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Women-Led Organizations Re-Shaping The Definition of Leadership in Music

Women-Led Organizations Re-Shaping The Definition of Leadership in Music

While a lot has occurred in the month of March and celebrations have looked a little bit different than normal for Women’s History Month, we would be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn’t surface the incredible organizations that support women daily, build extraordinary, engaging communities, facilitate platforms for impactful dialogue, and work tirelessly towards bridging the pay and C-Suite gap across industries. The Orchard decided to feature the words, missions, and founders of various global organizations — some who we have worked with and others we think our community will be interested in following to learn more about how they, too, can get involved. Community is so essential — it helps us during the best of times and during the hardest times and just because in-person interaction is paused for now given the global health concerns, we are encouraging our community to engage with these organizations elevating women — online. Connect, instigate conversation, and we’ll see you online.

Women in Music 

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Women in Music’s mission to advance the awareness, equality, diversity, heritage, opportunities, and cultural aspects of women in the musical arts through education, support, empowerment, and recognition. The organization has various chapters across the world including New York, LA, Barbados, India, Colombia, and more. Through localized educational programming, with a focus on career development, Women in Music is working to make the industry a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community for all. 

In Her Words: The Orchard’s very own Jennifer Santibanez (Account Manager Video Services) happens to also be on the board of Women in Music as Vice Chair, Media Relations. “I wanted to be a part of an organization that was very well aware of the many hats women in our industry wear. Women are mothers, daughters, wives, business women, entrepreneurs — all at the same time. It’s not an easy task but we get the job done. WIM is a safe space for learning and networking. I am so happy to see the diversity, opportunities and most importantly the empowerment I’ve been met with and look forward to reinvigorating the NYC chapter.” 

How Can I Become A Member? Join here

SheSaid.So

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Women-Led Organizations Re-Shaping The Definition of Leadership in Music
Anette Collins, The Orchard’s Director, International Artist Services speaking at MEETSSS

Last October, SheSaid.So hosted their first ever MEETSSS conference in Portugal to celebrate five years, and The Orchard came on board as a sponsor. Founded by Andreea Magdalina before moving to LA from London, SheSaid.So came to life when she was working at a music streaming service called MixCloud and found herself being the only woman on the team. One of her responsibilities at MixCloud was to build and maintain industry relationships. She noticed a lot of men were in these meetings and women were rarely in a position of power. Realizing that this absolutely needed to change, SheSaid.So was one of the earlier organizations to surface conversations around re-shaping leadership in the music industry. 

In Her Words: “My number one objective with SheSaid.So was to create awareness and to bring women together to help each other out because if we don’t, nobody else will. And obviously, five years later, now in 2020 things are a little bit different — it’s on everyone’s lists. There’s this pressure that we managed to create thanks to our work but also other initiatives, collectives, and individuals out there fighting the good fight, and it’s not to be ignored anymore. We’re yet to see definite long-standing results from this work, but we’re certainly making progress. 

We created this safe space for women to come together and share their stories but also to help each other out, explore business opportunities and partnerships, employ one another, give advice about a contract deal — you name it. Now fast forward five years, we are in fifteen locations around the world with fifteen chapters and some of them are country-wide, others are more city-specific, depending on how big that market is. I personally quit my full-time employment in the music industry last year in May 2019 so that I could focus on turning SheSaid.So around from a side passion project into a sustainable business.

The Challenge: Some things have definitely changed and improved but at the end of the day, equal pay is still not a reality, equal opportunity is not a reality, access to education is not a reality for many women around the world. It’s a frightening new and old challenge.” – Andreea Magdalina (Founder, SheSaid.So)

How You Can Pass On the SheSaid.So Model To The Next Generation: Go back to the basics and do something out of the kindness of your heart. Be there for someone when you least expect it, even if you’re not someone in a position of power. I think it’s a sweet reminder that we’re not alone. It’s an empowering gesture at the same time because it makes you feel like you can actually contribute to someone else’s life. You don’t need to be a VP of the company in order to help someone like that — and help yourself. 

How Can I Become A Member? Join here

Listen In: Take a listen to a SheSaid.So curated playlist featuring some of their favorite women and nonbinary family!

ICYMI: Read SheSaid.So’s member spotlight on The Orchard’s Chief Operating Officer Colleen Theis 

The Creator’s Suite

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Founded by New York-based Abhita Austin, The Creator’s Suite is an organization that supports a global community of women DJs, producers, and audio engineers by providing them with access to education, increased visibility, as well as career opportunities. Their mission is to create a nontoxic platform for women in music production to build community in and flourish, through peer-to-peer networking. Since December 2018, The Creator’s Suite has grown substantially since their first official event. The community of women creatives that they support has grown significantly; activations, partnerships, and online engagement is on the rise. This growth is indicative of how grand the need is for women in music production to be supported in a safe space. In October 2019, The Orchard hosted an International Day of the Girl event featuring various producers, artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and music industry professionals for a day of beat-making, expertise, and networking.

