Blake is a Virginia Beach native and an alum of Morehouse College. Prior to joining Friends At Work, Blake worked in the office of Mark Burnett at MGM studios and produced TV shows with Bunin Murray Productions. For the past 6 years, he has fostered relationships with some of the top companies and leaders in the entertainment world. In his spare time, Blake likes to travel, read, learn about foreign cultures, and watch copious amounts of youtube videos.
Sarah Eagle Heart is a powerful storyteller whose deep perspective on healing trauma is rooted in her life story and experiences as a teen activist raised on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. She is a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, CEO for Native Americans in Philanthropy, and an internationally accomplished executive focused on education and advocacy on behalf of Indigenous Peoples. Ms. Eagle Heart’s experience working at grassroots nonprofits, corporate tribal organizations, and large international non-governmental organizations has allowed her the unique vantage point to amplify impact.
As a former member of the staff of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church headquartered in New York City, Ms. Eagle Heart served diverse and faith-based communities internationally. She focused on supporting healing and cross sectional public policy initiatives for over a decade, including sparking the world wide movement of the Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery.
In an era in which history with Indigenous Peoples has been omitted from most school systems, Ms. Eagle Heart shares her own traditional cultural knowledge to help organizations understand and navigate the essential need for cross-cultural communication, mutual respect, partnership, collaboration, community development, education and advocacy.
Ms. Eagle Heart believes as the original resistors and ultimate survivors, Indigenous Peoples have critical cultural knowledge for movements today.
Following in the footsteps of Lorde and Tove Lo, the 22-year-old pop upstart was named one of Spotify’s Spotlight acts alongside rising stars such as Troye Sivan and Gallant in 2016 based off of the breakout of her #1 viral track “War Paint.” Within the year, she released her debut Finding Fletcher EP with now over 1M playlists of support and nearly 50M streams to date. Recent release “Princess” has earned her comparisons to Sia, Katy Perry and Rachel Platten. Furthermore, it’s helped land her in V Magazine as “pop’s next breakout act,” in TIME’s “Musicians to Watch for 2017” and in Entertainment Weekly twice this month, this week alongside Dua Lipa in “Breaking Big in 2017.” FLETCHER will appear in February 2017’s “One’s to Watch” with PEOPLE, who proclaimed her “Jennifer Lawrence of Music.”
Since 2007, brothers Eric and Jeff Rosenthal, collectively known as the hip-hop sketch comedians ItsTheReal, have flooded the internet with viral sketch comedy videos, longform podcast episodes, and short absurdist interviews. In working with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Cam’ron, from Jojo to Pete Wentz, from Slaughterhouse to J.Cole, they’ve racked up millions of views, hundreds of thousands of followers, and a great number of ridiculous stories along the way.
And perhaps most impressively, ItsTheReal’s original music has taken on a life of its own: their critically celebrated mixtape with DJ Drama, Urbane Outfitters, Vol. 1, put them on the front page of The New York Times’ arts section, put them on stage at Bonnaroo, and put their music videos everywhere from Buzzfeed to Revolt TV.
ItsTheReal is currently finishing recording their next mixtape, hosting a popular new podcast, and developing several TV projects.
Madame Gandhi is an LA-based electronic music artist and activist who uses her drums and vocals to elevate and celebrate the female voice. Having gained recognition as the former drummer for M.I.A. and as the iconic free-bleeding runner combatting menstrual stigma at the 2015 London Marathon, Madame Gandhi now writes her own electronic music.
Kiran works with co-producer Alexia Riner, a sound designer and graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, to create the unique and dynamic Madame Gandhi sound. Each song features Kiran’s drums, vocals and percussion, backed by the intricate electronic sound scapes developed by her collaborator.
This project is the homecoming of Kiran’s passions for music, feminism and business.
Upon graduating from Georgetown University in 2011, Kiran put her math degree to work and went on to serve as Interscope Records’ first-ever digital analyst. Here she spent 2 years reporting on patterns in YouTube and Spotify data so that some of the top artists in the world like Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga would be able to better understand how to market and sell their music.
In 2013, she linked up with artist M.I.A, who was signed to Interscope, and toured the world as her drummer on the Matangi Album Tour. At the same time, Kiran was accepted to Harvard’s prestigious MBA program, and decided to pursue both simultaneously.
Kiran spent her second year at Harvard Business School running a music hackathon program called Music Minds, and consulted for several music industry companies. She also started training for the London Marathon.
