2019 - Kyle Deibler
Kyle Deibler has been a supporter of the WIB since its inception. The current president of the Colorado Blues Society and past president of the Phoenix Blues Society, Kyle has spent the last 25 years in support of the Blues genre as a whole. He is the proud two-time recipient of the Blues Foundation's highest honor for a non-performer, the Keeping the Blues Alive award.
Tim Fik, musician, artist, and producer with over 35 years experience in the music business, hailing originally from the Buffalo, NY metro area. He is the lead guitarist for the Bridget Kelly Band and member of the North Central Florida, Atlanta, SunCoast, and Memphis Blues Societies, as well as an avid and vocal supporter of The Blues Foundation. Tim is a voting member of the Producers’ Wing of the Recording Academy and founder of Alpha Sun records (an Independent Label based out of Gainesville, Florida). He holds a Ph.D. in Geography & Regional Development from the University of Arizona (1989) and is an Associate Professor at the University of Florida where he teaches a variety of courses including Popular Music & Culture: A Geographic Perspective — a course that focuses on American Roots music and “the Blues”.
Powerhouse blues and soul singer Rae Gordon is widely recognized not only for her astounding multi-octave range as for her captivating onstage charisma and approachability. Rae leads a high-energy band that features searing slide guitar, a tight pulsing rhythm section and soaring horns. The Rae Gordon Band’s most recent CD “Better Than I Was” has been played around the world, received multiple awards and appeared on the Living Blues and Roots Music Report charts. Rae was inducted into the Cascade Blues Association’s Hall Of Fame for her string of Best Female Vocalist wins, and the band was named Best Contemporary Blues Act by the CBA as well. In 2017, her band was a finalist in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis and placed 3rd in the competition. Rae and her band have played high-profile stages like Portland’s Waterfront Blues Festival, Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival, the Big Blues Bender in Las Vegas (twice), the Bonita Blues Festival in Florida, the Big Sky Blues Festival in Montana, the Iron Mountain Music Festival in Canada and many others. The band is currently at work on a brand-new CD of all-original songs, titled “Wrong Kind Of Love” and due in October 2019.
Lamont Jack Pearley - Applied Folklorist/Bluesman
As an NYC-based descendant of the Great Migration, my life as a Bluesman changed dramatically in the mid-2000s when I returned to Louisiana and Mississippi to bury close relatives. Returning to these regions and their deep associations with Blues history, I felt the urgency to raise cultural and ethnic awareness of African American Traditional Music as it pertains to the Black Experience in America. I began using the methods of ethnography, genealogy, and archival research in essence, the tools of the folklorist to more thoroughly trace my family's lineage. Inspired by my discoveries, I began interviewing people outside of my family who had similar stories, including African American Blues musicians who played various forms of traditional blues. Over the last 12 years, my work documenting African American vernacular narratives, music, and cultures resulted in an extensive collection of field interviews with historians, documentarians, blues and folk musicians, and the children of Black music legends. This body of work earned me an induction into the New York Blues Hall of Fame as Great Blues Historian and TV/Radio Producer (2017) and Great Blues Artist (2018) being an African American Traditional Music Practitioner. Lamont Jack also sits as an AFS African American Section Convener and committee member of the Zora Neale Hurston Prize.
Well crafted business savey singer song writer Brigitte Purdy is on a mission to help establish an equal opportunity for all seeking to be heard in the music industry. Brigitte has been in the business since the age of 13 when she took her first role as Maria in West Side Story at the Dorthy Chandlier Pavillion. Growing up int he Los Angeles entertainment industry since a child has afforded her a well rounded perspective of "the business". She has performed with Dolly Parton, Kenny Rodgers, Dionne Warwick. As well as background vocals for The Who, Paul Rodger and Peer Publishing Company. In 2018 she released her first album "Still I Rise" which made the first round of voting for a Grammy Nomination, won an L.A. Critics Award for Best Blues Album, Best Female Blues Artist. She has her degree in Humanies. Dedicating herself to the servitute of others is a life long goal. Volunteering for Rock Camp for Girls, and was a Mentor for Untied by Music during the Special Olympics.
Lea Gilmore, Named by ESSENCE MAGAZINE as one of “25 Women Shaping the World,” Lea Gilmore is one of the world’s most respected and in-demand Gospel, Blues, Jazz and Inspirational vocalists; writers, social justice advocate and lecturer on human rights. It has been said that “Lea Gilmore’s rich and passionate voice is a gift from her soul to our ears.” Ms. Gilmore has lent her voice, literally and figuratively, to advocacy for the underserved around the world and in her own backyard. Known for her exquisite voice, bright smile, quick wit, and infectious sense of humor, Lea is also a winner of the Blues Foundation’s “Keeping the Blues Alive” (The “Grammies” of the Blues) award for her historical work on the contributions of women to the Blues.
