National Museum of African American Music expands team

The National Museum of African American Music, set to open in the summer of 2020, will be the only museum dedicated solely to preserving African American music traditions and celebrating the influence African Americans have had on music.

The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) has added Marlyncia Pierce, Alaya Howard, Shelly Surdoval and Russell Henley to its growing staff ahead of the museum’s opening later this year.

“Each of our newest staff additions brings great talent to NMAAM,” said NMAAM President/CEO Henry Beecher Hicks III. “We are proud to attract some of the best professionals in the business, who understand the importance of having an institution like NMAAM in Nashville.”

The new team members include:

  • Marlyncia Pierce (marketing communications manager)
  • Alaya Howard (event sales manager)
  • Shelly Surdoval (marketing assistant)
  • Russell Henley (IT director)

Marlyncia Pierce has been named marketing communications manager at NMAAM. In her role, Pierce will manage and execute NMAAM’s communication and marketing strategies as it gears up for its public opening.

Pierce comes to NMAAM from Bounce TV, where she oversaw sponsorship implementation and commercial ad trafficking and led general market traffic at multiple networks for accounts such as McDonald’s, AT&T, and Walmart.

Originally from Atlanta, Pierce earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a certificate in New Media Design from the University of Georgia.

Alaya Howard has been named event sales manager at NMAAM. Howard will work to ensure that all special events will provide a truly immersive ‘Music City’ experience.

Howard comes to NMAAM from the world of corporate event planning and management. She studied mass communications at Middle Tennessee State University and is a native of Nashville.

Howard, an accomplished violist, shares her talents through memberships in many professional and service organizations, including Cable, Meeting Planners International and the Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce.

Shelly Surdoval has been named marketing assistant at NMAAM. In her new role, Surdoval will assist in NMAAM’s marketing efforts, as well as coordinate communications with talent and other music industry stakeholders.

Prior to working at NMAAM, Surdoval held various positions in the music industry, including a stop at McGhee Entertainment, where she helped guide the careers and day-to-day management of Darius Rucker, CeCe Winans and others. Most recently, she worked as client services team coordinator for top-tier business management firm Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group.

A Nashville native, she earned her B.A. degree in psychology at University of Tennessee–Knoxville. She lives in Nashville with her husband and two children.

Russell Henley has been named IT director at NMAAM. In this role, Henley will be responsible for programming and maintaining the museum’s business systems, information security and other components.

Henley brings over 25 years of expertise in IT, of which the last eight were spent in the tourism industry serving one of the largest attractions in the Southeast.