In April 2015, she arrived at the start line of the 2015 London Marathon and realized she had her period. Seizing the opportunity to turn an unfortunate event into a symbolic feminist act, Kiran decided to run the entire 26.2 miles bleeding freely to combat menstrual stigma around the world. The marathon was a success and her story went completely viral, sparking a global conversation about how we treat menstruation in various cultures.
After graduating from Harvard in 2015, Kiran spent the past year traveling the world to write and speak about menstrual stigma. During this landmark year, she finished writing her debut EP, “Voices”, to be launched in fall 2106.
As she explains with her theory of “Atomic Living”, spontaneity can be used productively if we are guided by our own intuition. “Stigma is one of the most effective forms of oppression because it denies us the ability to act according to our own intuition and speak comfortably and confidently about our own experiences. My mission is to elevate and celebrate the female voice.”
With a powerhouse voice and a whole lot of soul, Ireland-born and Los Angeles-based Rooty found the missing link between gritty nineties R&B a la Lauryn Hill and seventies songwriter storytelling reminscent of Carole King. The musical journey of artist, songwriter, and performer Ruth-Anne Cunningham has been marked by fearlessness. By the age of seven, she regularly took the mic at karaoke bars, winning free drinks for mom and dad. Moving to Los Angeles at 17, she kicked off her career penning music for other artists. In 2007, she achieved the ASCAP Songwriters “Best Pop Song” Award for writing JoJo’s “Too Little Too Late.” Rooty continued with a string of smashes including Britney Spears’s RIAA platinum certified “Work Bitch,” One Direction’s “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” and “No Control,” and Martin Garrix & Bebe Rexha’s “In The Name Of Love” which just went platinum. She also lent her voice to “Love’s Just A Feeling” from Lindsey’ Stirling’s 2016 chart-topping third full-lenght album Brave Enough.
Cynthia Erivo is a multiple award-winning actress who has made a name for herself on both West End and Broadway stages.
Erivo made her Broadway debut reprising her starring role as ‘Celie’ in the critically acclaimed revival of “The Color Purple.” She first played the role in 2013 at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, earning rave reviews and an Evening Standard Theatre Award nomination for Best Musical Performance and a WhatsOnStage Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. Her performance on Broadway earned her the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, as well as the Drama Desk Award, Theatre World and Outer Critics Circle Awards, Grammy nomination and a Drama League Award nomination. The cast album is nominated for a 2017 Grammy award.
Cynthia performed at The 39th annual Kennedy Center Honors broadcast on CBS where she sang an illustrious rendition of “The Impossible Dream” in honor of JFK’s 100 birthday.
Cynthia is also an accomplished songwriter, having written the song, “Fly Before You Fall,” for the 2014 feature film “Beyond the Lights,” which she also performed.
In the spring 2017, Erivo will co-star opposite Viola Davis in the Steve McQueen directed film “Widows.” A UK native, Erivo graduated from the famed Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
Lindsey Stirling remains fearless enough to always dream big. In four years since the release of her 2012 self-titled debut, the electronic music impresario, classically trained violinist, dancer, and artist quietly and humbly became one of the 21st century’s most innovative stars by clinging to her groundbreaking vision of cinematic violin-driven electronic music. After bowing at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on the Dance/Electronic Album Chart, holding #1 on the Classical Album Chart for 21 consecutive weeks, and receiving a Billboard Music Award for “Top Dance/Electronic Album,” her sophomore opus Shatter Me would not only garner an RIAA Gold certification, but it would rank as the #2 Dance/Electronic Album and #1 Classical Album on Billboard’s 2015 Year-End charts. Attracting nearly 8 million subscribers and 1.3 billion-plus views on YouTube by 2016, Forbes placed Lindsey at #4 on its yearly YouTube artists list, making her the highest-ranked female. Her headline tours would play to a cumulative audience of over 500,000 people worldwide, and her literary debut The Only Pirate at the Party—co-written with her sister Brook S. Passey—became a New York TimesBestseller.
When it came time to begin work on her third full-length album, Brave Enough [Lindsey Stomp Music, LLC], she took a look at her journey thus far and asked herself an important question…. “I basically wrote Shatter Me about overcoming my anorexia,” she admits. “So, I thought, ‘What’s the next step of the process?’ I realized that breaking free is just the beginning. In order to continue through the journey you have to decide every day not to crawl back into that shell when things get tough. It’s easy to fall into our old habits. You can’t feel true joy, if you numb the bad. Brave Enough is a continuation of the story. It draws on the same contrast of light versus dark, but the flow is very different. It starts in a place of less surety. As the record progresses, it softens and turns more optimistic and hopeful. I’m way closer to the place I’m seeking than when I started this album.”
