About Wortman Works
The leadership team at Wortman Works represents the best in the business with several decades worth of entertainment, publicity and event experience. What began as a music PR firm has evolved into a multi-faceted entertainment management, branding, consulting, PR and event powerhouse.
Jules Wortman, Owner/CEO
Jules Wortman serves as president and CEO of Wortman Works Media & Marketing based in Nashville, Tennessee. Wortman is a veteran public relations and marketing strategist who has developed a number of national and international campaigns for record labels, brands, commercial developments, authors, music, sports entertainment, special events and many others.
Her career path has included stops as a senior executive at major record labels, including Warner Bros. Records, MCA/Universal and Atlantic Records, as well as a at top professional wrestling organization seen in over 100 countries each week on various networks. Wortman recognizes her entry-level job at Nashville’s venerable entertainment PR firm, Network Ink Public Relations, as the most leveling job in her career. It was a master class in execution that prepared her for managing expectations, leadership and both personal and professional growth. Network Ink is also where Wortman interned during her junior and senior years at East Tennessee State University.
As an industry leader, Wortman has served on the boards of the Country Music Association (CMA), the T.J. Martell Foundation, Gallatin Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Middle Tennessee. She has been an active member of Leadership Music, the Academy of Country Music, Leadership Sumner, NARAS and many other civic and philanthropic organizations.
Her clients include or have included lifestyle brands Salt Life, Redneck Riviera, Swisher Sweets, Chevrolet (GM), Country Music Television (CMT), Warner Bros. Records, Universal Music, Sony Music, The GMA Dove Awards, The ACA Awards on Fox TV, Time Life Music, TNA Entertainment, Red Light Management, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Blake Shelton, Deana Carter, Big & Rich, Billy Ray Cyrus, Kid Rock, The Charlie Daniels Band and many others. She currently manages The SteelDrivers, a GRAMMY® winning super group on Rounder Records.
Wortman is a 1989 graduate of East Tennessee State University after transferring from The Ohio State University in 1985. Impressed with the university’s exceptional Mass Communications program, as well as the beautiful setting, she became involved with the many opportunities the school provided. Additionally, it didn’t hurt that the basketball team was exceptional during her time at ETSU; the hiking trails, the nearby ski slopes and the “tree streets” put the icing on the cake.
From intramural sports to the SGA, Wortman became very active on campus. Initially, she was elected to the SGA Senate and quickly took the post as the ETSU SGA secretary of the interior where she spearheaded school elections, homecoming activities and even brought a few concerts to campus. Her senior year, she transitioned to the secretary of public relations cabinet slot, befitting her major and facilitating information to the student body and the community. In addition to her campus involvement, Wortman was a contributor to the popular weekly Tri-Cities paper, The Loafer, providing features and weekly happenings in the world of arts and entertainment.
Wortman is a recognized as an expert in her field. She often serves as a respected voice in the media, having been profiled on CNN, GAC, CMT, Billboard magazine and other outlets as an authority on the entertainment space and media relations.
She also serves as an adjunct professor at Belmont University in Nashville. She is an avid tennis player, paddle boarder, kayaker and reader. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, painting and interior decorating. She has two fabulous golden doodles that keep her busy. She is the daughter of the Nancy Wortman and the late Tom Wortman of Newark, Ohio.
Melissa Mathews, Publicist
Melissa Mathews began her PR career in the early 90s at Music Row premiere firm Evelyn Shriver Public Relations. At the time ESPR represented the biggest names in country music such as Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood, Exile and Emmylou Harris among others. After several years, Mathews went in house with a Texas based multi-platinum artist for 17 years where she had day-to-day involvement with the act’s major record label activities that included developing and implementing album launches, follow through of media campaigns, set ups of video and photo shoots, and too many red carpets to count. Mathews worked closely with numerous sponsorship deals that included Mossy Oak, The Nashville Network, Wrangler, Justin Boots, Ranger Boats, Kroger and Dr. Pepper. Today, she greatly enjoys that her PR work with Wortman Works has broadened to more diverse musical projects, along with non-profits and national brands.
Mathews is on the Art for Animals planning board for Pet Community Center and is a volunteer in the children’s department at Church of the City in Franklin, TN.She and husband Gil Grand stay busy with fostering dogs for Metro Animal Care & Control and Big Fluffy Dogs Rescue.They have four amazing children and one exceptionally handsome grandson.
Conner McKiever, Publicist
A southern Indiana native, Conner McKiever graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in arts management including a minor in music with a focus in graphic design. In 2017 she moved from Louisville, KY to pursue a music business career in Nashville, TN and is very excited to be joining the Wortman Works team!
Conner found her passion for music at a very young age listening to Third Eye Blind, Counting Crows, Blink 182 and Five For Fighting in her dad’s 1997 Sonoma. In recent years, she’s expressed this passion through involvement with Business Careers in Entertainment Club, WIUX’s Culture Shock Music Festival, Pollstar Live!, CMA Fest and pr/marketing for independent bands like The Rachel Timberlake Band, Luke Powers and A Day Late. She has also been involved with several nonprofit organizations like The Heimerdinger Foundation, Meals 4 Health & Healing and Blessings in a Backpack.
In her spare time, Conner enjoys attending concerts in Nashville, watching a Nashville Soccer Club game, traveling and checking out new restaurants with friends.
Ashley Smith, Partner in Sponsorship/Branding
With 25 years in the entertainment and sports industries, Ashley Smith is a seasoned marketing executive and powerful relationship cultivator. She is the owner of GSD Advisory, a marketing advising and strategy company which specializes in developing brand strategies, promotional concepts, talent/influencer programs, digital content concepts and much more.
As an industry leader, she produced highly successful campaigns as Senior Director of Management and Marketing for major companies, including ESPN and Turner Broadcasting at TNT and TBS. Ashley also worked at Left Bank Organization as Head of Publicity and New Era Management (now Red Mountain Entertainment) in Birmingham, Alabama where she began her career spearheading PR strategies and tour marketing for several leading artists.
Her clients include or have included networks like SEC Network, College Football Playoff, NBA Finals, SportsCenter, X Games, Winter X Games, The Bee Gees, Blondie, The Cranberries, Meat Loaf, Mötley Crüe, YES, Brother Cane, Gravy, Catfish Jenkins and many more.