Leadership / 03.03.20
Ticketing and Venue Management Make Strides in Fostering Women’s Development
An equal world is an enabled world. That’s the driving philosophy of International Women’s Day, which will be celebrated this year on Sunday, March 8. It’s also a day to recognize various organizations and institutions that put forth programs and initiatives that have aided in the professional development of women.
One such group is the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) with its annual 100+Women of IAVM | Donate 100+ campaign. Each year, the association calls for donations to make it financially possible for groups of female IAVM members to attend sector conferences at the annual VenueConnect conference and/or to attend an IAVM school.
Lynne King Smith, INTIX Chair-Elect, General Manager of Etix and a recent IAVM board member, says, “The 100+ Women is such a tangible and measurable program. Aside from the feel-good aspect of giving, it’s almost like joining a club of women who are committed to equality in our industry — with a photo op at the VenueConnect conference; a new, custom-designed pin to wear year after year; and a ribbon to add to your badge at VC. This allows for other women to ask about the program and grow it each year.”
The organization ties the 100+ Women program into the multiple Women in Leadership sessions at the VenueConnect conference. Brad Mayne, President and CEO of IAVM, calls the 100+ Women initiative a “game-changer in that IAVM has experienced an increase with women venue professionals in a few areas, including: higher percentage of membership in the association; greater female registration in our professional development programs; and, finally, an increase of women in leadership in both their own organization and our association leadership. Our association members have embraced the need to be inclusive, and the program has created an atmosphere of belonging and acceptance for women. We’ve proven that women in leadership positions makes the organization stronger and more successful.”
Mayne gained a deep appreciation for the importance of diversity when he served as President and CEO of the American Airlines Center in Dallas. “We had signed an agreement with the city that was called the Fair Share Agreement,” he says. “It required 26% of the construction financing, engineering and architectural work be women- and minority-owned businesses. As I was going through that process for the first time in my career, I started looking at it all and realized, ‘If my staff looks like my community, we’re going to be much more successful.’”
When he got to IAVM, he saw that women were playing a growing and increasingly vital role in the field of venue management. To this end, he and his staff took steps to recognize the importance education plays to that continued success and professional growth. “All professionals can never achieve enough education. In addition to the general education offerings, IAVM offers sessions that are specific to women in our multiple professional development programs. We’ve also made a point to ensure that women are a major source for speakers, presenters, panel participants, topic experts and the like.”
He continues, “Another opportunity for education includes our many volunteer management and board committees that offer leadership opportunities. We’ve begun to experience growth of women in leadership opportunities and have focused on recruiting young professionals, which has a greater percentage of women in that age group.”
Another successful initiative has been Live Nation’s Women Nation™ Fund, a global, early-stage fund investing in female-founded live music businesses. Its purpose has been to provide access to capital for underrepresented female entrepreneurs in the concert promotions, events and festival space.
Businesses are evaluated by a team of international Live Nation female executives with domain expertise across promotion, booking, ticketing, technology and marketing. Each year, the fund accepts proposals for businesses in any nation or region around the globe. Businesses must be female-founded and provide a product or service in the live event space. Those businesses that are selected for funding are given access to Live Nation resources such as industry and company contacts and mentorship across lines of business and functional areas.
In 2019, the Fund invested in its first three female-led businesses. They were Tina Farris Tours, Conscious City Guide and Kingdom of Mind — diverse and ambitious companies that span different areas of the live music industry (touring, festivals, promotions, etc.)
Ali Harnell, President and Chief Strategy Officer for Live Nation’s Women Nation division, says, “It’s an exciting time in history for women, and we have the tools with the Women Nation™ Fund and Women Nation as a whole to cultivate growth and impact for years to come. I look forward to discovering the next powerhouse women we will partner with.”
Mayne is also forward-looking. When discussing the keys to successful fundraising in this space, he says, “First of all, fundraising must be for a purpose — one that the membership believes in. Second, when putting together programs and initiatives, spell out exactly what those initiatives are. Our Board of Trustees and volunteer leadership is very much involved and adept at creating the urgency for why the donations are needed and exactly what they’re going to be used for.”
Smith summed it up best, saying, “Women are being educated more extensively and at greater rates than our male counterparts. So more than formal education, we need to inspire and educate our top managers to help them understand that it’s not only right to promote women to top leadership roles, it will bring more success to the venue. The numbers are there to prove it, and we simply need to keep educating our peers to do something different and open the doors for many more women to lead.”
This story is brought to you by the INTIX Women in Entertainment Technology Program.
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Tags: Leadership , Women in Ticketing , Inclusion