“I want people to feel like they can be brave enough do the things they want to do,” she leaves off. “Everybody has hopes and dreams. Teach yourself to gain the courage you may not have in the moment. This record is proof you can.”
Ciara is a Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, producer, actress, model and entertainer. Over her thirteen year career, she has sold over 23 million records and 16 million singles worldwide, including chart-topping hits “Goodies,” “Ride,” “Oh,” “1, 2 Step,” and “Body Party.” “I Bet,” from her 2015 album, Jackie, added to Ciara’s list of 27-charted hits. Known for her stellar dance abilities and choreography, Ciara has been dubbed the “Queen of Dance.”
Ciara is not only known for her vocal talent and serious dance moves, but also for her beauty. A regular at New York and Paris fashion weeks, Vogue previously named her the “new fashion icon”. In May 2016, Ciara signed with IMG Models. Ciara was the face of the Roberto Cavalli Fall/Winter 2015-2016 campaign, the first U.S. Ambassador to TOPSHOP, a part of the Ladies First KEDS campaign in 2016, and most recently, she was named Revlon’s Global Brand Ambassador. A longtime muse for Givenchy and Roberto Cavalli, Ciara has been on the cover of L’Officiel Paris, Harper’s Bazaar, L’uomo Vogue, SHAPE, and more.
When Ciara isn’t working with a major fashion house or out on tour, she is a devoted philanthropist who is dedicated to improving the lives of children and empowering women across the globe.
Alicia Keys is a 15-time Grammy® Award-winning singer/songwriter/producer, an accomplished actress, a New York Times best-selling author, an entrepreneur and a powerful force in the world of activism. On May 4th, 2016, Keys released her critically-acclaimed new single “In Common.” The song is from Keys’ forthcoming highly-anticipated sixth studio album, due out later this year on RCA Records. Keys will join the judges panel on NBC’s “The Voice” for its 11th season, which premieres on September 19, 2016, alongside Miley Cyrus, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton. In September 2014, Keys launched We Are Here, a movement that empowers the global community around a host of issues and initiatives building a better world where all people are heard, respected, equal, and treated with dignity. Keys also co-founded Keep a Child Alive (KCA) and serves as Global Ambassador for the organization.
Ohio-born John Legend is a critically acclaimed, multi-award winning, platinum-selling singer-songwriter. His work has garnered him ten Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, the BET Award for Best New Artist and the special Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame, among others. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania where he studied English and African-American literature, Legend participated in a wide range of musical activities while in college. During the same period, Legend was introduced to Lauryn Hill, who hired him to play piano on her track “Everything Is Everything,” and shortly thereafter he began to play shows around the Philadelphia area, eventually expanding his audience base to New York, Boston, Atlanta and Washington D.C.
After college, Legend was introduced to then up-and-coming hip-hop artist Kanye West, who quickly signed Legend to his G.O.O.D. Music imprint and hired him to sing vocal hooks on some of his music. This began a stretch of chart-topping hits including Wests “All of the Lights”, Jay-Z’s “Encore” as well as John’s first hit single “Ordinary People” which scored Legend multiple Grammy Awards in 2006. Continuing this momentum John has won several Grammy Awards from his releases “Heaven”, “Green Light” and Wake Up, which won for Best R&B Album of 2010. Legend’s highly acclaimed fourth and most current studio album Love In the Future, features “All of Me,” Legend’s highest selling and charting song to date, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #1 on both Mainstream Top 40 and Rhythmic charts. Most recently, Legend won his first Academy Award, first Golden Globe Award, a Grammy award, and a Critic’s Choice Award for his song “Glory,” that he wrote and performed with Common, for the film SELMA.
Natasha is a Maryland native and Los Angeles newbie who graduated from Syracuse University in 2015 with a BFA in Art Photography. She first fell in love with the art after receiving a Pentax ME Super film camera from her mother for her 14th birthday. This love grew after she spent the summers of 2009 and 2010 in Macedonia and Morocco, respectively, working as an English language instructor for the non-profit Camp Excell.
Part of the Internet generation, she was exposed to social media for personal use at a young age and was a self-proclaimed “Myspace master” by the age of 13. Today, she combines her innate creative and social media intuition as the digital coordinator for Friends at Work.
Her previous social media work includes the Syracuse Chiefs (Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals), Special Olympics World Games, and the entertainment advertising company Trailer Park.
Beyond her passion for photography and social media, she loves dogs, traveling, fighting the patriarchy and buffalo wings from Wings Over Syracuse.
