BBA ’92, LAW ’99 | Co-owner and Director of Business Affairs, Axis Music Group
Appreciating his roots: “I spend a lot of time in Los Angeles and New York for work, and my wife (Angela) and I like to travel, but there’s nothing like Philadelphia. We enjoy dining in the city, walking and biking on the river and visiting the museums. And I’m constantly inspired by the new development in Northern Liberties, Center City and Powelton Village, where we live.”
At any given time, Chauncey Childs has five or six projects – maybe more – going simultaneously. And he wouldn’t want it any other way.
“This is exactly how I envisioned my career playing out,” said Childs, the co-founder and director of business affairs for the Philadelphia-based Axis Music Group. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Childs is the business arm of Axis’ operations. He’s tasked with negotiating contracts, drafting agreements, managing budgets, and collecting royalties for Axis, which oversees a host of music artists, songwriters, and producers. Childs doubles as the business manager for James Poyser, BBA ’94, who he first met during their undergraduate careers at the Fox School of Business.
The two crossed paths in a finance class at Temple University, and then again years later in a recording studio at A Touch of Jazz, a Philadelphia music production company. They decided to go into business together, and Axis was born. Today, their company’s operations are two-pronged: Axis writers and producers craft original songs for established artists, and they also write original songs for film, television, and TV commercials.
“When a TV show or movie is transitioning from one scene to the next, someone writes that musical segue. That someone is Axis,” said Childs, explaining one of Axis’ functions. “When we first got started, we used to hustle to get work. And now, after we’ve been at it for 20 years, we still have to hustle, but we also get contract work on the profile of what we’ve already accomplished. We’ve come a long way.”
Childs’ interest in music, and his desire to represent the industry’s top talent, dates to his days at Temple. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Business Management from the Fox School, and later his Juris Doctorate from Temple’s Beasley School of Law, to turn that dream into a reality.
“Temple gave me the confidence I needed in order to start my own business,” said Childs, 45, a Philadelphia native. “Both of my degrees provided me with the toolkit that I needed to hit the real world and say, ‘I can be an entrepreneur.’”
Childs’ work, at times, seems never-ending. A written agreement is required every time an original piece of music is penned. The volume of contracts, he said, can be extensive. But he’s also overseen much-larger contractual agreements. Notably, Childs negotiated a label imprint deal with Sony Music, aligning Axis with the international music giant allowed Axis the opportunity to market and distribute their Artist’s music through Sony globally.
“That was a milestone moment for me,” Childs said.
The contracts pay the bills. What’s most rewarding, he said, is Axis’ commitment to developing young talent.
Franklin Walker, a percussionist at Poyser’s church, came on board as an understudy to Poyser. Walker, a self-taught drummer, wound up on tour with rapper D’Angelo and presently performs with Poyser five nights a week on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” for which their band, The Roots, serves as the house band.
Childs said he met another young man, Aaron Draper, at a high school career fair at which he was speaking. Draper, rather than speaking of his interest in attending college, kept reiterating a desire to drum professionally. On the spot, Childs invited Draper to Axis’ studio, believing he could benefit from exposure to talent, top equipment, and studio time. Draper is currently on an international tour with pop-soul singer Adele.
“We’ve been able to take the next generation of musicians, mentor them, and, based on our relationships in the business, give them opportunities to carve out careers for themselves,” Childs said. “I’ve got to say – it’s some of the most-rewarding work we do.”
It doesn’t hurt that stars like Erykah Badu keep Childs’ number in their smartphone contacts.
“It’s an unwritten rule that James will work on all of my albums,” Badu said, “but I don’t step into the studio until Chauncey and Ward White (Badu’s representation) have worked out the details.”
Said Childs: “James and I have put in a lot of work over the years to get Axis to where it is today, and it’s been worth it. Every step has been worth it.”
Dear members of the Fox School Family:
These words are at the heart of what we do and are as much a part of our rich legacy as our promising future.
In 2018, the Fox School of Business will celebrate our Centennial — 100 years of business education!
From our roots in 1918 as Temple University’s School of Commerce to today, as one of the nation’s largest and most-comprehensive business schools, the Fox School of Business has remained true to the vision of Temple’s founder, Dr. Russell Conwell.
For nearly 100 years, our stellar faculty has produced influential research and innovative teaching, and our diverse and exceptional students have earned an elite business leadership education. Our graduates have excelled as executives at every level, whether in C-Suites of Fortune 500 companies or as successful entrepreneurs in unique and cutting-edge ventures, further demonstrating our legacy of excellence.
And, the Fox School has maintained a reputation of outperformance.
U.S. News & World Report rated our Online MBA as No. 1 in the nation. U.S. News and The Economist regard our Part-Time and Executive MBAs, respectively, as the best in Philadelphia. And several of our undergraduate programs are ranked among the top-15 in the U.S., according to U.S. News and The Princeton Review. Our faculty’s scholarship output is highly ranked among the top business schools in the nation.
In the months ahead, we will unveil a schedule of events to recognize our storied history, our distinguished alumni and remarkable student body.
We welcome your participation in these celebrations. Along the way, we will also ask you to share personal stories and submit memorabilia to be featured in exhibits and displays.
We look forward to celebrating this distinguished legacy — and our 100th anniversary — with you!
