» Board of Directors

Gary Leopold, Chairman
Founding Partner, Prism Advisory Group

For over 30 years, Gary has been immersed in travel and hospitality marketing. His thinking has influenced such brands and destinations as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Sheraton, American Express, Hong Kong, The Islands Of The Bahamas, Barbados, Emirates Airline and Harley-Davidson.

Gary began his travel career as Director of Public Relations worldwide for Sonesta International Hotels Corporation and then went on to lead Boston-based, travel-marketing firm ISM for over 25 years, before merging with Connelly Partners in 2013. He currently serves as a founding partner of the consulting firm Prism Advisory Group.

Gary is the proud recipient of the Albert E. Koehl Lifetime Achievement Award in travel advertising from the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), an honor he shares with Michael Eisner and Sir Richard Branson.

Gary is a past President of HSMAI the world’s largest organization of travel marketing professionals and served on the Board of the HSMAI Foundation. He has also served on the Board of the Photographic Resource Center at BU, the Council at Curry College and as an advisor to Tourism Cares and Lesley University. He joined the SWS Board in 2014 and became President and Chairman in 2018.

President and CTO of Beacon Interactive Systems

Mike leads Beacon Interactive Systems’ product development efforts as well as manages the financial and strategic direction of the company. Prior to Beacon, he worked at GE. After several finance and strategy positions at GE Aircraft, his final position was with GE Capital where he managed a portfolio of real estate investments across North America.

He is on the Board of the New England Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association and a member of the Outreach Committee. He is also on the Board of Primary Source, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing a Global Perspective to the K-12 classroom.

Mikes affinity with the music business stems from growing up in a musical household and spending many years playing the piano and trumpet. In an effort to combine business with a love of music, he managed several artists, spent a summer working for A&M Records and he and his wife founded a record label.

Mike holds a Bachelor’s degree in Government and International Relations from Georgetown University and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA Mr. MacEwen now lives in Boston, MA with his wife and two daughters.

Easton Brice, Treasurer
Vice President – Wealth Management, UBS Financial Services

Easton began his career at Merrill Lynch within their Practice Management Development program before becoming a partner in a wealth management practice in Brentwood, TN. In December of 2021, Easton left Merrill Lynch to join a multifamily office at UBS. Easton directs initiatives across multiple areas including investment management, financial planning, wealth preservation and transfer services.

He is a managing member of his family’s businesses of real estate and live music venue operations across the southeast.

Easton is a Nashville native and a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, TN where he was captain of the men’s nationally ranked golf program. When not at work, Easton is an avid golfer, traveler, and concert goer. He lives with his dog Charlie in their home in East Nashville.

Aaron Bowlin, Director
Vice President of Studio Operations and A&R Administration at Curb Records

Growing up just north of Nashville, Aaron always had a love of music. He received a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University in Recording Industry Management in 1994. During this time he was working at various radio stations in the Nashville and Knoxville areas. From there he worked for BMI in the television department. After his stint at BMI, Bowlin then went on the road to tour with an RCA artist for three years as a merchandise manager. When he came off the road in 1997, he started working at Curb Music Publishing. In July of 1998 he was offered a job in Curb Studios handling all the video and audio masters of the Curb Recording artists. Currently he is the VP of Studio Operations and A&R Administration at Curb Records, where he manages the studios and is a writer for Curb Music Publishing.

Pepper Evans, Director
Senior Marketing Executive

Pepper Evans is a senior marketing executive with experience leading teams and launching new products for American Express, Capital One, and UnitedHealth Group. Over her 30+ year career, she has a demonstrated history of driving growth and profitability through brand marketing, digital innovation, and data insights. She started her career working at early dotcom businesses in travel, media, and venture capital. She has been recognized with numerous awards for her work, including Chairman’s Award for Innovation and President’s Leadership Award at American Express, Supplier of the Year for Walmart during her time at Capital One, and the 40 Under 40 Brand Innovators Award.

For several years, Pepper has been on the board of The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, where she is now Chair of the Nominating Committee. She is also a member of the Marketing Committee for New York City Audubon.

Pepper earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She splits her time between New York City and the Hudson Valley.

Suzanne Hogan, Director
President, Big Red Ideas!

For more than twenty-five years Suzanne has turned her passion for public service into a mission to work with people and projects that contribute to a greater good.

Before starting her own company, Suzanne served as Senior Advisor and Special Assistant to The Librarian of Congress. During her tenure at the Library, she was asked to create or revitalize several national cultural programs. One of the most impactful was her leadership as the Executive in Charge of Production for the Library’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. In less than three years Suzanne completely overhauled and restructured the Gershwin Prize establishing it as the nation’s highest honor for popular music.

