MEMPHIS, TN – Barbara B. Newman has been selected to succeed Jay Sieleman as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Blues Foundation, the Memphis-based, international music organization dedicated to preserving blues music history, celebrating recording and performance excellence, supporting blues education and ensuring the future of this unique art form. She will take the helm October 1.
Ms. Newman is a fourth-generation Memphian with deep ties to the city that annually hosts the world’s two premier blues music events-the International Blues Challenge and the Blues Music Awards-and is now home to the physical Blues Hall of Fame, expected to draw thousands of visitors annually.
She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Brown University, later adding advanced training in accounting, money and banking, and corporate finance during her tenure with New York-based National Westminster Bank, USA.
Upon her return to Memphis, she began non-profit work with the Bornblum Solomon Schechter School Board of Directors, serving as Treasurer, Vice-President of both Administration and Fundraising, and President. From 2007 to the present, she served as Executive Director of Beth Sholom Synagogue, where her responsibilities included financial administration, communications, human resources, and facility management. She has also been active leader engaged with Board development, fundraising, and strategic planning for Planned Parenthood,Greater Memphis Region.
She also has worked in the for-profit sector, serving nine years as financial manager of a restaurant and catering business.
“The Blues Foundation is very excited to welcome our new President and CEO, Barbara B. Newman” offers Board Chairman Paul E. Benjamin. “She will be a great leader who will help us move forward, taking The Blues Foundation to new heights. We all look forward to working together creating a great team.”
She was raised in the world of music, with many family members working in the music industry. Her introduction to the blues occurred when she attended a 7th grade assembly in which Blues Hall of Famer Furry Lewis performed. Even though she was only 11 years old, she knew she was in the company of greatness.
She is a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and Folk Alliance International.
She and her husband, Bruce Newman, a Memphis entertainment attorney and CPA, have co-produced multiple fundraising concerts for a variety of organizations, gaining experience in all logistical areas of music production and event planning.
Her vision includes ensuring The Blues Foundation grows its financial viability to reach an even larger constituency, from children first learning about this unique music to musicians and patrons around the world. This includes solidifying its well-respected programs, building upon the existing high-level communication with and support to its membership, interfacing and partnering with other local, national, and international agencies, building a strong endowment, and opening new avenues for members to participate and receive support from the organization.