Carving your own path: a woman’s perspective of the music industry

International Women’s Day is about celebrating women’s achievements, challenging bias and taking action for equality and with this year’s theme being #choosetochallenge, we spoke to Danielle Hewitt – a woman forging her own path in the male dominated world of music promotion.

Danielle is an alumna of Coleg y Cymoedd, a Freelance Music Events Manager, Social Entrepreneur and Co-founder of W.O.M.E.N, a network that provides support to women and non-binary people, who are beginning their careers in the music industry, by providing opportunities of mentorship, networking and skill development.

Danielle has been working in the music industry since 2006, initially beginning her career as a Music Promoter and on completion of her degree in Events Management, went on to work with a number of industry organisations such as Live Nation, SWN, Greenman Festival, Orchard Media and Entertainment and undertaking roles at Reading, Download and Slam Dunk festivals.

Danielle is now a lecturer of Entrepreneurship, Digital Marketing and Events Management at BIMM Bristol.

Danielle, tell us about your career path and why you chose music and events promotion?
I studied Events Management at Cardiff Met University, I chose this degree because I had set up my own music promotions company whilst I was still in college, working with unsigned bands in the local area. After graduation I worked as a freelance events manager and festival assistant, while volunteering with The Young Promoters Network (YPN). The YPN is part of Rhondda Cynon Taff Council and aims to upskill young people who wish to work in the music industry. I volunteered for several years with the YPN and became a volunteer coordinator with them. It is through this experience that I realised how much I enjoyed helping others reach their career goals. Ultimately this led me to gain my PGCE in post-compulsory education before becoming the Enterprise Officer at Cardiff and Vale College and now I am an A-Level Lecturer at the college and an Associate Lecturer at a university in Bristol where I teach Events Management to the next generation of music managers.

What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in your employment?
Entering a male dominated industry came with a number of challenges, the most prominent of which has been counteracting the perception of women who work in the music industry. These perceptions and attitudes play out in numerous ways, and so having to work harder than my male counterparts to prove my worth has been the most challenging.

How does your work positively impact women?
In addition to my freelance work and teaching work, I run a social network called W.O.M.E.N (Women of Music and Events Network). We are an online community for women and non-binary persons that provide support for one another as well as opportunities of mentorship and networking, to better prepare one another for the barriers we encounter working in the music industry.

What woman has positively inspired you and why?
I have been lucky to grow up around several strong female role models – my grandmother, mother and aunties each carved out their own paths in life and taught me that there are no limits to what I can achieve. It is their guidance and support that has always empowered me to pursue my goals and ambitions.

Describe three characteristics about yourself that you believe has led to your success.
The first thing I would say was being organised. This allows me to manage a number of projects I am working on all at once and achieve a number of goals. The next is being passionate about my industry and the projects that I am working on – my passion drives me forward when things get tough. Lastly, it would be resilience: we are always going to encounter barriers, setbacks and difficulties, but it is how we respond to them that’s important. Being resilient allows me to deal with these setbacks and adapt – it doesn’t stop the pursuit of my goals.

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