Debbie Stanley (she/her) teaches music professionals around the world how to get their act together with systems for organizing and productivity that actually work for creative minds. She’s a licensed mental health counselor and organizational psychologist with extensive field experience who enjoys translating the eye-glazing rhetoric of her scholarly education into concepts that make sense in everyday life. Debbie holds a B.F.A. in journalism, an M.A. in industrial and organizational psychology, an M.S. in mental health counseling, and a perpetual devotion to continuing education.
Since starting her company, Thoughts In Order, in 1997, Debbie established herself as a speaker, instructor, author, and consultant to clients across all industries. Upon moving from Detroit to Austin in 2012, she sharpened her focus to the music industry, digging into the systems that drive every aspect of a music career including booking, touring, production, marketing and promotion, recording and distribution, copyright and royalties, and the wellbeing and protection of artists and their creative gifts. Her past and current project portfolio ranges from large-scale conference and festival production to one-on-one consultation and coaching of music creators and industry professionals.
Debbie’s latest book, The Organized Musician, helps independent artists around the world to get their act together and live their dream of a career in music. Well-received as the basis of her South by Southwest presentation “Time Management for Musicians,” The Organized Musician has become a workbook, touchstone, and traveling companion for artists throughout the U.S. and beyond. Her next book, Modern Music Patronage, will teach music fans how to give substantive support to the artists they love in the post-pandemic age of independent music. Debbie is also the author of books for peers including Newbie Pitfalls, Ethical Pitfalls for Professional Organizers, and “Let Me Show You the Basement”: A Guide to Staying Safe in Clients’ Homes (currently in post-pandemic revision).
As an educator, Debbie has offered courses, workshops, and conference presentations for both client groups and peers for over twenty years. She is the developer and instructor of “Fundamental Organizing and Productivity Principles,” a flagship course of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, as well as other courses in the NAPO curriculum. In 2021, Debbie joined the faculty of Austin Community College’s respected Music Business, Performance, and Technology department as the developer and instructor of “Music Career Organization,” a foundational course that is the first of its kind in any college or university music industry degree program.
Debbie is honored to be a curator of the Austin Public Library’s streaming music catalog, a member of the South By Southwest Music Conference Advisory Board, a Professional Member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and a member of the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians' Pearl Society.