Jamie Heaslip graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2013, and worked as personal assistant to various talents in the film and music industries. She served as consultant for Sundance Institute’s Episodic Story Lab, and as Premieres category coordinator in the Sundance Festival Film Office. She joined Friends at Work in 2016.
Steven was born and raised in Connecticut before migrating south to the University of Miami. From there, he joined Atom Factory’s Digital team in 2014. Steven continues his Digital work at Friends at Work while also managing Madame Gandhi.
Born and raised in Strafford, NH, Zach developed a love for music at a very young age. Since arriving in Los Angeles in May of 2014 he has worked closely with Ty Stiklorius and Adina Friedman, and now serves as a day-to-day manager and a valued member of the Lindsey Stirling team.
Lee is an award-winning filmmaker and dad joke enthusiast hailing from Boston, MA. An honors graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, he fell in love with LA during a summer internship at The Walt Disney Studios. Prior to joining the Friends At Work team, Lee served as Head of Digital Content for Atom Factory, where he built the original content department from the ground up. He is a big proponent of impromptu guitar jam sessions.
Ashaya Robinson is the associate creative manager at Friends at Work. Prior to joining the team at Friends at Work, Ashaya worked in both music management as well as film production. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Ashaya is a lover of the arts and is passionate about helping artists share their talent with the world. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, catching a movie and spending time with family and friends.
Los Angeles native John Warren is an entertainment industry “lifer” who spent most of his youth participating in local theater as either a performer or member of the stage crew, before landing his first professional paid job as part of a Broadway play in New York City. When John wasn’t working in theater he was hanging out with crewmembers, soaking up as much knowledge as he could. His interest in entertainment soon expanded from theater to live music when he became a “Roadie” on tour with legendary artists such as The Grateful Dead, Crosby Stills and Nash, John Fogerty, The Beach Boys and many others. He eventually rose to the level of Tour Manager and Tour Accountant for artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Brian Wilson, The Lumineers and Lady Gaga. Currently John serves as Tour Manager/Tour Accountant for John Legend as well as Head of the Touring Department at Friends At Work.
Brooklyn resident Katrina Bello is a DC native and a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. She has a background in international marketing that includes positions at Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. When she’s not exploring ways to grow her client’s careers, she enjoys live music, travel, health & wellness, and the company of friends and family.
From the moment he picked up an electric bass at age 14, Jeremy Gruber has had a passion for music and the arts. After graduating with a degree in Music Industry from USC, Jeremy started his career in artist management and marketing at Sabre Entertainment where he helped manage the corporate career of legendary drummer Mick Fleetwood. Jeremy went on to run the Digital Department for 10th Street Entertainment and Eleven Seven Music while working with marquis rock bands Mötley Crüe, JET and Blondie. In 2010 he joined leading independent label Concord Music Group, helping establish the direct to consumer team and later building the Digital Marketing & Strategy Department, working with legendary artists such as Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Gregg Allman and James Taylor, before becoming Head of Digital Marketing & Strategy with Friends At Work. Jeremy has spent over a decade working with artists at all levels while growing their businesses through a combination of traditional marketing and cutting-edge technology.
Named for renowned Jazz artist John Coltrane’s classic composition, music has always been tightly woven throughout Naima Cochrane’s life. After first earning her professional stripes as an intern at Bad Boy Entertainment, she moved on and grew in the marketing departments of Arista Records, Columbia Records, and eventually Epic Records. Through her career she worked on and/or spearheaded the marketing for groundbreaking projects and heralded artists including Outkast, Usher, P!nk, Maxwell, Beyonce, Odd Future, Jidenna, and John Legend – a relationship that ultimately prompted her to move to the management side of the business and join Friends at Work, where she now handles Legend’s Day to Day operations and lends her marketing and label insight across all platforms of the company.
In her spare time, Naima mentors both young adults and young executives; voraciously consumes all things pop culture & politics; eats unhealthy amounts of candy; sings loudly; dances with abandon; and finds reasons to laugh until her stomach hurts.
Blythe Scokin is a Nashville, TN native who loves pop culture and politics. She began her career at WME Entertainment in Los Angeles, where she worked with a variety of high-level music, film, and fashion clients over three and a half years. Blythe participated in signing up-and-coming music acts including Raury, Jidenna, and The Shadowboxers, as well as aided in branded and musical marketing plans for artists such as Alicia Keys, Duran Duran, and Janelle Monae. At Friends at Work, Blythe is a manager to Ciara. She passionate about helping artists unlock their creative potential across all platforms in order to make their vision become a reality.
