President and CEO

Buddy has 30+ years of experience in the commercial and nonprofit creative fields. He joined Create Birmingham in 2008, launching major initiatives in arts in education, cultural marketing, creative industries analysis, and arts for social change. Previously, he served as the executive director of the Acadiana Arts Council in Lafayette, LA for thirteen years, preceded by four years as the executive director of the Selma/Dallas County Arts Council. He has served as a consultant to arts and community-based organizations for the Louisiana Division of the Arts, the Mississippi Arts Commission, and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. He's presented at conferences across the Southeast on topics such as arts & tourism partnerships, cultural planning, arts & racial healing, and artist-community partnerships, and participated in public art selection and curatorial processes for federal courthouse, airport, and community-based projects.


Director of Programs

Jessica has worked in the nonprofit sector for twelve years, joining Create in 2011 after serving as the Customer Service Manager for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. She oversees the services Create offers in support of Birmingham’s rapidly growing creative industries, including our flagship programs CO.STARTERS, Film Birmingham, SpaceFinder, and Birmingham365. She serves as a valuable resource to visiting filmmakers and incoming productions and plays a critical role in mentoring local small businesses and entrepreneurs. In addition to weekly meetings with CO.STARTERS participants, she consults with graduates regularly to help them set actionable tasks and achievable goals and take full advantage of the spectrum of CO.STARTERS post-graduation support services.

Meg Nelson Pic 9-19

Director of Development

Meg has twenty years of experience with arts and culture nonprofits, specializing in fundraising, grantmaking, and public relations. Prior to joining Create in 2014, she held positions with organizations including the Jim Henson Foundation and ArtsConnection in New York City, the National Archives Foundation and Arena Stage in Washington, DC, and Red Mountain Theatre Company and the Alabama Humanities Foundation in her hometown of Birmingham. In addition to directing Create’s fundraising efforts, she advises nonprofits, artists, and social enterprises looking to enhance fundraising and marketing campaigns, initiate new programs and evaluate existing ones, build community partnerships, and strategize for sustainability.


Director of Communications

Tonia joined Create in 2018 and has been working in the creative sector for fifteen years. In Nashville, she served as Events Director & Sales Consultant at TAG Gallery and as Gallery Director & Curator at the Rymer Gallery. After returning to Birmingham, she produced digital and print marketing initiatives for Leighton Digital, while also working as an interior designer and a contributing stylist and writer for local publications. Tonia utilizes her unique skillset to effectively promote not only the work of Create Birmingham, but also the work of the talented artists, entrepreneurs, and organizations that make up our thriving creative community.


Community Engagement Manager

Jacqui is a graduate of and facilitator for CO.STARTERS, with nine years of experience in the marketing industry. She joined the Create team in 2019 to assist our rapidly growing CO.STARTERS program by expanding our engagement with communities across the City of Birmingham. She also founded the One Degree MMM marketing firm five years ago, and uses her passion for small business development to provide consultation and marketing coaching to entrepreneurs, helping them make the most of the resources they have to reach their fullest potential.