Women in Music: An Inside Look at Sexism and Success
Words by Beth Laird
I am the co-founder and CEO of Creative Nation. My husband, Luke Laird, and I started Creative Nation in 2011 and we have been on this crazy journey together ever since. I truly love what I do because I get the chance to be creative every day, hence the name, Creative Nation. I don’t label myself as a “female entrepreneur,” but more just someone that is open to new opportunities, willing to bet on myself, and isn’t afraid to step out and take calculated risks. I started this company because I was passionate about songwriters and that is still what drives me today. I love championing creative people and helping them fulfill their dreams.
It’s still a work in progress. Even today I take classes, read business books, and constantly try to learn from more experienced and smarter business executives I admire in and outside the music business. When you are passionate about something you want to learn all you can about it and continue to grow. That is how I feel about leadership. It is something that is developed with experience and constantly evolves as you do. The best leadership experiences I have had are when I make mistakes and can learn from them. I became the leader I am with the help of an excellent staff, great support system of mentors, and the ability to turn my failures into learning opportunities. I feel like I learn something new every day.
A lot of people assume being a woman or mother in the music industry is a weakness, but I see it as a strength. When I first got in the business, I realized I just had to put my head down and work hard to prove myself and make relationships. Once I did, I wasn’t focused on what I wasn’t getting because of my gender, but what I could accomplish because of it and the advantages it brought me. They always say give the busiest person the job and they’ll get it done faster. Being a mother has taught me to prioritize, delegate, and balance my work and personal life. I think you can have it all over a lifetime, but not all at the same time. Since becoming a mother I have also developed a lot more vulnerability and compassion. I see every employee as someone’s mother, father, son or daughter and I treat them as such.
When giving advice to young professionals or interns I always tell them that I don’t think it’s true that you can do anything you want. Be realistic with yourself, learn what your strengths are, and use that skill set to succeed and love what you do. That is why I surround myself with and hire talented individuals who have strengths that I don’t have. In building a team, you always want people that are better than you in certain areas so as a whole you are diverse and great.
Also, you can’t have a plan B. Really set your mind to it and go above and beyond in every job you have whether you love it or not. Do the extra 10% so you stand out and always prove you can do your job plus more so they know you are capable of more responsibility. It is important to have integrity and pride in your work on all levels and people will definitely take notice if you do.
Creative Nation is a Nashville-based music company founded in 2011 by Beth and Luke Laird and home to some of the industry’s top songwriters, producers and artists. Beth Laird is a music executive with previous work experience at BMG Music Publishing, Windswept Music Publishing and BMI. She was listed on Billboard Magazine's "30 Under 30 Power Players to Watch" and named one of Music Row's Rising Women on the Row.