Suzanne is a voting member of the Country Music Association and since the age of 13 she has played the guitar and performed as a singer-songwriter winning the New Christie Minstrel Contest at the age of 19.

Suzanne has lived a life in the military as the daughter of an Army Sergeant and the wife of a retired Army Officer. She attended the University of Oklahoma and graduated from Cameron University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications.

Barbara Kornreich, Director
Founder/Producer, Piper7Media

Barbara lives in Manhattan and has been involved with SW:S as a volunteer and is passionate about the program. She helped raise funds to hold a retreat in New York in 2016, and more recently attended our training retreat at the Carey Institute.

Barbara began her career as a lawyer and then helped found Grantworks, a firm that specialized in research and grant writing for non-profits, which she ran for over nine years. During that time she was also president of the New Castle Media Center in Chappaqua, NY, a non-profit community media center that provides training and access to production tools. Bitten by the video and production bug, Barbara is now the Founder/Producer of Piper7Media which specializes in creating short documentaries, profiles, image pieces, corporate and music videos, as well as films for non-profits.

Brian Magerkurth, Director
US Army Lieutenant Colonel (Retired)

Brian is a graduate of the United States Military Academy (USMA), West Point, class of 1981. He comes from a proud military family. His Master Sergeant father served in the Korean War. His older brother served during the Vietnam War. Both his younger brother, who served in Italy, and his son, who served in Afghanistan, graduated from USMA, West Point classes of 1992 and 2010, respectively.

Brian served in the Army as a CH-47 pilot, flying Mt Rainier Mountain rescue, Mt St. Helen’s Volcanic Disaster relief, and fire-fighting missions in Yakima, WA. He served in the Sinai, Egypt, as part of the Multi-National Force and Observers in support of the Camp David Peace Accords (President Carter, President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin). Brian finished his military career at West Point as an instructor in the Department of Physical Education, retiring in 2004.

Brian has led Global Supply Chain and Manufacturing Organizations for Fortune 500 Companies. He is currently leading the America’s Supply Chain organization for Avantor, Inc, a Global Life Sciences company.

Brian competes internationally in Masters’ Track & Field as a Pole Vaulter. He is an avid Sky Diver and SCUBA Diver. He recently competed on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior Season 7, the Military Edition. He also is a percussionist and loves to sit in on the drum set with other musicians that favor classic rock ‘n roll. He and his wife Valarie live in Hickory, NC.

Brian became involved with SongWritingWith:Soldiers through an introduction at Boulder Crest in Virginia. Impressed with the people that he met, he recommended his son, Tyler, attend one of the SW:S retreats. Since then, Tyler has assisted on a few retreats in Texas.

Collin McMillan, Director
Co-Founder/CEO, Grey Area Entertainment

Collin is a music industry executive and owner of Grey Area Entertainment which consists of a record label, an artist management arm, as well as a publishing company. The companies were founded in late 2019 in Nashville, TN where they now operate from their offices on Music Row. As the CEO, Collin is involved in all aspects of operations and oversight.

With a wide casting entrepreneurial spirit, he has operating entities in numerous industries across the United States. He is also a managing member of a family investment office which has various investments in timber, oil, refining, real estate, marinas and other private investments.

Collin grew up in Brewton, AL and now splits time with his wife Coley and daughter Lennon between Inlet Beach, FL and Nashville, TN. When not at work, Collin is an avid outdoorsman, golfer, traveler and most importantly loving family man.

Mary Judd, Honorary Director

Mary is a master at creating collaborative programs that inspire connections and highlight individual and community strengths. When witnessing Darden Smith write a song with a veteran, she was compelled to put her skills to work in creating the SongwritingWith:Soldiers program.

With vast experience in Positive Psychology, educational programming and organizational communications, Mary helps SW:S create the most effective and meaningful experiences for everyone involved. Her creative reach is reflected in her client list which includes New York State Department of Economic Development (I LOVE NY); MentorCoach training programs; VIA Institute on Character; Indian Ladder Farms: The Mayerson Academy, The HAPPY Movie; Discovery Retreats, and more. She has studied Positive Psychology with leading researchers from around the world, is an international workshop presenter on the subject and was a discussion facilitator at a United Nations meeting on Happiness and Well-Being. She serves on the editorial board for the India Journal of Positive Psychology and PsyInsight magazine. Mary co-founded The Barn School, an award-winning sustainable agriculture camp that raises funds for family farms and Heifer International®. She earned coaching certifications from Dr. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania, MentorCoach and others. She has a B.S. in Organizational Communications from the University of Texas at Austin and teaching certifications in Speech, English and Spanish.