International Women's Day Fireside Chat with Live Nation
Live Nation might be famous for its world-class live entertainment, but pull back the curtain and you’ll see a team of talented female professionals empowering women on and off the stage. Named one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity by Forbes, Live Nation is fully committed to gender equity and female empowerment. Initiatives like the Women Nation Fund - a global, early-stage fund investing in female-founded live music businesses - ensure the future of women in the concert promotions, events and festival space. We sat down with some of Live Nation’s top female executives for a candid look at the lessons learned, challenges overcome and inspiration behind being an extraordinary woman.
Deirdre McCready, EVP Sales & Special Events
How should women support other women in this industry?
Take the time to train women for the next level of their career and not limit them to what their current role is. Sit down and find out where they want to grow and what they want to do next. Whether it’s a conversation to discuss their goals or empowering them in what they already do best, find the areas they excel and help inspire them to grow further.
How did you get to where you are today, and who helped you along the way?
Ultimately you are responsible for your own career progression through hard work, integrity and leveraging the relationships within your network. I got to where I am today by being proactive, solution based, working harder, following through and always operating with the best intentions. One particular mentor who comes to mind is Barbara Brass, Vice President Catering Sales at Wolfgang Puck Catering, who works with top entertainment events and award-winning food & beverage. From the very beginning of my career, she pushed me to be the best version of myself both professionally and personally.
How do you strike a work-life balance?
The way I look at it, work is a lifestyle. It’s important to enjoy what you do and create healthy routines that boost your wellbeing along with your career. I make sure that exercise fits into my schedule in order to maintain an ongoing healthy mentality. Once you find a balance you’ll notice that taking care of yourself greatly benefits you mentally to get through it all and concurrently increases your productivity at work.
After all this success, what is next?
As a leader at a notable brand like Live Nation, it’s important to continue to stay relevant and cutting edge. I work with my team to strategize innovative campaigns, raise the bar and set goals that will take us to the next level. Our brand has to stay top of mind as an industry leader by creating legendary events, disruptive marketing, and continuously testing new technologies and programs.
Nickole Scott, VP Sales & Special Events
What has been the most helpful skill—learned or innate—that’s helped you be successful in events?
I feel authenticity has been a big key to my success. When selling, passion comes naturally if you love what you are doing. Clients feel and crave that energy, often resulting in a sale. Additionally, events don’t always go as planned so being authentic with proactive solutions often helps diffuse situations and allows you to build and gain client confidence. This especially rings true when training new team members - they feel and sense your passion when you love what you are doing.
After all this success, what do you struggle with now?
Time related to work-life balance is my greatest struggle. I will admit, I am a “work in progress” in this area and need to do better sticking to my personal enrichment goals. I strive to carve out about 4-5 days a week for exercise as that provides a great outlet for my physical and mental well-being, resulting in being a better leader for my team. I always want to ensure my team is set up for success however, it is essential we all take time for ourselves and Live Nation is a big supporter of this practice with the many wonderful programs offered.
As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
The beauty of this question is, it’s challenging for me to answer. I have had the amazing opportunity to be with the company for over 20 years and I have never felt barriers, boundaries or walls - only opportunities when I put in the hard work.
For mid-career women in the entertainment and event space, how can they take that next step into leadership?
Be present and be sure you are giving it your all. The sky's the limit here with tips…do more than what is expected, turn in projects prior to their deadlines, ensure you are asking for feedback, was your work accurate, etc. A little extra effort on your part can easily set you apart.
Sydney Anthony, Director of Sales, Special Events at Louisville Palace & Mercury Ballroom
What females in your career (and life) have inspired you, and why?
My core values in both career and life hail from my mom and stepmom, they are my original inspiration. Both women are hardworking and wildly dynamic in their own unique ways. Being raised by these two personalities has motivated me to take challenges head-on (with a smile on my face), never be afraid of change and always be unabashedly myself; these foundational learnings continue to motivate me in life and business daily.
How should women support other women in this industry?
Women have been taught along the way to compete with one another perhaps because of the scarcity of jobs at the top; we also tend to harshly compare ourselves to one another, striving for false ideals. Women should support other women with words of encouragement and supportive action, honoring our unique differences that ultimately are the strengths we bring to the table. A standalone woman is no doubt powerful, but collectively we have impact.
Talk about what makes Live Nation a great place for women.
At Live Nation, I am surrounded by some of the fiercest women I know - this is a testament to their support of womankind. Our company does a tremendous job of creating equal opportunities and transitions to bigger roles for women. Live Nation has recently evaluated their pay practices globally, identifying deviations from equal pay for employees with similar roles, performance, location and tenure. The results of the analysis found no bias in pay related to gender or race. I’m proud to work for a company that values ALL of their employee roles equally.
What are some tough lessons learned that you reflect on in your job, and what can other women learn from them?
A big lesson I reflect on frequently is “failure”. Working for a large corporate company, I’m constantly challenged for bigger and better concepts or content - admittedly not all of them are winners. Failure is not failure if you learn from it. Never be afraid to fail and always keep applying your learnings.
What career advice do you have for young women just getting started in events?
Experience is everything - volunteer or get involved in any and every event or planning committee you can. Immersing yourself is a great way to network, find/create potential job opportunities and learn new (or sharpen existing) skill sets. Also: Be Bold. Be Brave. HUSTLE.