we see what you want to see. Fertile ground for entertainment businesses to thrive. New frontiers for creative entrepreneurs. Resources and relationships coming together to enable success. That’s our vision for every McConnell & Associates client.
MAC believes that entertainment and creative industry development can be every bit as critical and sustainable to a regional economy as “traditional” targets like manufacturing and transportation.
We exist to identify opportunities and connect resources that drive entertainment and creative industry development.
From our office in New Orleans, and with our associates in Los Angeles and Nashville, our team works with established businesses looking to grow or relocate; creative start-ups that want to hit the ground running; and state, regional and national development entities seeking to begin or reinvigorate an entertainment development program. Our services span from fact-finding and strategic planning through business launches and media relations. Best of all, we get to do what we’re truly passionate about—and we believe it shows.
Talk to us about how our ideas, expertise and industry connections can work in pursuit of your goals.
we get our hands dirty. We’re not the consultants who’ll email a slapped-together recommendations report and bid you best wishes. The MAC team is happiest when we’re working on your behalf in a true partnership with shared goals and a singular vision. Here’s much—but definitely not all—of what we do:
- Business Development
- Business Launch
- Special Event Marketing
- Community Relations & Outreach
- Financing Coordination
- Issues Management
- Marketing Plans
- Policy & Regulatory Development
- Press & Media Relations
- Project Development
- Regional Economic Development
- Strategic Planning
we believe. The MAC team is committed to the power of big ideas, complementary strengths and strategic relationships. We bring a wealth of business and economic development expertise to your table—each of us offering different skills, valuable experiences and unique perspective.
Sherri McConnell, Principal
Sherri brings an exceptional understanding of economic development, legislative and governmental policy, and the unique entertainment ecosystem to her new venture, McConnell & Associates Consulting. She has built a distinguished career representing numerous businesses and industries ranging from transportation and pharmaceuticals to entertainment and hospitality.
Most recently, Sherri was Executive Director of Louisiana Economic Development’s Office of Entertainment Industry Development (also known as Louisiana Entertainment), which administers the state’s highly successful tax credit programs for film, music, interactive and live performance productions. Her tenure represents nothing less than a complete transformation of an organization once severely stunted by public relations and budget challenges—now held up as a national best-practices model for entertainment development as serious economic development. Her accomplishments include:
Spearheading legislative and policy changes that reorganized Louisiana Entertainment
Directing across-the-board efforts that led to triple-digit growth in the Louisiana entertainment industry
Markedly improving Louisiana's reputation as a desirable environment for entertainment businesses to prosper by developing a campaign that included earned media, education, branding, marketing and legislative and community outreach
Leading the completion of a long-term strategic plan, Building A Permanent Entertainment Economy, for establishing a permanent, self-sustaining entertainment economy for Louisiana
Facilitating the creation of a new industry professional trade organization, as well as workforce development programs and initiatives to help grow indigenous talent
Completing an economic impact analysis that demonstrates the effectiveness of entertainment incentives
She left Louisiana Entertainment with a strong track record, as well as a wealth of resourceful connections and working relationships that can directly benefit MAC clients.
Prior to her work at Louisiana Entertainment, Sherri served as an association manager, lobbyist and consultant for organizations such as the Ports Association of Louisiana, the Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA), SmithKline Beecham, Entergy and Dell Computer Corporation. Working for LRA transformed her love of the state's rich culture, diversity and creative assets into a distinct and focused passion, which drives her work to this day.
Angelia Bibbs-Sanders, Strategic Partner
The Debut Group
Angelia’s deep roots in the music industry began at none other than legendary Motown Records, planning marketing strategies for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Rick James and Smokey Robinson. Her long career helping organizations, music makers and industry executives realize their goals unfolded through RCA Records, The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, and The Guild of Music Supervisors. As a McConnell & Associates strategic partner, Angelia and The Debut Group offer a widely respected resource in Los Angeles for entertainers, entertainment businesses and economic developers.
Amy B. Ferguson, Strategic Partner
Publicist and professional communicator Amy Ferguson has logged more than two decades as a creative strategist and innovative problem solver for entertainment, economic development, business, academic and healthcare clients. While helping Louisiana Economic Development rebrand the state in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Amy was called on to assist Sherri McConnell’s team at LED’s Office of Entertainment Industry Development when a federal criminal investigation loomed. Together, Amy and Sherri’s efforts lifted the office’s uncertain national standing in 2007 to its now rock-steady reputation as the nation’s premier entertainment industry development program. Amy brings a team approach to McConnell & Associates clients needing proactive issues management and earned media strategy.
Bruce Gallassero, Strategic Partner
Bruce is an accomplished public affairs, advocacy and fundraising executive who has called New Orleans home since 1984. After beginning his career with Procter & Gamble in sales and marketing, he moved into politics and public affairs, working with clients such as the Louisiana Council for Fiscal Reform (LCFR), Business Council of New Orleans (BCNO), Halliburton, Freeport-McMoRan and Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans. With LCFR, he created and managed one of the largest grassroots advocacy organizations in state history. Bruce worked with BCNO and their political action committee on a number of good government issues. As campaign manager for Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, he helped push for improved flood protection in Post-Katrina Southeast Louisiana, among other vital issues. Bruce shares his time and energy with various nonprofits, primarily producing and managing large fundraising events. His work with Halloween in New Orleans, for example, has helped raise over $4 million for Project Lazarus, a home for people living with AIDS. But no matter what’s happening in his busy life, he always makes time for JazzFest—his favorite place in the world.
Jim McCormick, Strategic Partner
TRP Sports Entertainment
A songwriter, artist manager, educator and music business consultant, Jim splits his time between music powerhouse cities Nashville and New Orleans. When not creating in his role as staff songwriter for BMG Chrysalis, Jim speaks frequently for (and is a voting member of) the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. He travels frequently to Los Angeles, London and Scandinavia to collaborate with other musicians, and lectures at music business colleges nationwide. His songs have been recording by Tim McGraw, Randy Travis, Ronnie Milsap, Trace Adkins, Luke Bryan, Trisha Yearwood, Rodney Atkins, Jamey Johnson, Julianne Hough and many others. As a McConnell & Associates partner, Jim provides clients with music industry expertise and creative insight.
Roman Viaris, Strategic Partner
Finding and tracking the financing—that’s Roman’s forté. Currently serving as financial consultant and/or executive producer to various independent film production companies, he has most recently worked on Arbitrage (starring Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon); Killer Joe (starring Matthew McConnaughey and Emile Hirsh); Meeting Evil (starring Samuel L. Jackson); and True Justice (TV series starring Steven Seagal). Roman’s prior executive finance experience with Voltage Pictures, NuImage/Millenium Films and Comerica Bank includes structuring, valuating and strengthening corporate financial positions related to film acquisition, production and distribution, as well as structuring and documenting tax defeasance investments and government tax credits. McConnell & Associates partners with Roman to provide expert financial and executive services to clients in the entertainment industry.
we’re ready. How big can you grow? How good can you be? What can you create that no one else is creating? This is what we love to talk about. To learn more about MAC or have us lend you our ear, please get in touch:
1329 Josephine Street
New Orleans, LA 70130