"Champion yourself": The Women In Music Roll Of Honour give advice for young female execs


In the new issue of Music Week, we celebrate the 12 industry game changers who are being inducted onto the Roll Of Honour at this week's Music Week Women In Music Awards, and this year’s list could be the strongest yet. Inside the issue, across a staggering 14 pages, we present you with interviews with 12 of the most important names in the biz right now, ranging from A&R and labels to publishing, live and beyond. Earlier in the week, we asked the latest inductees about the biggest challenges they have overcome and the one change they would like to make to benefit women in the music industry. Here we find out what piece of advice they would offer young female executives about enjoying a successful career in the music business…


Vick Bain, CEO, BASCA

“Keep at it; believe in yourself, work hard, go the extra mile, be determined, don’t give up, use setbacks to think creatively and reach out to other women in the music industry.”


Lara Baker, marketing and events director, Association Of Independent Music (AIM)

“Believe in yourself, champion yourself and develop as much confidence as possible. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of a support network. Other women in music aren’t your competition, they’re your best allies.”


Annette Barrett, managing director, Reservoir/Reverb Music

“Speak up and be heard – and they need to feel they are being encouraged and listened to as well.”


Karma Bertelsen, marketing manager, Kilimanjaro Live

“Treat everyone as you’d like to be treated. There is a common misconception you have to be an asshole to work in music. Believe in yourself, do not be afraid to push for what you deserve. And, do not burn yourself out – don’t work 24/7, set boundaries and protect your mental health by taking a time out if you need it.”


Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO, Attitude Is Everything

“Do what you want to do. Actively listen to people but set your eye on the prize, don’t tread over anyone else to do it, and I’d say that to anyone, man or woman. Work with people, learn from people and actively listen to them. Take a lot of coaching and mentoring opportunities and try and have a vision for yourself and don’t let anyone put you off. If that’s what you really want to do, just do it.”


Karen Buse, executive director, membership and international, PRS For Music

“It’s really important to find men who champion women and together help break down stereotypes. I would also encourage them to be themselves and don’t try to be someone that they’re not. It can sometimes be tricky to get your voice heard in an alpha male-dominated environment but don’t try to be something that you’re not; keep your own character and personality. And, most importantly – as females – look out for each other.”


Amber Davis, A&R director, Warner/Chappell Music

“Just be true to yourself, always follow your gut and never get swayed by someone just because they’re more experienced than you. Sometimes music is just an instinctive feeling. The regret you feel when you don’t follow your gut and were right all along outweighs the argument you may have had with your boss at the time!”


Michelle Kambasha, head of press, Secretly Group

“Keep a strong gaggle of women (and ‘woke’ men) around you - seek them out, ask them for advice. People are more willing to help you become great than you think.”


Gemma Reilly, director, UK marketing, BMG 

“Be confident, embrace opportunities and believe in yourself. Never expect anything to land in your lap, if you want it, work hard for it. Hard work really does pay off.”


Caroline Simionescu-Marin, A&R manager, XL Recordings; co-founder, New Gen

“Put your happiness first; try to only work on artists that you truly believe in. This is an intense business and, if you don’t enjoy what you do, it isn’t worth it. If you don’t enjoy it, you may as well get a nine-to-five, it’ll be less heartache.”


Leah Stockford, senior marketing director, RCA

“Work hard, challenge yourself and push out of your comfort zone. I see too many people afraid of change and they remain stuck in a rut. Our industry is constantly changing, so immerse yourself within the change and enjoy it.”


Caryn Tomlinson, SVP, communications, Universal Music Group

“Be yourself. Don’t doubt your contribution, speak up and share your ideas.”


The annual Women In Music event will be hosted by BBC Radio 1’s Alice Levine on Friday, November 10 at our new, larger venue, The Brewery In London. The last few remaining tickets are available here, with a record crowd already guaranteed. 

Music Week works closely with our partners UK Music, AIM and WIN to celebrate the most important and influential women from all sectors of the music industry at the awards, which are now in their fourth year. 

The winners of the main awards will be unveiled at Friday's ceremony, hosted by Radio 1's Alice Levine, where categories being contested include three new ones – Music Champion, International Woman Of The Year and The Company Award: Diversity In The Workplace. The others are: Businesswoman Of The YearOutstanding ContributionInspirational ArtistCampaignerRising Star and New Artist Award



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