Ninja Tune's Marie Clausen on the Merlin Engage female mentorship programme & breaking down barriers

Ninja Tune's Marie Clausen on the Merlin Engage female mentorship programme & breaking down barriers

Merlin, the independent sector’s digital music licensing partner, has completed its inaugural Merlin Engage mentorship programme. 

Launched this past spring, Merlin Engage paired executive-level mentors with talented mentees to help shape the next generation of female leaders in the independent music space. This first mentorship class had 18 people, with six of the mentors from the Merlin board.

The structure of Merlin Engage was designed for the needs and perspectives of female leaders from independent music. It helped participants to develop into better leaders within their own companies as well as future leaders within the industry. 

The six-month mentorship programme offered guidance and development across an array of skills, such as leadership, prioritisation, personality management, public speaking and presenting and relationship building.

“When I initiated the Merlin Engage mentorship programme, I had a strong vision of empowering the next generation of leaders,” said Marie Clausen, managing director North America, Ninja Tune, and a Merlin Engage mentor. “As the first woman in the US on the Merlin board, and now the Merlin management board, I’ve always sought to help break down barriers. During my own development, I received valuable mentoring that made me recognise the power within our community to change things for the better.”

I have been extremely impressed by the commitment of the Merlin Engage mentors

Marie Clausen

Clausen added: “I have been extremely impressed by the commitment of the Merlin Engage mentors, the clear and undeniable results from the programme, and the inspiration I feel from this next generation of leaders.”

Merlin confirmed that plans are already underway for the next Merlin Engage class in 2024. The organisation will reach out to its membership in the coming weeks to solicit mentors and nominations for mentees. 

“The organisation is deeply committed to continuing this vital initiative to foster a more supportive and inclusive music industry,” said a statement.

“As we celebrate the successful completion of our inaugural Merlin Engage class, we are reminded of the immense value of female voices, perspectives, and leadership from independent music,” said Kyle Elwin, people & culture, at Merlin. “This programme is a catalyst for fostering these voices, empowering new leaders, and equipping them with the skills needed to navigate our dynamic industry. Through mentorship and development, we are helping to ensure that women thrive within the music industry.”

Beyond developing professional skills, it also created a space to reflect on the experiences unique to women in the industry, build professional relationships, and foster more community within the Merlin membership. 

“We are incredibly proud of the achievements of our first Merlin Engage class,” said Jeremy Sirota, CEO of Merlin. “The feedback we’ve received from every participant in this inaugural round has been incredibly rewarding. We are excited to see it continue and grow next year as an agent of positive change in the music industry. I also want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Merlin board for their support and encouragement of this programme.”


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