Our Story

Our Vision

A world where music is a catalyst for all children to unlock their unique potential.


Incorporated as 501c3 “Musical Empowerment”
Wake Forest University Chapter Founded
Hunter College Chapter Founded
High Point Chapter Merged with Wake Forest Chapter

Meredith Richard Scholarship

The Meredith Richard Scholarship was established by previous Musical Empowerment board chair, Bernard Glassman, to honor Musical Empowerment’s first Executive Director, Meredith Richard. Meredith transformed Musical Empowerment from a small student organization to a national nonprofit serving hundreds of children each year. In the spirit of Meredith’s hard work and dedication, this scholarship has been created in her name to benefit a young musician at Musical Empowerment who demonstrates the same passion and commitment to music education.

This award supports one year of music lessons (up to $2,500) for a deserving student who strives for music excellence. The scholarship will be paid directly to the certified, Musical Empowerment-approved music teacher who is selected by the student and mentor.

Donate directly to the scholarship fund here.

Apply Now


Board of Directors

Ayeza Nxumalo

Analytics Advisor at SAS

Musical Empowerment Board Chair, Ayeza, is a passionate and driven individual born in Manzini, Swaziland, and raised in Greensboro, NC. Since the age of 9, she has been involved in musical theatre, bringing her love for performing to the stage. Additionally, she played the clarinet for eight years, showcasing her passion for music. Ayeza received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Georgia State University and attended Wake Forest University, where she obtained her MBA. Currently, Ayeza enjoys using her problem-solving skills to help clients at SAS. 


Dr. Bryan Gilliam

Professor Emeritus of Music at Duke University

Inspired by his youth chamber ensemble, Bryan’s deep passion for music and history led him to earn a PhD from Harvard University and Honors in Music History from the University of Cincinnati. As an author, Bryan’s research focuses on various areas such as German opera, Viennese culture, Wagner, Strauss, Korngold, Weill, film music, and German musical aesthetics. Bryan is also a member of the East Chapel Hill Rotary Club and a board member of the North Carolina Opera Board of Directors.

Shaun Andrews

Founder of tech startup Mind HAC, Partner at Andrews Counseling & Consulting

Shaun Andrews has been a mental health advocate, educator, researcher, and community activist for minority children and young adults for over 20 years. While attending Winston Salem State University (WSSU) on a football scholarship, Shaun co-founded Black Men for Change which focused on providing college mentors for students in low-income areas of Winston Salem, NC.

Sally Hogan

Retired International Programs Executive, Bechtel Corporation

Sally Hogan spent over 3 decades at the Bechtel Group and travelled the world as an international Program Manager. Sally grew up in Indiana near a musical instrument manufacturer. Music has always been important in her life. Sally is a member of the Duke Chapel Choir and currently sings and plays the piano. Sally believes in the transformative power of music and is a patron of the arts.

Jaclyn Hage

Board Vice Chair, Director of Development at NC State Wilson College of Textiles

Jaclyn Hage is the Director of Development for NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles. She has seen the impact music has had on her husband (George Hage of Jack the Radio) and she wants everyone to have access to learn and make music. She took flute lessons as a child but is now more interested in learning drums. Jaclyn’s hidden talent is foraging for mushrooms and she loves snuggling her puppy, Goldie.

Lynn Huang

Rotational Development Associate at Blue Cross NC

Lynn Huang is a Senior Insights Analyst at Blue Cross NC and has degrees from both Dartmouth (2016 BA Biology) and NCSU (2021 Masters in Statistics). She has also served as a mentor for the Women in Science Project and can speak three languages (English, Mandarin, Spanish).  Lynn has been involved with music since starting piano lessons as a child and then learning the flute and the oboe.

Cody Lopez

Mid-Atlantic Relationship Manager Secured Tech Solutions

Cody Lopez is a music entertainment entrepreneur and seasoned advocate for youth mentorship. His nonprofit leadership experiences through 4-H and College Mentors for Kids have prepared him well for board service. Cody has a great appreciation for music and deep respect for mentorship. His college years as a mascot (Virginia Tech Hokie) and current gigs as a DJ prove that Cody’s enthusiasm and winning attitude will be a great addition to the M.E. team.

Demetrius Cox

Security Renewal Specialist at Cisco

Demetrius Cox advocates for youth development in his community of Wilson, NC, and serves on the Wilson Branch of The NAACP to create educational seminars highlighting the school-to-prison pipeline to advocate for policy reform. Demetrius also serves on the Board of Dee’s House, a nonprofit that serves children before starting elementary school. He is the youth leader at his church, Servants for Christ Ministries, in Garner, NC. Demetrius enjoys writing poetry and leading youth through mentorship in his spare time.


Kelley Downey

Executive Director

Inspired and supported by her childhood mentor, Kelley attended college and became a mentor herself with Musical Empowerment in 2019. She works closely with the Board of Directors and engages partners within the community to share the impact of music and mentorship. Her experience as a parent of 3 young children helps to offer a holistic perspective to the programming. She utilizes her degree in Graphic Communications to spread the word about the organization and hopes to one day welcome a chapter from her alma mater, Clemson University. A Goodmon Fellow, Kelley completed her Masters Level Course on Transforming Leaders through Leadership Triangle in Spring 2023.

Katie Battle

Program Director

A Summa Cum Laude graduate of Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, Katie joined Musical Empowerment’s team in July after 10 years as a music educator in the public school system (Oregon and Durham, North Carolina). The children she served came from a variety of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds ranging in age from kindergarteners to seniors in high school. Katie plays at least four instruments: the French horn, trumpet, violin and bass. As a teacher, Katie has long recognized the positive impact that a supportive and caring relationship will have on a child’s development. It is Musical Empowerment’s focus on mentorship that first drew Katie to the organization.


James Moeser

Chancellor Emeritus of UNC-Chapel Hill, Professor of Music, and Senior Consultant for Special Initiatives at the UNC IAH

Christine Moseley

Founder of Carolina Music Outreach, Founder and CEO at Full Harvest

Terry Rhodes

Professor of Music and Senior Associate Dean for Fine Arts and Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill

Michael Richard

Retired Corporate Vice President and Treasurer at McDonald’s Corporation

Meredith Richard

Former Executive Director, Individual Giving Manager at Merit School of Music

Ketura Parker

Director of Development for Carolina Performing Arts

Adam Martin

Associate at Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson

Alex Kim

Treasurer, Former Musical Empowerment at NC State Co-President, Consultant and Data Scientist at Deloitte

Jackie Gonzalez

Finance Director at North Carolina Democratic Party

Meera Chakravarthy

Senior Associate at Public-Private Strategies

Tivi Jones

Founder and CEO of Hey Awesome Girl studio

Lifetime Trustees

Adam Martin

Associate at Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson

Bernard Glassman

Former Board Chair

President’s Club

Co-presidents lead their chapters with dedication and integrity. These are all of the Presidents who have contributed to Musical Empowerment’s growth:

Christine Moseley

Founder, UNC Chapel Hill

Michelle Lee

UNC Chapel Hill

Mark Frank

UNC Chapel Hill

Kara Schoo

UNC Chapel Hill

Josie Johnson

UNC Chapel Hill

Landon Meekins

UNC Chapel Hill

Wes Johnson

UNC Chapel Hill

Michele Hicks

UNC Chapel Hill

Maggie Peng

UNC Chapel Hill

Allie Howard

UNC Chapel Hill

Katie Weinel

UNC Chapel Hill

Kaitlyn Hamlett

UNC Chapel Hill

Corporate Sponsors

Institutional Supporters