Alumni Spotlight Arts & Humanities Business & Economy

The Business Manager

Stephanie Mundy Self BMus ’07, BBA ’07
Founding Partner

Business management and financial planning firm Farris, Self & Moore

Like many residents of Nashville, Stephanie Mundy Self harbored dreams of a career on stage. The South Carolina native earned a scholarship to UGA as a voice major in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music but soon saw many of her fellow musicians struggling to get jobs.

She needed a backup plan, and she came up with a good one.

Self added a second major—risk management and insurance in the Terry College of Business—as well as a certificate in music business. She was a member of the certificate’s inaugural class. During her senior year, she received a scholarship that Bill Anderson ABJ ’59 set up in honor of his father, who worked in the insurance industry. Self and Anderson remain friends to this day.

The stars, as they say, were aligning.

After graduating, she took a job at a Nashville business management firm. During her eight years in the position, Self learned the nuances of the business, how to best work with clients, and how to negotiate the complicated Nashville scene. She worked with the firm’s largest artist, led a team of six, and frequently hired UGA graduates. While there, she met Kella Farris and Catherine Moore.

Self and Moore worked together. When they broached the idea of going out on their own, they ran their plan past Farris, who’d run her own company for nearly a decade. Farris suggested that they all go in together.

The trio launched the financial planning and business management firm Farris, Self & Moore in 2015. Their work is distinct from the agents and managers who guide artists’ careers. Farris, Self & Moore manages their clients’ money.

They inherited Farris’ 15 existing clients but none of her staff.

“Our first Christmas party was the three of us and our three husbands,” Self says. “We started from scratch.”

To build a client base, Self says she sat for 400 coffees and breakfast meetings that first year. Word got out. Artists, unprompted, called the office asking about their services. Soon, the trio’s dream of building a boutique firm became reality.

Farris, Self & Moore now boasts about 60 clients—all of them artists or songwriters.The firm employs 24 staff—seven of them, including Self, are UGA alumni—and they just moved into a new 10,000-square-foot office on Music Row.

Self makes sure to get out of that office, though, and she makes the effort count. She has served on the boards of the Nashville Film Festival and the Nashville Women’s Music Business Association, the Terry Young Alumni Board, and now the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Board. Self has also collected industry accolades. Billboard magazine named her a Country Power Player and Top Business Manager. The influential magazine also named her to its Women in Music Executive List. And in 2022, Self was named Business Manager of the Year by the CMA Touring Awards.

“The awards are awesome, but I always want them to be about our firm,” Self says. “I’m not doing this by myself. I have this team of people around me, and it also includes family and friends. You don’t ever get anywhere by yourself. It’s from the help of your village, really. Everybody supports each other. There is just this real camaraderie.”

Photos by Peter Frey BFA ’94