Ben Carter Hired as Vice President, Live Events & Production

Matt Brum-Taylor Hired as Director, Digital Marketing

Lexi Cothran Hired as Senior Manager, Communications & Strategic Initiatives

(L-R: Ben Carter; Matt Brum-Taylor; and Lexi Cothran. Photo graphic available HERE)

NASHVILLE, TN (February 15, 2024) – The Academy of Country Music® is announcing new hires across several departments. Ben Carter has been hired as Vice President, Live Events & Production; Matt Brum-Taylor has been hired as Director, Digital Marketing; Lexi Cothran has been hired as Senior Manager, Communications & Strategic Initiatives; Kendra Williams has been hired as Coordinator, Finance; Brooke Boyd has been hired as Assistant, ACM Lifting Lives; and Heather Howard has been hired as Assistant, Marketing.

Ben Carter, an industry veteran renowned for his exceptional work in event production, joins the Academy as Vice President, Live Events & Production. With roots tracing back to rural Missouri, Carter has a background spanning more than two decades in the entertainment capital of Los Angeles. Carter's tenure as Senior Director of Event Production for the Television Academy (Emmys) solidified his expertise. His portfolio includes producing prestigious events such as the LA Area Emmys, College Television Awards, Emmys Nominations Announcement and Television Academy Hall of Fame, in addition to oversight of all logistics associated with and supporting the Emmy Awards ceremonies.

In his new role, Carter will leverage his extensive experience to lead the planning and execution of the Academy’s live events, including the acclaimed Academy of Country Music Awards and ACM Honors. Drawing upon his experience in orchestrating large-scale productions, Carter will play a pivotal role in elevating the ACM's live events to new heights, while fostering innovative experiences to support the Academy’s mission of connecting industry, artists and fans. Carter reports to Gil Beverly, Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer, and can be reached here.

Matt Brum-Taylor joins the Academy as Director, Digital Marketing. A Rhode Island native, Brum-Taylor moved to Nashville more than ten years ago to begin his career in promotions and marketing at the iHeartRadio Nashville cluster. Following his stint in radio, he worked as Social Media Manager for the Grand Ole Opry, where he was responsible for building out the Opry’s social media and digital presence. Most recently, Brum-Taylor served as Digital Marketing Director at Big Machine Label Group for seven years. During his time at BMLG, he led a team that planned and executed strategic, digital marketing initiatives for artists including Taylor Swift, Thomas Rhett, Carly Pearce, and Sheryl Crow, among others.

In his role as Director, Brum-Taylor will lead all digital and social media efforts for the Academy. This includes working alongside the marketing team to create relevant and compelling content for the Academy’s social platforms, engaging with fans, artists, and the industry through the Academy’s platforms, and working to grow the reach of the Academy in the ever-changing digital world. Brum-Taylor reports to Rory Levine, Vice President, Marketing and Digital Strategy & Engagement, and can be reached here.

Lexi Cothran joins the Academy as Senior Manager, Communications & Strategic Initiatives. With nearly a decade of experience in the music industry, Cothran most recently served as Account Executive at Brooklyn-based publicity firm, Shore Fire Media, where she spent more than two years handling day-to-day PR initiatives for a wide variety of clients that ranged from musical artists to brands and influencers. Prior to Shore Fire Media, she spent two years as a publicist at Nashville boutique PR firm Sweet Talk Publicity and previously held the role of Digital Producer at iHeartMedia/Premiere Networks for four years. A Music City native, Cothran graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN, with a bachelor's degree in Music Business.

In her role as Senior Manager, Cothran will handle publicity and PR for the Academy's organizational initiatives, key programs and courses, ACM Lifting Lives, brand partnerships and sponsorships as well as executive leadership. She will actively assist with communications campaigns supporting major tentpoles, live events, awards shows and other projects as needed. Cothran reports to Jesse Knutson, Senior Manager, Publicity & Media Relations, and can be reached here.

(L-R: Kendra Williams; Brooke Boyd; and Heather Howard. Photo graphic available HERE)

Kendra Williams joins the Academy as Coordinator, Finance. Prior to the Academy, she served as a Staff Accountant at a CPA firm. Born and raised in Mims, FL, she graduated from Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN, with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Accounting. She is continuing her education at Cumberland University, working toward a master's degree in Business Management. In her role as Coordinator, Williams will focus on responsibilities across the finance operations of the Academy. She reports to Michael Stern, Office Manager, and can be reached here.

Brooke Boyd joins the Academy as Assistant, ACM Lifting Lives. Hailing from Greenville, SC, Boyd interned with the Academy throughout 2023. During that time, she worked with both ACM Lifting Lives and the Academy’s live event operations team to assist in the planning and execution of key events, including the 14th annual ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp and the 2023 ACM Lifting Lives Topgolf Tee-Off and Rock On fundraiser. She graduated from Clemson University in Clemson, SC, with a bachelor’s degree in Management. In her role as Assistant, Boyd will support the ACM Lifting Lives team with administrative duties, live events and fundraising efforts. She reports to Taylor Wolf, Senior Manager, ACM Lifting Lives, and can be reached here.

Heather Howard joins the Academy as Assistant, Marketing. Hailing from Baltimore, MD, Howard graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor's degree in Music Business in 2023. Prior to the Academy, she served as Digital Marketing Coordinator for Universal Music Group Nashville and held internships at Collective Artist Management, Live Nation Entertainment, and more. In her role as Assistant, Howard will work with the Marketing and Communications teams on all day-to-day needs. She reports to Rory Levine, VP, Marketing and Digital Strategy & Engagement, and can be reached here.

About the Academy of Country Music:

Founded in Southern California in 1964 as a regional trade organization, the ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC (ACM) has grown in the almost-60 years since into a leading association for the Country Music industry. Now headquartered in Nashville, TN and boasting record-high membership of more than 5,000 worldwide, the Academy serves as a powerhouse advocate for Country fans, artists, and all facets of the business, as well as a supporter of philanthropic work through charitable partner ACM LIFTING LIVES, dedicated to improving lives through the power of music and providing aid in times of need, with a focus on health initiatives. 2023 was another monumental year for the Academy, with the 58th ACM Awards, hosted by global superstars Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks, ranking as one of the most-watched awards shows of the year. 2024 will see the ACM Awards return in May to the world headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys in Texas for a second consecutive year and stream live for a global audience on Prime Video. The Academy also remains relentlessly committed to creating a more inclusive environment for underrepresented groups in Country Music, from the boardroom to the stage, and proudly presents both ACM LEVel Up, a two-year professional development and enrichment curriculum for rising leaders, and OnRamp, a guaranteed income program for Black members of the Nashville music community, in partnership with the Black Music Action Coalition. For more information, visit or