We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Whealy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lisa, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Integrity is everything. My word is my bond, -like in James Barrie’s classic Peter Pan. In my opinion, once people lose faith, this could mean the death of a brand or business in today’s volatile times.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Mountain Entertainment, my media services company, provided an opportunity for me to pursue self-employment since 2007. With a background in public relations, I am also a music journalist. As an academic, I have broadened my knowledge base to include an extensive foundation in market analytics, branding, and strategic planning. The pandemic’s impact on our society revealed some areas that cannot be ignored. Culturally, the arts serve to increase humanity’s psychological well being. Food insecurity integrating technology as a means of mitigating the challenges seems hopeful, yet the problem of hunger in America has grown exponentially under the current administration. My goal is looking to others for strategies that work like the UK’s Passenger whose release Patchwork benefits UK charity Trussel Trust. For that reason, I am focused on pursuing work in the non-profit sector, potentially leading to my pursuit of a doctorate.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week-long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Now living in Tucson, Arizona I love being close to Reid Park Zoo. Unfortunately, it is not currently open because of the pandemic.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love, and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Words cannot express my gratitude to the faculty at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism who provided opportunities to learn from professionals and academics in conjunction with my recent master’s degree. Austrian businessman Philip Mertl of Globe Environment Technologies shared an opportunity with me, allowing me to develop a global marketing proposal for proprietary plastics waste management technology strategies. Waste management is poised to be the world’s growth industry projected to reach in the next five years, $484.9 billion (Cision, 2019). India’s waste management and recycling industry are projected to grow from a nearly nonexistent industry to a major global growth market projected t to USD 4.61 billion. Venture capitalists like Mertl are rare treasures! Returning to academia after years in the music business, the chance to work with associates like Kevin Calabro’s Royal Potato Family Records and Michael Zimmerlich’s 80/20 Records brought together ways I was able to learn from their successful incumbent business models. Their open-minded willingness to take time out, connecting, and communicating, was Priceless! My final research was to study music’s power as an art form during times of crisis. I think we all understand the disruptions of 2020, from COVID-19, racial justice, or the election. This research study sought to understand the role of music as a means of communication through the creation of shared experiences, especially online through streaming platforms. Therefore, the real shout-out goes to the musicians participating in interviews and focus groups during my concluding research on music as a means of connecting during a crisis. Individual interviewees J.R. Richards (Dishwalla), Ben Morrison and Erika Tjetjen (TERRIER/The Brothers Comatose/T Sisters), and Kash Cole (The Stakes/Mango Skies Productions), Elia Bisker (Charming Disaster/Funkhurst Brass Band), Curtis Eller (Curtis Eller’s American Circus/ The Bipeds), Grover Anderson (Grover Anderson), Tony Lucca (Tony Lucca Music), Seth Walker (Seth Walker Music), Gabe Kabunda (Gabe Kabunda Music), Todd Middleman (Break the Robot), and Kevin Calabro (Calabro Music Media/Royal Potato Family). Michael Zimmerlich (80/20 Records) helped facilitate engaging conversation revealing themes both the artists and online communities shared. A sacred, spiritual, intimate, connection is created through live music communions. The ability to find sense and meaning during unprecedented circumstances we are facing seem a little easier to cope with, together through music.
All photographs were provided by the artists during the process of my research along with signed informed consent documentation. My profile photograph includes a custom blazer from James Freeborn of Freeborn Designs, originally made for my graduate receptions at USC that were subsequently canceled. The Rebel Lounge photograph was taken as part of my pre-graduation celebration on May 15, 2020. My sister and I chose to visit one of my favorite Phoenix, Arizona music venues, The Rebel Lounge. Owner Stephen Chilton’s response to the challenges his venue faced created the opportunity to donate towards a marquee message, funding staff salaries. Chilton’s leadership looking for a solution towards sustainability for independently owned performance venues led to the creation of the National Independent Venue Association. The non-profit’s goal to encourage policy change in Washington for this business often falling through any arts endowment or small business funding also recognized the importance of these performance spaces in creating sustainable urban ecologies that surround the art space itself. Thus, why I chose to highlight one of the most impactful achievements in my life with our collective opportunity to create change.