1986-1987: Joanne Rile, Joanne Rile Artists Management


The idea of an organization that would represent, educate and support managers, agents and artists was something new when Judith Liegner and a group of managers began talking about this in 1977. Up until then, it appeared that artists’ managers and agents were just competitive. Judith and her colleagues planted the seeds of a vision of what we could become. In 1979 our organization was founded.

What I most admire about NAPAMA is that it continues to work toward goals to benefit its members and the field. I also admire those past presidents and board members who wove an organization to work with presenters and to serve artists and managements in a new way.

I joined the board while Cynthia Herbst was president. She brought a focus and intelligence to the organization. In 1986-87, I accepted the presidency and did so because of the outstanding members of the board. Board member John Smith worked passionately to improve our input and relationship with all of the conferences. I have memo after memo and active follow-up on his part. Jeannette Gardner was on his staff when John passed away. We all know how she has succeeded in taking over the office and developing it to what it is today, as well as her impressive tenure as President of our organization.

What I tried to accomplish as President (as well as a VP and board member) included developing the national and international reputation of NAPAMA; expanding services to our members; and continuing professional development. With the board’s cooperation, we assigned a portfolio to every board member. Some of these were: membership, publicity, finance (including fundraising), education, member services and even a telephone tree to keep board members informed. We had liaisons for every conference and all organizations. We enlarged the numbers and roles of liaisons. During the summer, we held our first-ever NAPAMA board retreat to explore long and short-term goals and to set a plan of action for both goals. We produced a professional-looking newsletter and had our first logo designed to brand NAPAMA. We contacted and worked on some difficult problems with the Justice Department; we sponsored and developed our first professional development sessions at APAP, which enlarged our membership and our treasury. We added services: discounts for ads in Musical America and Dance Magazine; discounts on television monitor rentals and video machines at conferences; travel and other discounts and other services.

We continued making membership meetings interesting with speakers from recording companies, IRS (again) and Immigration, etc. Our board became more national as we reached across states to bring in members to serve. Jon Aaron dealt with immigration (with John Gingrich), Monty Byers was a stalwart Treasurer, Arthur Shaman was a Liaison for Midwest and NACA; Sheldon took care of WAA; Ivan Sygoda brought ideas galore especially regarding management behavior. We finally completed and printed the NAPAMA Code of Ethics. We invited members from presenting organizations to become members as well as other nonprofit organizations. We pushed for a NAPAMA Award for Excellence to honor Managers and/or Artists for their contributions to our industry. This award was to demonstrate our respect and admiration for our artist manager colleagues. It did not happen until our 20th anniversary but it did happen.

There were so many people helping - more than I can mention - who worked to bring NAPAMA into the forefront of the performing arts field.

Congratulations to those in the beginning and all that followed and all that continue to believe that we are truly colleagues in this exciting competitive business.

P.S. There were two goals we did not accomplish that I feel would be valuable to the future of artists’ management:

  1. A Handbook on Artists Management with a syllabus for a course to be offered to schools and colleges as a seminar for juniors or seniors in college to be taught by NAPAMA members. NAPAMA could offer certificates for completion of the course.
  2. A conference designed and offered by NAPAMA to presenters after the style of IAMA.