Laura Whitmore: Inspiring Women in Music through the Women’s International Music Network and the She Rocks Awards

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As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 11 – Spring 2020 – SoCal Inspired

Who, What, Where, When, Why

Who:  I began as a marketer in the musical instrument industry and expanded to become a journalist and advocate for women in the industry. The WiMN and She Rocks Awards were born out of sheer willpower to find a way for us to rise together. Honestly, I didn’t think too much about it. I just felt so clearly that we needed to know each other, help each other, and be inspired by each other. It was and continues to be very organic.

I continue to surprise myself when things like the WIMN and She Rocks resonate with so many. I think as women, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we can do. We don’t reach far enough because we are told that we have limitations. I encourage every reader of this to reach farther than they ever thought possible. It’s terrifying and satisfying and exhilarating.

My background:

    • 3 years at CBS Records in direct marketing
    • 20 years at Korg USA as Marketing Manager
    • 12 years running Mad Sun Marketing, a boutique marketing and PR agency for music companies
    • I’ve been a singer-songwriter all my life and have a new album, Girl, the album, coming out this year with my co-writer Jenna Paone
    • I write for Parade.com, Guitar World, Cannabliss magazine, and more
    • I just launched the She Rocks Podcast, giving a voice to women from all over the music industry

What:   The Women’s International Music Network brings women from all facets of the music industry. The organization produces events, creates opportunities for performance and networking, and works to bring the conversation around diversity in the industry into the forefront. The WiMN seeks to create a hub to connect women in all facets of the music industry and works to expose role models, events, and educational opportunities that focus on women in music.

Founded in 2012 by Laura B. Whitmore, a veteran marketer of the musical instrument and audio industries, the Women’s International Music Network site (TheWiMN.com) hosts interviews, news, events, and a community forum for women from all walks of the industry. In 2020, they launched the new She Rocks Podcast, featuring interviews with women in music. 

Where: You can find us pretty much everywhere!
Site: www.theWiMN.com
Twitter and Instagram: @the_wimn
Facebook: thewimn
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/thewimn

When:  We launched in 2012 and produced our first She Rocks Awards in January 2013.

Other milestones:

    • We have over 300 interviews with women in music on our website, thewimn.com
    • It’s our 7th year producing the She Rocks Showcase series at the ASCAP Expo and in Nashville during Summer NAMM
    • We just launched the She Rocks Podcast – conversations with women in music

Why:    After being in the industry for many years, it occurred to me that I didn’t know many of the other women. I thought it would be a great idea to start an organization and an event that would help bring women together. That was the inspiration for the first She Rocks Awards.

Photo Credit: Kevin Graft

The She Rocks Awards

The 8th Annual She Rocks Awards was just held in January. I’ve witnessed it grow tremendously over the years, and it just keeps getting better. What was your inspiration behind beginning an awards show?

I loved the idea of celebrating what women are doing and especially honoring both celebrities and behind the scenes heroes. So many women work so hard and shine in their own way. What better way to shine a spotlight on role models? The awards show has grown beyond my wildest imagination, which leads me to believe it’s very needed and resonates with so many of us. It’s an emotional evening for sure! And for me, too!

I witnessed it first hand this year as to how much goes on behind the scenes, both before, during, and after. You have a great team! Share with us your process in how you pull this off!

OMG, it’s crazy. We start on the next year even before we have that year’s show! We have a really strong core team that has been with me for a long time. They are amazing. And my co-producer, Bonnie Gallanter, does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to the many, many details. She is a powerhouse. Right after the show is over, we are evaluating what worked, what could be improved, and taking notes on how to make the show even better the next year. We were super satisfied with how the production went this year, and a huge team of volunteers, vendors, and contractors really devote more time and elbow grease than you can imagine to pull it off. One of the most challenging parts of the show is finding the celebrities, confirming their availability, and taking care of the many details required to bring them to the show. As we continue to grow, we work on new processes, reach new audiences, and try to keep the show fresh every year. Our sponsors are invaluable too. As you can imagine, the budget grows every year! But also, many of them come to us with great ideas and are willing to go the extra mile to help make the show super special too. It’s a win-win for all involved.

Every year, I think to myself, “what a great, inspirational show.” The energy, the enthusiasm, the support – and I think you’ve outdone yourself. And then the next year comes along, and, wow, you’ve done another amazing job. So what’s in store for next year?

Hahaha, I can’t tell you that! All I can say is that we spend a huge amount of time making the show as special as we possibly can. Every detail is examined and evaluated. Our advisory board is great at helping brainstorm new ways to make it special. If any readers want to be involved, sign up for our newsletter, and you’ll be in the know for all opportunities!

Well, we love what you do to promote women in music, and we want you to keep on doing it for a long time!

The feeling is mutual.

IK Multimedia's Fender Collection 2

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