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Silhouettes of the Crowds

Emily Musty Zanleoni

Project Director for Accelerator Workshops



A Bit About Em...

Emily Zanleon is a deep listener and appreciator of the human spirit. As a humanist, Em is committed to ensuring that all people have the skills and supports they need to live healthy, adventurous lives.


EmZ is a diversely talented performer with an education in music performance as well as a BA in Theater with a minor in Dance. Em has fronted cover bands ONE EYE OPEN (2000-2006) and THE PARTY CRASHERS (2008-2014), performed in duo groups with David Newsam (jazz), Ed Burgess (acoustic singer-songwriter), David “Doc” Gordon (pop) and released a CD with Newsam entitled SONGS IN THE KEY OF EM (2005). Em met Newsam through at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College while also acting as managing director and educator/performer for two Nationally-touring nonprofit organizations. Em is also a member of the Screen Actors’ Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG/AFTRA) and spent almost three years in Los Angeles to garner multiple commercial credits and roles in television shows, independent films and music videos.


Em began her career as a youth crisis facilitator and psychotherapist in 2009. Since then, she has worked to provide education and access to care for young people, and coordinated programs focusing on promoting sexual health, substance- use prevention, suicide prevention, and positive youth development and engagement. 


Since 2019, Em has worked as a Facilitator, Trainer and Coach working with next-gen social change artists to develop skills in concept development and grant writing. Alongside Liz Stookey Sunde, Music to Life’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, Em developed a pilot concept for a coordinated professional development process that links a network of multi-genre musicians (screened for talent, experience and compassion) with the at-risk youth of rural communities in the Northeast. Em further designed a one-day professional workshop and planning session for network artists to develop programming and concept for project dissemination.


Em is currently the Executive Director of the Hartford Community Coalition, Program Director of the Accelerator Workshop at Music to Life, and performs in the Northeast with guitarist Nat Williams.

Current Work Experience @ Music to Life

The Accelerator Academy

developed in 2019

by Em, Liz Stookey Sunde and Leti Beuno

  • An 8-month incubator and training opportunity that empowers musicians to develop entrepreneurial approaches to their social change work. Led by experts in the fields of social justice, nonprofit work, business leadership and arts industry, the Accelerator is designed to be a transformative experience for each musician, sparking their capacity to support themselves while being effective change agents for communities-in-need. Integral to this work is an equity lens that anchors engagement and program development around the core values of inclusion, cultural and socioeconomic sensitivity, and respect for all approaches and points of view.

The Accelerator Workshop

developed in 2021

by Em & Liz Stookey Sunde

  • The Accelerator Workshop is an abbreviated incubator program, in-person (as conditions allow), community-specific, and customizable to the needs and interests of the community/collaborators. Coordinated with local organizers (community partners), the Workshop offers a more adaptable/portable, less expensive introduction for social change musician entrepreneurs. The Workshop helps artists understand the skills and partnerships needed to develop sustainable, community-oriented programs. It may be a recruitment tool through which to identify and prepare prospective musicians for our National Accelerator Academy, though this isn’t its exclusive function.

Em as an Artist Changemaker

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