As the Music Week Women In Music Awards return on November 9, so too does the Roll Of Honour, recognising outstanding achievements across all corners of the industry. Join us as we gather this year's inductees to hear their remarkable stories...
CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MUSIC MANAGERS FORUM
How do you feel about joining the Music Week Women In Music Roll Of Honour?
“It’s great to be nominated and recognised by my peers and on a list with other women I respect. Much appreciated.”
How did you get into the music business?
“I saw a job ad in The Guardian three years ago and applied! The MMF were open to applicants with a love of music, understanding of the issues facing artists and managers and ideas on how to help shape a more responsible industry. I got the job. As an aside, I also used to manage bands (badly) in the ’90s, so have a massive respect for the pressures and rewards that managers face.”
Did you have a mentor or role model who helped or inspired you in the early part of your career?
“I’ve had a few along the way, although no formal mentors. I’ve found people, men and women, I look up to and wanted to learn from and ask advice from. Most have become friends. My husband has also supported me in the career decisions I’ve made along the way (including one role where I spent months traveling between Russia and Poland). I wouldn’t be doing this without his belief and tolerance.”
What do you consider to be your biggest achievement?
“Presenting to the Select Committee on secondary ticketing in 2016. It was right at the start of the FanFair campaign and really helped politicians understand the issues and galvanise the industry into believing change was possible.”
The gender pay gap figures for the music industry made for sobering reading. How far away is parity of opportunity and remuneration for women in the UK music biz?
“It does make for sobering reading but it also feels like the last couple of years have been a sea change in addressing the disparity and what needs to be done to change it. I hope that encouraging women to speak up and challenge the status quo will accelerate change. I was pleased to support the Women In Music ad campaign led by Sammy Andrews highlighting the amazing work of managers, agents and promoters. Making women’s success more visible should lead to greater acknowledgement of their contribution.”
Have things improved during your career? And what more needs to be done?
“Definitely things have improved since I started out working in the early 2000s but, in some ways, I feel it’s amazing we still need to deal with these issues. Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, in what was a post-feminist era, I felt the future was equal but I don’t think I understood then how slow progress would be. I’m glad young girls have a much wider range of role models and should feel like there are greater options open to them.”
The issue of sexual harassment in the entertainment industries continues to dominate the news agenda. Is the music business doing enough to tackle the problem?
“No, not enough is being done, although we are seeing a cultural change where at least it’s no longer acceptable to tolerate harassment as just part of the banter. The Musicians’ Union’s safespace initiative, which is open to members and non-members – big up to Naomi Pohl, the assistant general secretary for leading on this – is much needed.”
What advice would you offer young female executives about enjoying a successful career in the music business?
“Know your worth, work hard and deliver results, share your successes publicly and ensure you are properly remunerated for your contribution. Women are notoriously good at negotiating for others but bad at negotiating for themselves. Provided this is done in an informed and evidenced way, employers should respect you more for negotiating your remuneration than just accepting what is offered.”