In recognition of Ms. Gilmore’s dedication to equality and justice, she was recently named one of the first recipients of the James Baldwin Medal for Civil Rights. She served four terms on the Maryland Advisory Board for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, has worked diligently for reproductive justice for Native American women (all women), and is a staunch and vocal supporter for marriage equality and gay and lesbian rights. In 2011, Lea won the “Ally of the Year” award from Equality Maryland for her dedication and work for the LGBTQ communities. Ms Gilmore received the “Consumer Advocate of the Year” Award from the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition in November 2013, and was named one of the “Top 100 Women in Maryland” by The Daily Record for 2014. Lea has held many senior positions in advocacy, including the former Deputy Director of the ACLU of Maryland, Director of Diversity and Outreach for the National Abortion Federation. Lea also directed and managed the African American Philanthropy Initiative while the Program Director for the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (ABAG)
Michael Reynosa: The company SwiftEyes Innovation, Inc®. founded in 2014 by Michael Reynosa, owns and operates Yippee Ki-Ay Blues. It’s official business is promotional activities. Heavily influenced by use of state-of-the-art technology skills and experienced from a distinctive 35 year career with Fortune 500 Companies and Department of Defense. SwiftEyes Innovation, Inc. offers their clients something not found elsewhere. The company is well versed in the Software/Mechanical Engineering domains with skills in the following areas: 3D Virtual World Meta-verse Design and Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, Live-Streaming, Augmented Reality, Mixed-Reality, Mobile App Development, Graphics Design, and Web Development.
WiB Board V.P. 2019 - Tom Watson MD
Tom Watson, is a family physician in central Florida, a blues lover and musician, and a student of the history of the blues in general, and of women in blues in particular. He is developing a website called Heritage Blues to record and celebrate the history and future of the blues, and manages the Facebook group “Harmonica Masters,” dedicated to the world’s outstanding harmonica players. He appreciates the importance of the history, impact and future of women in blues, and seeks to help recognize their contributions and promote their success.
Lori was in the legal business for the last 20+ years of her working life and is now retired. She worked in corporate collections. Two of the lawyers she worked for wanted to leave and open their own firm and wanted her to come as senior paralegal and partner. Her area of expertise was to get new clients to build the new firm. The law firm started with 2 clients and when she left after 6 years it had over 200. So one of the things she brings to the Board is her ability to get new sponsors.
Lori's love of the blues started at an extremely young age as she grew up in a home full of it. Her mother loved blues and jazz and as a result she grew up with the sounds of Etta James, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Billy Eckstein, just to name a few.
Lori had a very serious heart attack in 2013 rendering her useless to do anything for three months. Surfing Facebook for blues groups to join she ran across National Women in Blues page and that would set her on an entirely different course that she continues today.
She started her writing career with Cashbox Magazine then went on to write for Blues-E-News where she featured an interview on its 25 best women in blues, she was chosen to interview a woman she never heard of but in typical Lori style she picked up the phone, interviewed Val Starr, who ended up to be one of her best friends in the wonderful women in blues. Lori has a knack to zero in on the right things to ask of her women in blues. She currently writes interviews for Blue Monday Monthly out of Minnesota, still conducting interviews, still supporting women in blues.
Lori then decided to open her own promo business called Broads 4 Blues where she only works with Indie women in blues. She goes over and above her job as publicist by imparting knowledge on the artists on exactly what they need to do to succeed in a business still largely dominated by men. She made her rates affordable, she guided new women through the music process and worked with veteran women in blues.
Lori has dedicated the last 6 years to working with women in blues working life to women in blues and says she is committed to continue doing the same. Her dream is to be a part of bringing back a women in blues concert to Wilmington NC. To say she is honored to have been voted to the Board of Directors for National Women in Blues was a great honor is an understatement and her past skills both in and out of the blues will prove to be an asset to the Board.
By day, Marie is a corporate leader for an international finance company, leading teams in the US and India. By night and weekends, Marie is the media correspondent for Larry Griffith Band in Atlanta, GA.
10 years ago, a broken heart brought Marie to the blues and she hasn't looked back. She set out on a mission to learn the business side of the blues music industry and plug in to where she could assist local artists in the vibrant Atlanta market. Diving into the DIY life of an independent artist, she has worn many hats. She has done everything from social media, video, merchandising, music distribution and when forced on stage introductions! Part of that learning was to network with others behind the scenes. Five years ago, she responded to a request for volunteers to assist with the Women in Blues showcase at IBCs and she's shown up every year since, growing her responsibilities and sharing her project management skills from her day job with the organization.
President/CBW - Michele Seidman
Michele Seidman, President/CBW created the National Women in Blues in 2006 after seeking female mentors in the blues world. this movement and mission were needed to level the playing field for women in blues. She started as an actress (Empire Records, Little Mouth To Feed, Dawsons Creek, Arthur Newman, Golf Pro, Another Life), and is the former (and first) Director of Film Studies for CFCC. Her band Michele and the Midnight Blues were on radio around the world when they participated in the 2006 International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tn. Currently directing & producing indie film, music events and live-streams. A founding member of CFIFN, served as a programmer for Cucalorus Film Festival, Associate Member of the Board for the Cape Fear Film Makers Accord, CBW/President for The National Women in Blues, former Board of Directors Tedx Hamsptead, and Winner of the 2010 Wayne Bradley Creative Spirit Award. Former Associate member of the Cape Fear Filmmakers Accord.