Michele Bernstein, Partner, WME

Michele Bernstein
– Michele Bernstein

The Engagers

Executives who are doing exciting things in fan engagement. People whose work makes for memorable events. 

Michele Bernstein
Partner, WME 

Refreshed from a week-long “girls’ retreat” in Lanai, Hawaii, which she described as “sunrise hikes and green vegetables … a little healthy but weird,” WME partner Michele Bernstein has hit the ground running, overseeing the first tour from the sizzling Lizzo, who performed at Coachella, where she also guested with Janelle Monáe. 

Other artists Bernstein touts include Greta Van Fleet (“I’m excited to watch rock take its place again”) and Hugh Jackman’s first world concert tour, hot on the heels of his “The Greatest Showman” success (“It’s always exciting to take a client from one area and make them just as successful in another”).

This San Fernando Valley girl, who once interned at the now-shuttered Universal Amphitheatre, has been with the agency for 18 years, since she started under the late Peter Grosslight after she left the Hard Rock as a buyer to become a seller. “It gives me the promoter’s perspective from the inside of a large agency,” she says as a prime reason for her success. “I appreciate how hard they work to make a living in these smaller markets.”

Bernstein is most proud of her role in Bruno Mars’ massive “24K Magic World Tour,” which grossed more than $367 million over 2017-18. 

She credits her old-school decision to simultaneously put tickets on sale globally as a key factor. “And they just blew up,” she says, laughing. 

“It was the first time I remember crying in my office, and then we all just drank champagne.” 

A marketing expert from her days at L.A. indie promoter Avalon Attractions, she fittingly credits her old boss, the late Brian Murphy, as a mentor. 

“He was an incredible coach, a super-proud dad and a tactical strategist,” she says. “He left a fraternity of people, a lineage that speaks for itself – Jim Guerinot, Steve Rennie, Ted Mankin, Moss Jacobs, Paul Tollett … there was a group of us. I learned a lot about what it means to protect a relationship.  

“He was certainly an incredible teacher,” Bernstein continues. “I also worked with some pretty incredible women – Tracie Buie, Missy Worth, Jennifer Perry … they were interesting ladies who told me about doing the right thing.”

As a woman in a still male-dominated business, Bernstein says hard work pays off.

“I was just determined. I’m lucky enough to work in a company where they don’t see sex as an issue, where they take account of your initiative, intelligence and accomplishments,” she says. “It was a little like that at the Hard Rock for sure, but I haven’t experienced that in a long time. I may not be part of the club, but I just let my accomplishments speak for themselves. There’s no greater compliment that letting your work shine.”

Growing up in the region and blessed with concert-going parents, Bernstein’s concert highlights include Duran Duran, future client Neil Diamond and Cat Stevens. “I looked at him and cried,” she says. “My dad raised me on Tea for the Tillerman.”