Who We Are

Board of Directors

Kathy Drayton

Kathy Drayton is a longtime supporter of nonprofit organizations in the areas of religious, arts and leadership. She has served on various boards and committees over the years, generally in the areas of financial management, and is happy to be wearing a new hat as LMMF chairperson. Drayton enjoys all types of music, especially when she has the opportunity to dance to the music. She is excited to be a part of an organization that will present wonderful live music in settings where guests can participate in the music through movement, especially dance. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Master of Science in Accounting. She is a certified public accountant in the states of Colorado and California.


Krishna Nunnally Najieb

Krishna Nunnally Najieb is a longtime and avid supporter of the arts — and a bit of an artist herself. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Speech, majoring in both theater and radio/TV/film, with an emphasis on directing. Parenthood interrupted her aspirations to be a professional artist, so she channeled her interest and talents into a number of volunteer assignments with theater and arts organizations. She also ensured her children were exposed to all forms of the arts, believing that training in the creative arts is as essential as reading, writing and mathematics. As a board member of LMMF, Najieb hopes to help provide opportunities to enjoy live music, create new audiences and appreciation for live performance and artists, and sustain the legacy of African American music for all people.


Cheryl D. Brown

Cheryl D. Brown was born and raised in Los Angeles — in a home with parents who were avid music enthusiasts. A wide array of music was always playing. As a young child, she loved to visit relatives on 42nd Street and Central Avenue and on 54th Street, where the weekend backyard parties were held. There was always live music, good food, people dancing and much fun! So it is with pleasure and honor that Brown has the opportunity to serve LMMF. She attended both UC Irvine and the University of Rochester in New York, where she earned a Master of Science degree from the School of Political Science. The joy of her life is her child, Nicole — who also is an avid music lover!


Kwame Dow

Kwame Dow is the Chief Executive Officer and driving force behind ARTICULATE (Pronounced-Articulate U). He has spent the last 14 years of his career in Sr. Executive Management, Program Development, Hiring and Recruiting roles. Kwame is a graduate of Lincoln University, Pennsylvania and started his career in Atlanta, Georgia. He worked for Beneficial, Georgia as a Branch Service Manager after which he went on to work for SunTrust Banks as an HRIS Specialist. He then moved on to Spherion where, during his 7-year tenure, he became Partnership Director working with Fortune 1000 companies such as Vivendi Games, CSC, Toyota, Epson America and IndyMac Bank. After Spherion Kwame, along with his business partner, launched Dow Mazur Group. Working with companies like Occidental Petroleum, TBWA/Chiat/Day, AEG, Konami and Oakwood Worldwide they grew the business 50% year over year for 3 years. While at DMG, Kwame began putting on workshops to help job seekers better position themselves in the job market regardless of the economy. These workshops set the framework for Articulate U. Working with candidates is Kwame’s passion. He helps them get the jobs they both want and need! His ability to help candidates communicate their value, interview with confidence, and negotiate offers is second to none. Kwame is the first call companies make when they are looking to refine their hiring processes, create strategic partnerships or make adjustments to their workforce. Kwame has been married to his beautiful wife for 13 years and is the proud dad of an amazing 7-year-old daughter. His philosophy: “In everything you do you have to first be of service.”


Donald Cooke

Music industry professional


Advisory Committee

Leslie Drayton

Trumpeter Leslie Drayton has been an active professional musician for over 40 years. His early career began as a member of local R&B and jazz bands in Los Angeles, which eventually led to his becoming one of the founding members of the group Earth, Wind & Fire and later serving as musical director for Marvin Gaye in the 1970s. Beginning in 1978, he formed a critically acclaimed and popular big band, which evolved into a smaller unit entitled Leslie Drayton and Fun in the mid- 1980s. His numerous freelance activities include composing, arranging, performing live and serving on the faculty at both Santa Monica College and Ventura College. He has released 11 albums as a leader.


Linda Y. Robinson

Linda Robinson brings her skills in management, program development, grant writing, strategic planning, community building/empowerment and cultural diversity/race relations in support of LMMF. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare/Criminal Justice and a Master of Science in Psychology. She has a passion for lifelong learning, especially in diverse music styles. Robinson was born and raised in Los Angeles and worked in local community colleges, colleges and universities and nonprofit, community-based organizations.


Keith Fiddmont – Musician, Educator

Jazz educator and woodwind specialist Frederick (“Keith”) Fiddmont moved to Los Angeles in 1991 after leaving the legendary vibraphonist Lionel Hampton to begin a two-year stint with singer Rickie Lee Jones.He has recorded or performed live with many legends such as Stevie Wonder, Luis Miguel, Diana Krall, Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, James Brown, The Temptations, Jennifer Holliday, Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson and B.B. King on his GRAMMY® award-winning One Kind Favor. In addition, he’s worked with gifted artists like Wayne Brady, Billy Childs, Queen Latifah, Michael Bublé and John Pizzarelli. As a freelancer, he has performed with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Bob Mintzer Big Band, the Ed Neumeister Big Band, the Luckman Jazz Orchestra and the Southeast Orchestra. Keith has been a member of the award-winning Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra for the past 13 years. The group’s recent credits include “The Big Band Bash” with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Wynton Marsalis, and the Benny Golson 80th Birthday Celebration at the Kennedy Center. Keith joined the music faculty of Santa Monica College as an adjunct professor in the late 1990s and became a full-time faculty member in 2010.


Ron Kimball — Music Supporter

Ron Kimball was born in Cleveland, Ohio, where his mother, who sang in the church choir and also provided piano and guitar lessons for him, introduced him to music. In his teen years he enjoyed the likes of Moody, Powell, Coltrane, Holiday and Horne and most of the other top names through a program at the Cotton Club Lounge on 4th Street. That facility provided a Sunday afternoon jam session, where the musicians who had performed over the weekend did two-hour sets for those under 21. Kimball moved to Los Angeles in1966, where he was happy to enjoy all the music and entertainment that LA provided. He graduated from California Business School and Pierce College. He spent 28 years in laboratory management with the Upjohn/SmithKline companies.


Del Atkins — Music Supporter

Bassist Del Atkins has over 25 years experience as a professional musician and recording engineer. He has experience as a music director, bandleader, composer, mix engineer, educator and is also an author. Del is member of American Federation of Musicians and a member of BMI as a writer and publisher.Del has diverse interests in the music arena in addition to performance. He is the owner of N-Cite Recording Studio where various types of music is recorded, mixed and mastered. He is the owner of CDA Sound Services for live sound reinforcement and management of day-to-day operations for concerts throughout southern California.Del’s work in film and television includes band member on American Idol and America’s Got Talent. He served as musical director for History Makers Tribute to Quincy Jones. He has written scores or provided source music for Soulmen, Adventures in Hollyhood, Divine Inervention, and the Bernie Mack Show. He has performed with Al Jarreau, Gladys Knight, Jessica Simpson and Heather Headley to name a few. He currently performs with Ronnie Laws and the Pointer Sisters in addition to performances with his band. Del is the current musical director for James Ingram.

For more information on Del, visit his website at www.delatkins.com.