Kansas City, Mo. (November 3, 2022) – Folk Alliance International (FAI), a 501(c)3 foremost global nonprofit for folk music, is pleased to announce that its new Executive Director will be Neeta Ragoowansi after a national search led by Arts Consulting Group starting her new role on December 5.
Ragoowansi has been an attorney and music business professional for over thirty years, serving as a strategic advisor, business development resource, and legal counsel to entertainment and tech industry clients as well as in leadership and senior management roles for several music industry nonprofits. Neeta will be heading FAI, having most recently served as Senior Counsel, Legal & Business Affairs to nonprofit Global Citizen and will continue to serve in a volunteer capacity as President of Music Managers Forum – US (MMF-US) and a Global Co-Chair for Women in Music as well as Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force for the American Bar Association’s Forum on the Entertainment & Sports Industries.
Under Neeta’s new leadership, FAI will endeavor to expand its global reach and partnerships, as well as provide further expansion of its programs for education and access to networks and finances, and reinforce its role as a connection point between music and impact-driven activism. “I am thrilled and honored to be taking on the leadership role at an organization I have loved dearly since the 1990’s. I look forward to growing FAI and its global structure even further to reach, serve, and connect our music communities and expand our partnerships globally, while mobilizing our service to find more ways to creatively collaborate, activate new and stable digital-led revenue streams, foster and engage innovation, awareness and action, and improve the world around us. I will continue to emphasize that it is crucial for our industry organizations to take the lead and make committed investment in sourcing its participants, members and leaders from a diverse cross-section of our community, promoting plurality and creating inclusive initiatives. Strategically and actively engaging in these efforts will make the most transformative impact on our industry.” said Ragoowansi.
Among her many accomplishments, Neeta was instrumental in establishing multiple Women in Music chapters globally in her leadership role there, including in South Africa, Romania, Nigeria, and India, and her leadership role at Music Managers Forum – US resulted in immense growth in the organization’s operations, membership, and suite of educational and networking resources and offerings, with a keen focus on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts for artist managers and self-managed artists.
“I am so excited for the future of FAI! Neeta is a true force in the music community; her experience and passion to serve and connect music communities will help shepherd a new chapter for Folk Alliance International,” says FAI’s Board President, Ashley Shabankareh. “We feel very lucky to have found Neeta, and we look forward to the work she’ll do for and with the folk community.”
Neeta was also formerly founding head of artist-label relations for SoundExchange, tirelessly educating artists and their teams as well as independent labels globally for over eight years regarding digital performance rights and their new streams of revenue. Neeta also served as Assistant General Counsel for The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National Symphony Orchestra Association and was a former board governor for ten-plus years for The Recording Academy (New York and DC chapters). Neeta currently serves on the advisory boards of International Music Managers Forum (IMMF), Gritty in Pink, IAFAR, SIM São Paulo, and India-based conference All About Music. Neeta has served as panelist/speaker at over three hundred music industry conferences on the global music business, legal and copyright topics as well as women’s leadership and empowerment. She is also a performing musician and songwriter with her band Oxymorons.
Aengus Finnan had previously served as Eexecutive Ddirector for eight years, ushering in the Keychange Initiative (gender parity) for Folk Alliance International programming and encouraging other folk institutions to follow suit; diversifying staff, the board of directors, membership, and conference attendees; advocating for the folk genre at the GRAMMYs, and more.
Head of the search committee Lisa Schwartz said, “It has been my complete honor to chair the Executive Director Search Committee and to work alongside my FAI colleagues to find our new Executive Director. I am convinced that nothing we have done is more important than the successful culmination of this search. Someone once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy, and in Neeta Ragoowansi, we have found someone who has all three of these qualities and so much more! Neeta brings a wealth of experience to our FAI community, and I look forward to her joining our incredible staff and leading us into the future!”
Folk Alliance International has previously announced the Official Showcase lineup, keynote speaker, and City of Honor for its 35th annual conference, to take place February 1-5, 20232.
About Folk Alliance International:
Founded in 1989, and governed by a 21-member board of directors, Folk Alliance International (FAI) is the world’s largest membership organization for the folk music industry and community. Its mission is to serve, strengthen, and engage the global folk music community through preservation, presentation, and promotion.
FAI values diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, is committed to gender parity in all its programming, celebrates multiple languages and cultures, and actively welcomes participation from marginalized, disenfranchised, and underrepresented communities.
FAI defines folk broadly as “the music of the people” (reflective of any community they are from), and programs a diverse array of sub-genres including, but not limited to Appalachian, Americana, Blues, Bluegrass, Celtic, Cajun, Global Roots, Hip-Hop, Old-Time, Singer-Songwriter, Spoken Word, Traditional, Zydeco, and various fusions.
FAI produces the International Folk Music Awards (IFMAs), an Artist in Residence (AIR) program, The Folk ExChange global market development program, the Ethno USA gathering, and the world’s largest annual folk music conference (drawing 3,332 delegates from 41 countries in January 2020).
Additionally, FAI provides advocacy, education, and professional development for over 4,000 members and oversees an IRS Group Exemption program in support of over 50 US non-profits.