Board of Directors

Austin Whitney

Austin Whitney

he/him

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Austin Whitney has a Juris Doctorate from UC Berkeley School and is the founder of Ten Fifty Entertainment and Accessible Festivals. In the last ten years he has been the ADA Compliance Director for over one hundred events including for the last 7 years at the Coachella Music and Art Festival. He is this year’s presenter on “ADA Compliance at Temporary Events” for the National ADA Symposium in May and regularly speaks on accessibility and inclusion.

Codie Porter

Codie Porter

Lives in Portland, Oregon

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Codie works endlessly on listening to 1,000 albums and seeing 50-100 films every single year. Codie met Cassie at a Knuckle Puck show through a wondrous moment of eavesdropping regarding a conversation about Julien Baker. But their friendship didn’t truly blossom for another week on Leap Year Day (2/29/16) at From Indian Lakes. From there on out, Cassie has been his best friend. Codie joined Half Access because every single human being deserves to enjoy their favorite artists/bands (and then some), no matter what. Since Cassie started it on day one, he knew he wanted to do something to help, and now we all can.

Favorite artists: Nick Cave, Bruce Springsteen, Run The Jewels, My Chemical Romance, and clipping..

Elise Graham Kennedy

Elise Graham Kennedy

she/her

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Elise is a disability advocate, musician, and 10+ year technology veteran with experience building and selling multiple companies. Her work has been featured with Apple TV, UMG, and Crunchbase. 

Denise Melanson

Denise Melanson

she/her

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I lead Cause & Advocacy at Wasserman, a global marketing, talent, music and brand agency.

Valerie Gritsch

Valerie Gritsch

Lives in Queens, New York

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Valerie is a lifelong music fan who works with the independent label, Xtra Mile Recordings doing social media and fan engagement. Her academic pursuits led her to graduate school where she continues to study music fandom. Her scholarly work has been presented at various conferences and has been published in the Journal of Popular Culture. She also crafts and sells her art online.

Valerie was drawn to Half Access because of her own chronic illnesses and disabilities, which include Fibromyalgia and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. She’s struggled with having her own access needs met in the past, both in the crowd as a fan and backstage as a music industry professional. She is honored to join the Half Access team to continue to raise awareness on the discrimination disabled fans face and work to solve these problems so everyone has a chance to experience the power and joy of live music.

Valerie never takes Frank Turner, Chris Farren, Jeff Rosenstock, They Might Be Giants, Lizzo, or the Menzingers off repeat.

Valerie

Valerie

she/her

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At the self-proclaimed “intersection of emo and chronically ill,” Valerie is an advocate and content creator passionate about music, inclusivity, and educating others about disability.

With a background in community engagement and a long time love for live music, Valerie is excited to blend her personal and professional experience together to work towards creating a world full of live music that is safe, enjoyable, and accessible for all.

Kit

Kit

she/her

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Kit’s life mission is to create safe and inclusive spaces online and off. Kit has over a decade of experience in community management, content creation, and user advocacy, and she currently works at a Fortune 5 company. Kit doesn’t let her chronic illnesses stop her from attending a show (115 and counting) and she is passionate about ensuring everyone gets to experience the joy of live music. In her downtime, Kit can be found caring for her guinea pigs, gaming on her PC, or baking some chocolate chip cookies.

Nova Akins

Nova Akins

Lives in Portland, Oregon

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Nova is studying Music & Sonic Arts at Portland Community College with a focus on audio engineering and vocal theory. She spends most of her time trying to harness her muses by pursuing many creative outlets including writing, experimenting with modular synths, singing, graphic art, and teaching yoga.

Nova has a passion for volunteering and enjoys being apart of all things innovative and exciting in the local community. Nova moved to Oregon in the fall of 2016 where she met Cassie via mutual friends. With a shared passion for live music and the increasing awareness of the inequality in venues, Nova is proud to join Half Access on its vital journey.

Nova’s probably listening to The Hotelier, Lorde, Against Me!, Halsey, Half Waif, or Waxahatchee at any given moment.

TJ Hayes

TJ Hayes

Lives in Chicago, Illinois

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TJ is a college student focused on social media and digital strategy as well as music business and is based in Chicago. They are physically disabled and are also incredibly in love with live music. If they aren’t at school or work they are almost definitely checking out a show. TJ first found Half Access after the APMA’s and connected with Cassie on social media. They have experienced years of inaccessibility in live music and want to see a change so the future of disabled people can enjoy live music equally and without issue. Their favorite artists right now include Assuming We Survive, The Maine, Silverstein, The Ghost Inside, Action/Adventure and Simple Plan.

Alumni Board Members

Cassie Wilson

2017-2022

Annie Tunnicliffe

2017-2021

Joey McAllister

2017-2021

Sean Gonzalez

2017-2019