Detroit native and Friends At Work Partner, Adina Friedman began her career as a college marketing rep for Atlantic Records before her hard work and resourcefulness quickly propelled her to a full-time position at Warner Music’s New York office. There she rapidly rose through the ranks, eventually landing in Warner’s Direct to Consumer department managing the online presence of industry heavyweights such as Paramore, Bruno Mars, and Shinedown. After moving to indie start-up tinyOGRE, Adina caught the attention of John Legend’s management, who brought her to Los Angeles to become a key member of their team. Her career then took her to Troy Carter’s entertainment company Atom Factory where she began working with Lindsey Stirling and helped spearhead the artist’s growth and success. Based on Adina’s impressive history, it’s no surprise to anyone that she has already made a positive impact here at Friends At Work.
Rob English is a Cultural Change Specialist. Starting his career in traditional advertising he learned the mechanics of Brand Architecture and audience development while working on Fortune 500 brands such as Volkswagen, Vitamin Water and Reebok. Specializing in brand development, he has a proven passion for breakthrough creative that can penetrate elusive and rapidly evolving targets such as youth, tech and fashion. Rob led the creative vision of Vitamin Water’s first national advertising campaign with 50 Cent. Following this he was an agency creative lead in the Lifestyle division of Reebok which included women’s fashion and their legendary music programs. Through this work Rob’s brand and culture talents were utilized to launch the Ice Cream Skate Shoe brand with Pharrell Williams, Scarlett Hearts with Scarlett Johansson, S. Carter with Jay Z and the G-Unit brand with 50 Cent. This path soon led Rob to leave the traditional advertising space and begin working directly with artists and cultural figures. Establishing a more nimble approach to branding and artist campaign development he creative directed marketing campaigns for Lady Gaga through her retail experience “Gaga’s Workshop” with Barney’s New York and her global perfume launch called Lady Gaga FAME. Rob went on to creative direct projects for many other artists and initiatives over the last few years including John Legend, John Mayer and Meghan Traynor. Rob has been balancing Lifestyle with his passion for Social Impact through his work with John Legend on LRNG which is the evolution of learning and #FREEAMERICA, Legend’s campaign for criminal justice reform. In his “spare time” Rob is a member of the LA based audio/ visual project DE SIGNER where he has been able to collaborate on music, event and experiential projects with several high fashion brands including Yves Saint Laurent, Dior and Armani.
As Alicia Keys’s business partner for nearly 16 years, Erika Rose Santoro is instrumental in the development and creative endeavors of the artist. Prior to joining Keys on the business side in 2001 as Road Manager, Erika co-penned the hit single “A Woman’s Worth” off of Alicia’s first studio album. Since then, she has proved to be an invaluable, hands-on leader as she’s successfully helped shape the 15-time Grammy®-winning musician’s impressive répertoire. Her skill in artistic management spans every facet of Keys’s career— from creative conception of new albums to world tours, film and stage production, as well as the philanthropic initiatives she co-founded; Keep A Child Alive and The We Are Here Movement. Beyond Artist Management, Rose-Santoro shares her life with her husband and child on their farm in Upstate New York, where she leads women’s yoga retreats.
CFO and COO Jonas Stiklorius knows a great idea when he sees one. So when his sister, Ty, asked him to join her in launching Friends At Work, Jonas immediately left a successful 15-year career in corporate management and never looked back. Previously, Jonas served as Managing Director in the Corporate Restructuring Practice at Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) before moving to Lehman Brother’s where he played a key role as Lehman’s COO of Real Estate. While at Lehman, Jonas helped build and manage a team of over 75 real estate professionals responsible for assets across a broad range of property types and in various stages of development. Jonas’s background in restructuring and consulting affords him a wide range of management and financial experience in a variety of industries. His clients beyond Lehman have included companies in real estate development and homebuilding, consumer products, textiles, technology and aircraft manufacturing.
Friends At Work Founder and CEO Ty Stiklorius has spent her career helping creative vision thrive. Ty is the longtime manager of luminary recording artist and philanthropist John Legend. Ty’s work with John Legend began in 2006 with the formation of JL Ventures (JLV), which focuses on brand strategy, technology, business development and social impact that builds on and enhances John Legend’s unique multidisciplinary talents and desire for positive change. This partnership has lead to efforts such as The Show Me Campaign, which seeks to give every child access to quality education, and the #FREEAMERICA campaign, a movement to change the United States’ criminal justice system by ending mass incarceration. In 2012, Ty formed a partnership with Troy Carter and served as Co-President of Atom Factory, a diversified entertainment company and later launched Friends At Work. Ty also serves as one of the principals in Get Lifted Film Co., a film and television production company based in Los Angeles.