Updated: Apr 28
An authoritative voice in music, tech, and education, Barra is the Director of Popular Music at Arizona State University, Executive Director of Beats By Girlz, course developer for Berklee Online and former Associate Professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. She has a wide breadth of experience developing and teaching curriculums at the open source, K-12, and collegiate levels, several of which are the most popular and highest rated courses on their respective platforms.
A as community organizer she has the ability to mobilize and build from the ground level up, creating and funding several organizations and efforts at the intersection of art, technology, education and equity. She currently sits on the board of Women in Music, and has spearheaded research regarding women in the music industry in partnership with Berklee’s Institute of Creative Entrepreneurship, which won the Innovation award at SIM São Paulo.
Specializing in composition, performance, and creative music technology application, she has worked with and represented companies such as Ableton, ROLI, MusicTech, Moog and iZotope. She has presented at Loop, NAMM, SXSW, Moogfest, Gearfest, KIEM, Future of Music Coalition, Yale’s EXPOL, and Re-Mixed Media Festival. Check out Barra’s work as an artist on all platforms, and catch her live electronic performances on YouTube.
Naomi Westwater (they/she) is a multimedia artist from Massachusetts. Their work combines music and music production with creative writing, visual art, intuition, and spirituality. Naomi is an Americana musician and dabbles in electronic music and production. She holds a Master of Music in Contemporary Performance and Production from Berklee College of Music. Naomi was nominated for a 2021 Boston Music Award for best singer-songwriter, she is a 2020 617Sessions Artist, a 2020 Boston Opportunity Fund recipient, a 2019 Iguana Music Fund grant recipient, and a 2019 Berklee College of Music Post Master’s Graduate Fellow. Naomi has performed at The MFA, Brighton Music Hall, Club Passim, Folk Alliance International, Radio Bean, and Coast Fest on Cape Cod. Like a rose with many petals, Naomi’s music is layered, striking, and tender. Her work is highly influenced by their identity as a queer, Black-mulitracial, woman and by her spirituality and connection with nature. They have been featured in WBUR’s The Artery, Vanyaland, WGBH, Under The Radar, Atwoods Magazine, and The Bluegrass Situation. In addition to making music, Naomi is on faculty at Club Passim and Not Sorry Productions teaching songwriting, English, and spirituality, and they lead the Boston chapter of Beats by Girlz.
Director of Chapter Development
Ángela Cortés is a Colombian-Spanish journalist, expert in digital marketing and corporate communication. Born and raised in Bogotá, she has been living in Madrid, Spain for more than a decade, where she has settled down and developed most of her career.
She is Co-Founder and Communications Director of DJP Music School, a music production school based in Madrid. Through the first years at the school, she realized of the difficulties of women to grow in the music industry, thus she started thriving ideas to help solving this issues, and finally founding Her Beats.
Now, she has been leading Her Beats for more than 4 years, an initiative that seeks to generate female references in electronic music through talks, masterclasses and workshops for women in Spain. Additionally she is leading different women’s immersion and visibility projects in the music industry and she’s also a Beats By Girlz collaborator with the creation of the Madrid chapter in 2019.
Shaunna Heckman is a singer, producer, and music technology educator from Duluth, Minnesota. Shaunna has developed and is the sole instructor of the BBG Duluth chapter and is also the Director of Partnerships for the global organization. She has also created field recording curriculum to incorporate into her sessions and is currently working on expanding programming and workshop opportunities in her community.
In addition to teaching, Shaunna’s intent for her latest work is to add atmospheric and ambient elements to film, television, fashion, and brand campaigns to add nuance and an emotional dimension to each production’s set and setting. Her work expands and combines folk, rock, and electropop music. Her sound is an otherworldly and haunting combination of lyrical and melodic spellcasting, electronic rhythm and synths, creating a bewitching and undeniable backdrop for her butter-rich and hypnotic voice. Her work has been compared to artists Agnes Obel, Polica, and Ioanna Gika.
Shaunna seeks out collaborations with inspiring producers to contribute her vocals. She loves working with and learning from influential artists and aspires to be a known female voice in electronic dance music. Her 2016 EP “Spotlight” led her to her first international vocal feature, “Dreams Like You,” with electronic producer Yppah, released in early 2020. Her vocals have also been featured on “Fall” by Felix Snow, and “Outside the Lines,” by Phaeleh. She is currently working on new collaborations as well as crafting her next full length album.
