The Music Week Women In Music Awards may have been held last Friday, but the buzz from the event is still lingering. That’s in no small part due to the day’s inspirational speeches – which is why we’re presenting the winners’ words in full. Third in our series is Outstanding Contribution winner, Jo Dipple.
Dipple is now SVP, public affairs, at Live Nation Entertainment but spent a decade at UK Music, six of them as CEO. There, she proved a true music business leader, able to get the industry’s issues and concerns onto the agenda of powerbrokers and politicians everywhere.
That influence was apparent in her tribute video – which featured an array of political heavyweights, including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Labour Party grandee Peter Mandelson – and in her presenter, current Labour Party deputy leader Tom Watson. Watson described her as “a powerful voice for an industry that sometimes finds it difficult to sing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to talking to government” and praised her “tact, diplomacy, resilience and occasional sheer bloody-mindedness”.
Dipple then took to the stage and proceed to speak with her usual mix of wit and passion. Here’s her speech in full:
"Thank you to everyone in that video and thank you to everyone in the room. Everyone who has won an award tonight has won an outstanding achievement award. Thank you to Alison [Wenham], Emma [Banks] and Jackie [Hyde], the previous winners of this award, it's a real privilege to be up here and I won't measure myself against anyone in this room or previous winners.
“But for the UK Music years, I will gladly take this award. Thank you to the members, thank you to the staff of UK Music past and present. That video makes me think of the old adage: If you want something said, ask a man, if you want something done, ask a woman.
"My mentors have included Sue Nye and Anji Hunter. I've been very privileged to work with extremely strong, successful women often who take the place behind the men in the spotlight. And now I have Selina [Emeny] at Live Nation, thank you for taking me on. I'm really pleased to be working with her, it's an exciting time. And thanks to Sandie Shaw who couldn't make it into the VT.
“Women are the backbone of business and public life and the representation of women is very important. Few businesses get it right. Those that do, reap the benefits; the trust of all their staff and economic success. Leaving men to chase mammoths and fight fire is great, but who's going to build the house or get the village to work? And frankly, what if I turn out to be a good mammoth hunter? Every report shows that better representation leads to better results. Even if you don't care for us ladies – as if! – think of the balance sheet, think of your bonus: we'll make it bigger.
“Despite the enormous success of British female musicians – Adele, Amy Winehouse, Annie Lennox just on A – some of the men in the music business still only ask one question of a woman in their office: Is she a PR or a PA? Women at the top are entrepreneurial, we are classic disruptors. Those who fear disruption won't get it. Those who don't fear it are the future.
“An exec at Ticketmaster in one of my first weeks, with little self-reflection, made a statement of fact: You have to keep changing. You have to assess where you are, test what's working and what doesn't. Keep evolving, keep changing else you won't grow.
“Today's awards, this Women In Music helps. Now in its fourth year, none of the women in this room or award winners past or present want to be singled out for success because of their sex. They're good because they're bloody good. The sooner our contribution is equally acknowledged, remunerated and celebrated, the less we will need this day. And when that day comes, my card is behind the bloody bar. Chicas, thank you."