Women-Led Organizations Re-Shaping The Definition of Leadership in Music
Producers Pozibelle and V-Notes
Photo Credit: Kevin Vallejos

Abhita was motivated to create The Creator’s Suite after working in professional recording studios and seeing very few people who looked like her in the building. The studio climate did not feel welcoming to women and now she wants to create spaces and platforms that do. The Creator’s Suite is important for many reasons, but one major reason is representation as what the community sees around them positively or negatively shapes expectations and either shapes or limits growth. Through The Creator’s Suite, women in music production see themselves as strong, creative, competent, and connected.

In Her Words: “Gathering together for the purpose of experiencing music is a simple yet complex act. What transpires in the midst of this gathering is a lot of learning by observation, growing by conversation, sharing of creative process, and burgeoning of collaborations and mentorships.

Most of our community events crescendo into a beat cypher—a term used to describe a group of DJs or producers playing music, which is usually original compositions, continuously without interruption. In a beat cypher, each music track or beat played is no more than two minutes long. 

Another vital component of our platform is the opportunity for women specifically in music production to express themselves and uplift and inspire each other. There are not many events in the world, let alone in NY, that are doing that. That aspect adds to the power and magic of it all.

We’ve had to adapt our 2020 calendar due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, but we are planning a series of workshops in the NYC area for the fall and a few virtual surprises before then.” 

How Can I Get Involved? 

Check out The Creator’s Suite website and subscribe to the newsletter for ongoing updates. Follow us on Instagram! We post a lot of content featuring women in music production. If you have a specific project that you’re looking for a producer for, DM or email and we can connect you directly with some gifted creatives.

She Is The Music

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She Is The Music is a nonprofit organization that works to increase the number of women in the music industry from songwriters and producers to industry professionals and executives. In addition to working to connect women in the industry, She Is The Music also provides resources and support for female-focused initiatives and programs. The organization acts on its mission by hosting initiatives like all-female songwriting sessions, mentorship programs, and an industry database of women creators. Since the summer of 2018, She Is The Music has hosted songwriting sessions with Alicia Keys, Kim Petras, Mary J. Blige, among many more talented female artists and creatives. Overall, SITM is working to bring the women in the industry together while creating opportunities for future generations. 

Join the Database: To be connected with other powerful and talented women in the music industry, join the She Is The Music database and browse the database here

How You Can Help: Make a donation or volunteer here to play a part in enacting change in music business. If you or your company would like to sponsor programs, speaking events, camps and more, become a partner and impact thousands of female musicians worldwide.  

Girls Who Listen

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Powered by Industry News Magazine, Girls Who Listen is a non profit organization dedicated to supporting women and creatives in the entertainment space. Through panel discussions, mingling mixers, songwriting sessions, a database of artists and profesesionals, and more — with trusted professionals, they’re providing a safe space and platform for those interested in learning more about the entertainment industries. Girls Who Listen is an extension of Industry News Magazine (INM), a digital source for keeping up with the latest music, news and fashion trends. With INM’s platform they feature local up and coming creatives and those working behind the scenes with your favorite talent. 

In Her Words: “Women’s History Month means powHER.” – Kadijaat Salawudeen, Founder of Girls Who Listen

Join the Database: If you’d like to stay informed and get notified about opportunities and news in the industry, be sure to join the Girls Who Listen database here

Building Beats

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Building Beats provides support for those who want to pursue their passion and build a career out of it. BB empowers individuals to become self-sufficient, creative producers that will give back to their communities while living fulfilling lives. Founded in 2013, the organization has developed DJ and digital music production programs for New York City’s low-income and minority youth, instilling in them leadership, entrepreneurship, and life skills. The programs have expanded to over 2,500 in-school and after-school workshops. BB team members joined in The Orchard’s celebration of the International Day of the Girl in October of 2019, in which they contributed to an afternoon of beat-making and networking with other artists and professionals. Building Beats has since moved online to partake in social distancing, launching bbConnect, a space to connect and learn music production and entrepreneurship online. 

Get Involved: Building Beats is always looking for dedicated people who have a passion for creativity and value learning and leadership. Join the team as a workshop leader, intern, or volunteer here.

Donate: As a nonprofit organization, Building Beats relies greatly on volunteer work and funding from generous parties. Donate here and affect change in communities country-wide that host unrecognized talent. 

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