Sarita Stewart, M.B.A.
I began dreaming of a music business career as a young girl in Oregon. It seemed to be a dream way outside of my reach from my home on the Oregon Trail. Ten years later, with my newly minted Business Administration degree from Oregon State University in hand, I decided to roll the dice, and moved to Los Angeles on a $200 budget.
I was fortunate enough to secure an administrative assistant job at a leading political campaign management firm within walking distance of my apartment shortly after my arrival. I met Mike Curb three months later while covering the front desk during the receptionist’s lunch hour. Shortly thereafter, I was transferred to the Curb offices to work as the Volunteer Coordinator for his political campaign. Political life was exciting, but after the election, I accepted an offer to work full-time as the company’s receptionist at the Curb entertainment production offices in Burbank, California.
During the term of my 14-year employ at Curb Records, I had the opportunity to learn the business from the ground up - an education learned firsthand on the front lines of the music business. As Director of Marketing, I worked with all of the artists on the label, including Tim McGraw, LeAnn Rimes, Wynonna Judd, JoDee Messina, Lyle Lovett and the CCM group, Selah. I handled the international marketing for the company as well, and had the opportunity to travel with a variety of artists on numerous domestic and international promotional tours. Other responsibilities included work as Assistant to the Producer on several Curb films, with resulting production credits.
In 2000, I accepted a position as the U.S. Marketing Manager for AKG Acoustics, the Vienna, Austria based microphone and headphone manufacturer. My department was responsible for the management, development, coordination and implementation of the company’s U.S. marketing budget. I was directly responsible for the areas of brand management, artist endorsements, public relations, advertising, trade shows, website development and marketing collateral. I left the organization in 2003 to start an independent artist management company. This gave me the opportunity to consult with a variety of artists, and I managed the careers of several Americana acts as well.
Educational pursuits have played a big role in my career. I had the opportunity to study in the MBA program at the Claremont Graduate University in Los Angeles. One of the top experiences I had there was the opportunity to take two classes with the esteemed management theorist Peter F. Drucker. I was transferred to the Curb Records headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee soon after receiving my graduate degree in 1994. More recently, I am now a third-year Ph.D. student in the College of Communication and Information Sciences at The University of Alabama. I am working on my doctorate in Mass Communication, with a specialization in entertainment media, and a cognate in statistics. This makes me an entertainment industry researcher. Right now, I am currently conducting various studies, mainly in the areas of video games and music consumption, while working on my dissertation and teaching full-time back at Belmont.
I began my teaching career at Belmont University in 1999 as an adjunct instructor in the Mike Curb College of Music Business and Entertainment while still employed at Curb Records. I taught for two semesters before taking a hiatus to go back into the corporate world. I was invited back to teach as an adjunct instructor in the music business program in 2005, and officially joined the faculty full-time in 2007. I love working directly with students and for the opportunity to pass along my passion for, and love of, the entertainment business. It is indeed exciting and an honor to help educate the next generation of music and entertainment industry artists and executives – our future leaders!