Even though we’re nearing the end of 2016, it can still be a little intimidating for young women just starting out in male-dominated industries: music included. There have been plenty of female CEOs across many industries, but not until last year was there a female CEO of a global major music company: Jody Gerson at Universal Music Publishing.
To help young women just starting out in the industry, the Independent Echo asked 41 leading women in the music industry for advice and words of wisdom. Of course, much of this advice can be helpful to young men just starting out, too, but in a male-dominated industry, young women sometimes need to be told these things more often, even if just to prove that it is possible to make an impact in the industry.
You can read all 41 here, but I’ll highlight a few of my favourites.
Shirin Foroutan: Managing Director, Mute [UK]
Seize every opportunity with the same excitement and vigour that motivated you to do this in the first place — try and carry that with you through life.
Be patient. Don’t be afraid. Treat people how you would like to be treated. Work your butt off. Be an ally to your boss and team. Have fun. Jobs come and go, but your reputation is everything.
Tiffany Yu: Digital Manager, Three Six Zero Group, Los Angeles [US]
For those starting out in the music business: Don’t ever be afraid to ask.
Ask for information, ask to be a part of something, ask for help, ask for that special access, etc. It’s uncomfortable at first, but you never know what could happen afterwards.
If you already want something so bad to have the courage to ask, you already know why you would deserve it.
So what, there are worse things to worry about than hearing “No” and so much to gain with any answer.
Alexi Cory-Smith: EVP BMG Chrysalis [UK]
It’s 2016. You’re a woman. Get over it.
The most important thing is not to let the fact you are a woman be the defining fact about you. Define yourself not by what you are, but by what you do and the value you add.
On the other hand, don’t try and be one of the boys — you are never going to be one nor do you need to be one.
And don’t confuse being tough with being strong. You can be strong without being a b****.
Strong is good. Sometimes you will have to be strong when you encounter one of those men who still believes it’s 1974.
When that happens — and it will — be prepared to stand up for yourself and make sure you come off best.
Anette Collins: Head of International, Cooking Vinyl, UK
Don’t sell yourself short, believe in yourself and your ability to do a great job, and don’t ever let anyone make you think your opinions don’t count or that you are not an equal.
Summer Marshall: Talent Agent, CAA, London [UK]
Be kind to everyone you meet regardless of if they are a junior assistant or chairman.
Kristen McElwain: Events Programmer & Special Projects at Resident Advisor, London [UK]
Don’t be intimidated. Know what you want, carry yourself in a professional way, be confident in your knowledge and be firm. The rest will follow. Also, stay on top of your emails.
Catherine Manners: Director, Manners McDade [UK]
As a young woman starting out in the industry, I would simply say to forget that you are a woman, but remember that some men may find you intimidating (but won’t ever admit to it).
Don’t be aggressive (no need) and don’t put up with bad behavior from men — or women!
Andreea Magdalina: Head of Community, Mixcloud / Founder, shesaid.so [US]
Something that will probably be useful down the line, I heard it in a university speech: you can tell a lot about a person based on the way they treat people with less power than them.
That’s how you know who to keep close versus whom you shouldn’t be doing business with.
Halina Wielogorska: Music / Entertainment Solicitor, London [UK]
Don’t disregard anyone you meet and do your best to keep them!
Don’t be afraid to ask for contact details or to find seek subsequent connection on social media.
Always follow up within a week. Ideally, within a day.
Michelle Lhooq: Features Editor, THUMP/VICE [US]
You will often find yourself being the only woman in the room, on your team, on a panel, etc.
It’s a male-dominated industry, but that means your perspective is even more value. Speak your mind, speak truth to power — never be afraid to be “that girl.”
Sarah Pearson: Wasted Youth PR, [UK]
Be brilliant at what you do. Become a master at your art. Be creative and passionate.
It’s all about the music.
Support your fellow women peers so we can achieve equality in the higher positions of the music business.