Naming another class of trailblazing industry leaders at its annual year-end event, the Nashville-based Women’s Music Business Association celebrated the 2023 WMBA Wonder Woman Awards last Tuesday night (12/5).

Hosted by Nashville’s Anzie Blue – the only women-owned music venue in Music City – the evening honored standout members and alumni dedicated to WMBA’s mission of supporting women in the music industry, inspiring empowerment and fostering community.

Created and led by women, the membership organization is now celebrating 24 years of connecting women and making a difference, as it continues building networks that help more women thrive in music each year.


Ellen Mundy Ford, Manager, Syndicated & Secondary Promotions, BBR Music Group/BMG Nashville – Warrior Award, for a “woman of extraordinary strength, a true warrior who continues to persevere in times of adversity.”

Michelle Barnett Wichern, Executive Assistant to CEO/Agent, The Kinkead Entertainment Agency – Rookie of The Year, tapped as a “rising-star” leaving “an indelible mark on WMBA."

Taylor Weatherby, Editor for Grammy.com/Digital Media Content, The Recording Academy – Unsung Hero Award, “a woman who humbly dominates behind-the-scenes in her career and extracurriculars,” and “may fly under the radar but serves as a silent hero.”

Adrea Castiano, CEO, Adrea Castiano – Entertainer Award, “a singer and/or songwriter who is a force of nature,” and “a luminary in WMBA and the entire music industry.”

Rhonda Forlaw Adkins, Founder, Rhonda & Company – MAC Award, “a genuine advocate of women … using her platform to inspire, champion, and empower women for good both within and beyond the WMBA community.”

Reflecting on the Warrior Award, Ford candidly shared "WMBA has been a part of my life for as long as I’ve been in Nashville. Being a member has taught me leadership, expanded my knowledge and network while giving me some of my best friends in this crazy business. Tonight, this organization that means so much to me, honored me with an award given for perseverance, determination, and strength. I am so honored to be recognized as a Warrior during the most heart-breaking year in my personal life, and to do so in a room surrounded by my family and all of these women who lift each other up."

Finally, the night’s most illustrious honor went to the organization’s active President, Virginia P. Brick, Licensing Department Customer Service Representative, SESAC Music Group, who was named the 2023 Wonder Woman as an “exceptional member of WMBA who has gone above and beyond the call of duty for the organization,” and who’s “unwavering commitment and substantial investment of time and energy have significantly expanded and enhanced WMBA’s impact.”

Standout moments included a surprise visit from many of Ford’s out-of-state friends and family who showed up minutes before she accepted the Warrior Award. Witnessing the level of love and support from Ford’s closest circle was a magical moment. Mom-to-be, artist Carolyn Miller and Entertainer Award recipient Castiano brought unforgettable energy as the night’s WWA performers. Topping it all off, host Taylor Ferber kept attendees engaged and laughing all evening. All awards were chosen by WMBA officers with the distinguished Wonder Woman award voted on by WMBA members.

Sponsors of this year’s WMBA Wonder Woman Awards included AB Hillsboro Village (and co-founder Marcie Allen Van Mol). Additional sponsorships in 2023 included Jessica McIntosh Photography; The Bonner Group – Merrill Lynch; Music City Merchandise; Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP; Global Songwriters Connection; Hilton Nashville Green Hills; Happenstance Whiskey; Nashville Is Not Just Country Music; and Asulon Collective.

Further supporters of WMBA include SESAC; CMA Event Space; Starstruck Entertainment; NSAI; Rhonda & Company; ACM; Outback Presents; CSM Management; Sweet Talk Publicity; Aristo PR; Ms.C Fruit Tea Company; Robert Graham; and Opry Entertainment Group. 

Part of a full slate of annual and ongoing events, this year’s Wonder Woman Awards followed the second installment of WMBA’s “Music is My Business” panel series, which was held at the Academy of Country Music on October 28 and featured artist Jenna Paulette and her team discussing creative collaboration and brand-building in the music industry.

To apply to join the Women’s Music Business Association or gather more information, please visit www.wmbanashville.org or reach out to [email protected]





Women's Music Business Association (WMBA) 
is an exclusive professional organization dedicated to fostering opportunities for women within the music business through education, networking, industry involvement, community service, and organizational fellowship. Every month, the WMBA hosts membership meetings featuring guest speakers and panelists from all areas of the music business as well as networking events, philanthropic opportunities, and social outings for current and prospective members alike. The WMBA is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization. For more information, please visit https://www.wmbanashville.org/.