Five Attributes For The Effective Leadership Of Creative People


By Michelle Sullivan with Jeff Vaughn

Photography by Damian Weilers
Creative Direction by Beatrice Hurst

Jeff Vaughn

Director of A&R at Artist Partners and the Director of A&R at Artist Publishing Group.

Los Angeles

Grew Up in:
Northern Virginia and Connecticut, U.S.A.


Recommended read:
‘Creativity, Inc’ by Ed Catmull  

Favourite Venue:
The Hollywood Bowl

Music Influences:
Kanye West
Velvet Underground
Toots & The Maytals
Van Morrison

Memorable Song:
The Supremes – ‘Someday We’ll Be Together’

A&R for:
Kevin Gates (Artist Partners / Atlantic)
Que (Atlantic)
Young Thug (300 / Atlantic)
DLow The Bop King (Atlantic)

Records placed:
Future - I Won feat. Kanye West
Wiz Khalifa and 2Chainz - We Own It

His publishing signings have contributed to:
Young Thug - Stoner
Rich Homie Quan - Type of Way
Childish Gambino - 3005
Yo Gotti - Act Right

Management clients:
Gizzle (songs with Kid Ink, B.o.B, Kevin Gates)
Cook Classics (songs with Outasight, Flo Rida, Classified)
Geoffro Cause (songs with B.o.B, Lupe Fiasco)
JHart (songs with Justin Bieber, Trey Songz, Timeflies)

Jeff Vaughn is an A&R Executive. He is 28 years-old, has spent time in the US military, graduated Duke University, and has a deep love for Southern Hip Hop. He originally entered the entertainment business via a mailroom position at United Talent Agency in 2008. During 2010 he worked as the assistant to Rob Prince, who is the agent for acts including Hall & Oates, Bob Seger and Celine Dion. In April 2011, he started working as the assistant to Mike Caren, who is the Worldwide President of A&R at Warner Music Group. After 2 subsequent promotions within WMG, he now holds the dual title of - Director of A&R at Artist Partners and the Director of A&R at Artist Publishing Group.

 Over the course of the last 14-months, Jeff and I have engaged in numerous interviews, phone calls and email exchanges centering on the discussion of leadership. It is a topic on which he is both passionate and curious about. I have been seeking to understand Jeff’s perspective on what attributes he believes to inform effective leadership, together with the experiences that impact upon his way of work. More specifically, I have been interested to understand Jeff’s experience of leadership as an American music executive who is under 30-years-of-age and who has advanced in his career via traditional steps. As an A&R, he is increasingly independent in his decision-making abilities at the company, and is responsible for a small roster of interns and artists.

 Leadership is inherently a process of social influence, where a person is able to gather the support of others to achieve a common goal. Effective leadership can be understood by the ability of the leader to inspire others toward the achievement of that goal, and providing those such as Jeff with the tools to create positive change is critical. I wish to propose the idea that insights on leadership do not necessarily need to be birthed from those who manage large teams. Rather, they can also be learned from those who are working in small team environments and who are able to inspire others to achieve a common goal.

I have studied the development of Jeff’s thought process on leadership over the last 14-months and sought to understand what leadership traits Jeff identifies with, and the kind of leader that he aspires to be. We have worked together to identify 5 core attributes that he believes drive the effective leadership of creative people. They are:


1.      Trust

2.     Patience

3.     Vision

4.     Communication

5.     Team


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