M. Moshe Porat, PhD, CPCU
Laura H. Carnell Professor
Fox School of Business
Are you part of a Fox family legacy? Email your photographs and stories to Kimberly Hamm, Associate Director of Development & Alumni Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her view of the world shaped by her late mother, Brittni Devereaux, MBA ’10, is a leader who marches to the beat of her own drum
The tattoo on Brittni Devereaux’s right biceps muscle is big and loud and splashy, roses ringing a heart with a banner overlapping both.
“Mom,” it says on the banner, “XOXO.”
It is testimony both to her enduring love for her late mother, Lori Troy, who died in 2011 from breast cancer, and that when Devereaux does something, she jumps in with both feet.
“A lot of people see it, and they say, ‘It’s kind of a big tattoo for your first tattoo,’” she said. “I always say, ‘But if I’m going to do something, I’m going to go all the way.’”
That was never more evident than when she decided to enter Temple University’s Fox School of Business, from which she earned her Global MBA in 2010. As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan she was on track to earn degrees in horn performance and music education, but her career aims were unclear. Maybe, she thought, she could teach. Maybe she could become a band director or join an orchestra.
Then she thought about it some more.
“I knew, one day, I wanted to lead an organization, and I think that’s what drew me toward looking at business school as a next step,” Devereaux said. “I’d need a business education if I was to gain a new set of skills in order to be a leader. It became apparent that my aspirations in life would take me beyond the track that music school could prepare me for.”
She emphasized that she would not trade her undergraduate training at Michigan; indeed it was the school the Brighton, Mich., native always had wanted to attend. At the same time, she said, “Music school prepared me to be the person I am today, but it was time to seek a new set of skills to become the leader I aspired to be in the future.”
She decided on Temple in 2008, in part because her then-fiancé (and soon-to-be husband), Scott, was bound for Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. It is a decision the 29-year-old Devereaux, who in April will enter her fifth year at the global consulting firm Mercer, has never regretted.
“I feel, in a lot of ways, Temple chose me,” she said.
There, she was able to meld her creative and analytical sides, something that proved invaluable when she interviewed for a position at Mercer.
“I didn’t have to defend myself in the interview,” she
said “I’d get asked, ‘Why were you doing music? How does this make sense with what you’re doing now? I don’t get it.’ I was being challenged about me, the choices I had made, and the path I was on. But finally in my interview with Mercer, they told me, ‘You’re a real person. We have a lot of analytical people here. It would be great to have a balance on the other side.’ It just felt right.”
Jacques Goulet, Mercer’s president of Global Retirement, Health, and Benefits, employed Devereaux as his chief of staff from November 2013 to May 2015, and called her “a real asset to us.”
“She brought a ton of energy, and also enthusiasm and passion
to what she does,” Goulet said. “She was very eager to go beyond that box that she was in.”
Whitney Connaughton, the firm’s Global Human Resources Leader for Global Retirement, Health, and Benefits, said Devereaux is “never hindered by the way we do it. She’s always thinking about the next way to do our work.”
While working for Goulet, Devereaux created the Collective Impact Challenge, an initiative through which colleagues were invited to submit ideas of ways that they might leverage their skills to improve their communities. Currently she is a member of the firm’s Innovation Hub, designing a talent-acquisition app that uses neuroscience games to match candidates to open jobs, while also serving as co-chair of Mercer Cares, the business resource group responsible for fostering volunteer initiatives among employees worldwide.
“She’s the type of person who is able to take risks, put things out there and deliver on them,” said Jayme Ierna, Devereaux’s co-chair. “It’s been a real pleasure working with her. Just trying to keep up with her is a whole other thing.”
None of this comes as a surprise to Scott. He also hails from Michigan — his hometown of Washington is an hour away from his wife’s — and is likewise musically inclined; he played the tuba growing up and is now part of The U.S. Army Field Band, traveling the country as musical ambassadors to the Army performing 100 shows a year.
The couple met while on a band trip to Europe between their sophomore and junior years of high school, dated long-distance then, and attended Michigan together. They were engaged in December of their senior year, and married the following October, after they had moved to Philadelphia. They lived in town for seven years before moving again in early 2015 to Baltimore, so Scott could be closer to Fort Meade, where the Field Band is based.
“Brittni,” he said, “is pretty much relentless in her drive to perform at her highest capacity.
… She’s always looking to be productive, in everything she does. She’s also very sharp.”
Asked why she is wired the way she is, Brittni needed to look no further than her tattoo. Her parents were divorced when she was young, and Lori raised Brittni and her younger sister Bethany as a single parent.
“I always saw my mom being a very strong person,” Brittni said. “I definitely think I get a lot of my characteristics, either biologically or environmentally, from her. My mom was someone that never quit.”
She also fueled Brittni’s creative side. When Brittni argued that she should take more advanced-placement courses in high school, the better to prepare herself for college, her mom would instead direct her toward drawing or painting.
“It was always funny,” Brittni recalled. “I think everybody else would come to school and say, ‘Oh, my mom is making me take AP English.’ And I would say, ‘Oh, I’m going to drawing class now, because my mom is making me take drawing.’ ”
Lori died at age 48, but her daughter is still following her example. “The truth is, I can’t handle people telling me what to do,” Brittni said. “That’s not how I operate best, and that’s not how I’ve ever operated. For better or worse, I’ve always viewed my world as being on my own to get stuff done, and if I don’t make it happen, then it’s not going to happen. I have to figure out the way, and I have to be the one to ensure it happens the way I want it to.”
It has, and still is. And the Fox School of Business gets part of the credit for that.