Susan Wojcicki (CEO of YouTube), Sylvia Rhone (Chair and CEO of Epic Records) and Julie Greenwald (Chair and COO of Atlantic Records) recently met with Lyor Cohen, YouTube Global Head of Music, for a conversation about leadership and “redefining Men dominated industries “entertain”.
The conversation, shared today (March 30) in Cohen’s latest industry newsletter, covered topics ranging from work-life balance to her early career experiences.
In his letter today, Cohen wrote, “I am so grateful that three of the most revolutionary women in our business have been willing to share their thoughts on redefining male-dominated industries.
“Your wisdom can be an inspiration to all professionals, but especially to women as we celebrate Women’s History Month.”
“I’m so grateful that three of the most revolutionary women in our business were ready to share their thoughts on redefining male-dominated industries. Your wisdom can be an inspiration to all professionals, but especially women, as we celebrate Women’s History Month. “
Cohen signed his newsletter by telling his readership, “I hope you all found this conversation as inspiring as I did.”
You can read the full questions and answers from Cohen’s newsletter below:
LC: Balancing the demands of personal and professional life can be extremely difficult. Susan, I know we talked about how not to ask men about work-life balance. Can you share your thoughts on this with us?
SW: It is not typical to ask male leaders, “How do you do all of this? How do you deal with work and family? “But if you are a female executive, you will be asked to do so many times. With that question comes an assumption that you have key responsibility for the home that you don’t because of your work outside of the home. It’s changing now and assumptions about responsibilities are becoming more fluid and that seems good for everyone.
That means it’s a challenge and it’s always a balancing act with demanding professional and family responsibilities. I think children understand that you have other responsibilities in your life. And it’s good for them to learn that you have other things to do. You may not be the perfect parent and person at work, but often doing the best you can is enough.
“Be present with your employees, be present at home. I’m just trying to juggle. And I’ve learned to forgive myself. “
JG: As a young mother, I struggled up the corporate ladder with this beautiful newborn at home. It would have been nice if a mentor had warned me and said, “You’re going to miss some concerts to be a mom and some soccer games because of your job.”
Sometimes you can’t find your balance so do the best you can. Be present with your employees, be present at home. I’m just trying to juggle. And I’ve learned to forgive myself.
LC: Sylvia, you have exceeded the limit of women and women in the most powerful roles in the music business. How do you bring other women with you that you might consider trailblazers?
SR: When I started in this industry, I was initially hired as a secretary. As my role and responsibilities evolved over time, I took each new position and opportunity very seriously. For young black women who network and begin their careers in this field, it is important to understand that every day is different and has its own learning curves.
For some, this can be daunting, but for me it was my passion and I longed for the chance to learn more. As I climbed the ladder, I encouraged each department to hire people who looked like me. Personally, I hired women in positions that were normally male-dominated. I would hire a woman to be a Brand Partnership Director or a Video Production Director or a Business Director or Vice President of Sales.
As you continue to offer these opportunities and commit yourself to a diverse team, you will build intelligent and talented brain trust of people of color and women for the future success of your business.
LC: Have you all encountered headwinds from chauvinism?
JG: Look, the first part of my career was in the 90s with a hip hop label. It was a male sport. But I felt that this business was very much about taking care of artists. I saw myself as a caretaker. And I felt that I was much more caring than my male colleagues. I wasn’t afraid of being a woman and I was able to move talents like no other. I’ve used my femininity to my advantage. There were times when I was discouraged that the industry was so male dominated, but I simply outperformed everyone. Eventually I was able to hire a lot of women and start my own girls club. I had a tribe, a sisterhood that I was so excited about.
SR: In the early days of my career, I spent a fair amount of time on the road with a car full of male music managers doing promotional tours. I was usually the only woman in this room. We would travel from Philly to Detroit to Chicago – all for one night and we would share a hotel room.
It is important for me to acknowledge that I have never felt threatened. Rather, I grew up in a den of lions that protected me. No one has ever treated me with disrespect – or less than their male counterparts – because this group had my back and I had theirs. That gave me enormous confidence in overcoming stereotypes.
LC: What is a final thought or anecdote that you want to share?
SW: It is important for people to understand what their passion is and find something to commit to for the long term. I find a lot of importance in my work. I see how this affects people all over the world. There have been challenges over the past 20 years – many of them – but I am committed to what I do and I feel like I am working for a bigger cause that will help me navigate difficult times. I have been supported by many women along the way, and now I am grateful to be able to give something back to women who are just starting out.
JG: I think the most important thing, male or female, is to know your strength and play with it. If you know what you can do, do it – and don’t be afraid to let everyone else know how good you are. Size matters. Everyone has some kind of superpower. You just have to find out what yours is.Music business worldwide