"Equality was still a problem": The Women In Music Awards Roll Of Honour 2017 on their biggest challenges in the biz


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. Here we ask the latest inductees about the biggest challenges they have overcome and the ones they are currently facing...


Vick Bain, CEO, BASCA

“Managing to build my career whilst being a solo parent of twins. They turn 18 next week so it’s been many years of juggling child-care but somehow we’ve gotten there and I hope I have been a good role model for them.” 


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

“Occasionally being taken seriously or being heard in meetings filled with older white men can be a challenge, although thankfully I haven't encountered much of that in the indie sector. I think confidence and overcoming Imposter Syndrome has been a challenge for myself and many young women in the music business, sometimes you have to remind yourself that you know what you're doing and deserve to be at the table.”


Annette Barrett, managing director, Reservoir/Reverb Music

“Probably the sale of Reverb Music.”


Karma Bertelsen, marketing manager, Kilimanjaro Live

“Realising that being good at my job was not enough. When I entered the music industry, I hadn’t realised how pertinent a problem sexism was. I’ve faced sexism and ethnic discrimination. Once I realised that equality was still a problem, I realized I had a had to work even harder than anticipated to prove myself.”


Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO, Attitude Is Everything

“It’s perception. Of disabled people and women. It’s worrying that people, still, when I’m a person who’s mature in age, congratulate me for getting out of bed. It really concerns me. The challenge is the perception of what disabled people can achieve and what they actually want to do with their lives, and where they want to spend their money or spend time with friends and family and what they want to do as a career. Those are the main things to be challenged. It’s hard to say to people sometimes that I am at the hospital so can’t do what you need me to do. It’s quite a challenge to open yourself up to people in a personal way more than other people. You’re balancing the two areas of your life all the time.”


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

“Speaking up and speaking out whenever I’ve seen injustice or bad behaviour. It’s never easy and it’s not always welcome but I think it’s the right thing to do. I regret not having done it more.”


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

“Moving to Warner/Chappell to build a roster from scratch that I would be equally as proud of as the ones I’d previously worked on. Fortunately, I’ve had exceptional support from the amazing Jon Platt and am now lucky to be working with Mike Smith, two of the most experienced guys in the business.”


Michelle Kambasha, head of press, Secretly Group

“The press landscape is changing hugely. The biggest challenge facing right now is how we look beyond newspapers and magazines while still convincing people of their importance.” 


Gemma Reilly, director, UK marketing, BMG

“Most definitely my self-employed days during my career transition. Money was so tight and it was a constant battle to prove our worth and be taken seriously. We got through it and had an incredible and life shaping experience for which I will always be grateful.”


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

“Making and releasing two albums in my first year as an A&R. I had no idea what I was doing and I didn’t really sleep or take time off from my first day at XL til the fortnight they both came out.”


Leah Stockford, senior marketing director, RCA

“The biggest challenge has been around the transition from physical and digital, to streaming. However, we are now in a place where the industry is becoming smarter around play listing and pitching. We have been working across a number of digital initiatives to drive streams for key artist tracks to streaming services and specific playlists with positive results.”


Caryn Tomlinson, SVP, communications, Universal Music Group

“Trying to maintain my integrity (putting our artists first in my mind seemed to work) while negotiating the very choppy waters of an industry experiencing massive change and finding myself reporting to seven different Chairman in five years at EMI Music!”


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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