Smart Women in Music Becomes Women of NAMM

Smart Women in Music Becomes Women of NAMM

On International Women’s Day, Smart Women in Music (SWIM) announced the group’s evolution to Women of NAMM (WON) and status as an official, all-volunteer council of NAMM. With the move, WON will continue to pursue the vision, mission, and objectives set forth by SWIM to benefit women in the music products industry and expand to include female professionals in other NAMM member categories including the pro audio and entertainment technology segments.

“The vision of SWIM was born out of a desire to reach and serve women who wish to expand their horizons and who demonstrate ambition for a leadership role. To do this, we focused on three pillars: to connect, support, and grow the presence of women within the industry,” says Robin Walenta, President and CEO of West Music Co., and one of the founders of SWIM. “Now, as an official council of NAMM, the foundational vision set forth will continue to grow and benefit many, many more.”

The SWIM Team was founded in 2018 by industry leaders Walenta, DeDe Heid, President of Heid Music, and Crystal Morris, CEO of Gator Cases to support women “in the music products industry to develop their leadership aspirations and to broaden and deepen their leadership proficiencies.” Through the support of generous donors to the SWIM Fund, the group has hosted several virtual professional development roundtables, networking gatherings at The NAMM Show and Summer NAMM, as well as two leadership summits at NAMM Headquarters in Carlsbad, California. The fund has also provided opportunities for travel scholarships to attend and job shadow top female professionals at The NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, and Summer NAMM in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Through the work of SWIM, an incredible network of courageous, thoughtful next-generation leaders has been fostered. We look forward to WON continuing to be a resource for continued professional development for women across the industry,” says Heid. Morris echoes that sentiment: “Becoming WON sets the future precedent to elevate female representation at every level.”

As part of the realignment, the donor-driven SWIM Fund will transition to the WON Fund and remain under the direction of The NAMM Foundation. To honor the contributions of its female leaders’ stewardship of SWIM/WON, Heid Music, Korg and Yamaha have pledged donations to the new WON Fund. Donate here:https://www.nammfoundation.org/donate

The group’s podcast, “SWIM Masters,” will also experience a name change. Led by Natalie Morrison (D’Addario), Stephanie Lamond (Creative Producer/Artist), and Julia Olsen (Julia Olsen Music), the monthly show features female leaders from across the industry sharing their professional journeys and lessons learned to empower the professional development of emerging talent in the industry.

WON will operate as a volunteer-led council of members of NAMM and is open to all NAMM Members, at no cost to join. Lisa MacDonald of Yamaha will serve as Chair; Julie Wagnitz of Heid Music will serve as First Vice Chair; and Morgan Walker of Korg will serve as Second Vice Chair. MacDonald offers, “We are honored to be part of building value and opportunity for women in all parts of the industry. In the coming years, WON will focus on scaling and broadening the already excellent professional development opportunities created by SWIM.”

Adds Wagnitz, “As a council of NAMM, this opens up exciting possibilities for deeper integration at The NAMM Show and through NAMM’s online platforms.” “WON will be a benefit that is available to all NAMM members,” shares Walker. “Encouraging and elevating leadership skills at every level of a company is how we build a strong pipeline for the next generation of executives and continue to strengthen the industry as a whole.”

NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond offers, “With the momentum built over the past few years by SWIM’s founders and volunteers, its generous donors and supporters and the NAMM Board, the renaming and integration into NAMM membership will provide more opportunities for women in the industry. Through networking events, mentoring and collaboration, WON will serve to strengthen the industry and help create the next generation of female leadership.”

Women of NAMM will gather at The 2022 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, June 3-5, where the industry crossroads will convene to network and renew business relationships, partake in professional education sessions and launch and discover new products. More than 3,500 brands will participate in the show, including Adam Hall; Allen & Heath; American Music & Sound; C.F. Martin & Co.; Casio; Conn-Selmer; Ernie Ball; ESP; Gibson; Hal Leonard; KMC Music; Taylor Guitars; and Yamaha, among others. In addition, in the pro audio and live sound space, more brands include 4Wall Entertainment; ADJ; Apogee; Audio-Technica; beyerdynamic; Dolby; Harman; IK Multimedia; Korg; L-Acoustics; Pioneer DJ; Shure; TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik; Ultimate Ears; and more.

The show will also see the return of much-loved industry award events, including the Parnelli Awards, TEC Awards, and She Rocks Awards, as well as other event gatherings and networking opportunities including Saturday’s Grand Rally for Music Education, featuring composer and founder of the Virtual Choir Eric Whitacre for a memorable, hybrid choral experience and performance by Gateways Brass Collective.

In addition, the show will offer education sessions for professionals in pro audio and live sound, entertainment tech, music retail, and brands, as well as music educators and more, from the likes of the Audio Engineering Society (AES); Advanced Audio + Applications Exchange (A3E); TEC Tracks; Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA); Event Safety Alliance (ESA); The Pro Production Sessions from PLSN and FOH magazines; Lighting&Sound America; NAMM U; GenNext; Music Education Days; and more. Future-forward NAMM U Breakfast Sessions will open each day of the show, with “Breakfast of Champions” on Friday, June 3; on Saturday, branding expert Scott Stratten, President of UnMarketing, will present “Leadership in a Post-Pandemic World”; and the annual favorite “Best in Show” returns on Sunday, June 5.

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