New additions come from Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Vanderbilt University, CapStar Bank

NASHVILLE, TN — The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) has added four new members to the organization. Dasha Smith and Jeff Harleston will join as board members, while Claire Tucker and Gail Williams serve as co-chairs of the Capital Campaign Steering Committee.

Dasha Smith

“I’m thrilled we have such talented and experienced members joining our team,” said H. Beecher Hicks III, president and CEO of NMAAM. “Both Dasha and Jeff have years of entertainment industry knowledge to bring to the table and will be great advocates to the museum as we approach our opening. Claire and Gail will greatly assist in bringing our capital campaign to conclusion.”

The NMAAM board is responsible for overseeing the museum’s mission and providing guiding guidance for key leadership. The Capital Campaign Steering Committee will serve as the primary leadership for the Write the Score campaign, share responsibility for establishing and implementing campaign policy, managing relationships with key donors, and building enthusiasm for NMAAM.

Jeff Harleston

As proponents of the museum, Smith and Harleston hosted an evening reception in Los Angeles in June, where approximately 80 music industry professionals were in attendance to learn about NMAAM.

Smith serves as the executive vice president and global chief human resources officer for Sony Music Entertainment. She is responsible for talent acquisition, talent management, employee relations and organizational development.

In her career, Smith served as the managing director, Office of the Chairman and global chief human resources officer at GCM Grosvenor, where she assisted in managing the firm and spearheaded diversity and corporate responsibility tasks. She also has experience as an international corporate attorney at Latham & Watkins, Covington & Burling, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Harleston serves as the general counsel and executive vice president of Business and Legal Affairs for Universal Music Group Worldwide. In this position, he is responsible for the development of corporate policies including the coordination of the company’s government relations, trade and anti-piracy activities to construct a unified strategy across all of the company’s divisions.

Before Harleston’s work with UMG, he was the executive vice president/head of Operations for Geffen Records and senior vice president of Business and Legal Affairs for MCA Records.

Claire Tucker

Capital Campaign Steering Committee co-chairs Claire Tucker and Gail Williams were instrumental in raising $11.5 million for the museum in June and July of this year. The investments were given by entities such as R.H. Boyd Publishing, Vanderbilt University, Bank of America, Belmont University, Clearbrook Hospitality and Music City Center.

Tucker serves as president and chief executive officer for CapStar Financial Holdings, Inc., and as CEO of CapStar Bank. She has worked at First American National Bank and eventually became president of Corporate Banking. When the bank was purchased by AmSouth, she was named senior executive VP responsible for all commercial banking activities in six Southeastern states and New York.

Williams, associate director of Community Relations at Vanderbilt University, is responsible

Gail Williams

for building partnerships and collaborations on behalf of the university, mostly done through innovative, creative academic-based programming.

Williams is also serving for a second time as chair of the Metropolitan Nashville Transit Authority board of directors and previously served as chair of the Finance and Transportation committees. Her late husband, David Williams, also served as the chair of the campaign’s steering committee.

The National Museum of African American Music, set to be completed in late 2019, will be the only museum solely dedicated to educating, preserving and celebrating the influence African Americans have had on music. Based in Nashville, Tenn., in the Fifth + Broadway development, the museum will share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to bring musical heroes of the past into the present. For more information, please visit