Associate Director of Chapters - North America & Australia
Cassie Plunkett is a music producer, songwriter, educator, and activist based in LA. After volunteering at Beats By Girlz workshops, she joined the BBG team as Creative Director. Cassie also leads the BBG LA chapter, which is set to relaunch in 2023.
In addition to her work in music education and activism Cassie performs as experimental pop artist Plunki. Her music is influenced by her upbringing in South Florida, emulating the sounds of her hometown of Miami - and often sampling them.
Associate Director of Chapters - Asia, Africa, Europe
Beril Sarıaltun is a musician, sound designer & producer based in Istanbul, Turkey. She graduated from Political Science and studied in the undergraduate film certificate program at Boğaziçi University. She received a master certificate from Berklee College of Music Electronic Music and Sound Design program. She is a percussionist and highly enthusiastic about digital music production. She has been making sound design and composing music for several projects. She is one of the founders and producers of the record label BGST Records which supports alternative sounds and contemporary approaches in the music industry. Nowadays, she produces a podcast program called K’nın Sesi (Voice of K). On K’nın Sesi you will hear audio-drama plays and conversations based on experiences of women and LGBTQ+s with diverse backgrounds pertaining to class, ethnicity, age, sexuality, ability. She succeeds in designing workshops and courses in several subjects like Fundamentals of Music, Making Music with Ableton Live, and Principles of Rhythm & Percussion. She created the Beats By Girlz Turkey chapter.
Director of Communications
Nan Macmillan (she/her) is a singer, songwriter and producer based in Brooklyn, NY. She works as the Director of Communications for Beats by Girlz global, and is a co-chapter lead of the NYC chapter. She studied music and poetry writing at the University of Virginia, and received her master’s degree from Berklee College of Music in Contemporary Performance and Production. She teaches songwriting, guitar and voice to her students, and has led songwriting retreats for her community.
Nan lived in Virginia for 8 years, where she started up her music career and worked at local NPR-affiliate radio station, WNRN. Nan is currently wrapping up production on her debut full length album, “Surrounded by Walls of Light,” which she recorded and co-produced at a lakehouse in southwestern Virginia with her collaborators. Her music has been featured by NPR Music, Americana Highways, and Ear to the Ground Music. She performs along the East Coast, and continues to be an active participant in her music communities.
While working as the Performing Arts Business Manager at The Kenneth King Center for the Performing Arts, Vonna Wolf started pursuing drama and theatre graduating from Community College of Denver Associates of Performing Arts Business Management, University of Colorado Denver with a Bachelor of the Arts Theatre and a Master of Recording Arts with a pedagogy focus. DJ and specializing in analog and digital controllers. She found a love for composing, practicing, learning, growing, as a creator, storyteller, mask maker, musician and educator. Using her photography on stage and for installations, in MAX for Live bringing her 2D photos to manipulated video tales set to sonic adventures including generative music. Vonna believes that we can teach thru the power of storytelling and music. She is currently a member of the Transmute Society, Transmutant 1.0 of Laura Escude’s Transmute program, where she developed her music rig to be portable, lightweight and tour-able with the ability to educate, collaborate and create with individuals across the world in person or online.
Sabrina Gamboa Herrera is a Mexican-American composer, arranger, producer, and writer: In short, she is a storyteller. Her styles of music include contemporary concert music, musical theater, pop, and rock. Her writing style varies greatly, but is currently focused on lyric-writing, theater, and other forms of fiction. She is currently a student at Berklee College of music, where she is majoring in Composition and Contemporary Writing & Production and minoring in Musical Theater.
Valeria Orrantia Burboa is an artist, producer, and songwriter from Mexico City, currently based in Boston. Valeria's focus in the music industry include marketing, music technology, and concert production. Empowering women and gender minorities in these areas has been an important part of what she does. Valeria is in her senior year at Berklee College of Music where she majors in Music Business and Contemporary Writing & Production.
Besides her work in business and production, Valeria is also a performing artist under the alias Valerya. She draws inspiration from her roots of Mexican Folklore and her love for Indie Rock and Neo Soul.