By Myki Angeline

I truly enjoy attending conferences and workshops that are created with the vision to motivate and empower women.  With so many women working in the music industry, it is both surprising and disappointing to learn that we make up around 5% of the workforce.  In fact, each time I am interviewing a woman in music, I often learn that they are still working twice as hard to earn the same respect and acknowledgement as men do in the same field.

Which is why conferences like this one are so vital to our music community. They bring so many influential working women together under one roof to share their experiences, stories, and valuable expertise.  The Girl Power! Women’s Music Industry Conference was hosted by co-founders Kerry and Gian Fiero of Fiero Flair in Berkeley, California at the David Brower Center this past weekend. The event included one on one mentoring, various music industry vendors, prize giveaways, and lunch catered by Empire Power Lunch celebrating Goapele’s new single “Power” – with a surprise appearance by Goapele.

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The couple met while teaching at San Francisco State University in the Music Recording Industry Program. Gian teaches Career Planning & Development, while Kerry teaches both Career Strategies and Event Planning. The Fiero’s were astonished at the lack of women students who attended their courses.  In the 10 years they taught at SFSU, merely 5% of the students were women. Their vision became clear; create a conference that will bring together women professionals to network and collaborate with one another.  Kerry changed her career from artist manager to events manager, and the Girl Power! Women’s Music Industry Conference was born.

This was their 4th year hosting this empowering conference and the line up of speakers was stellar. Gail Mitchell, Senior Editor for Billboard Magazine was the keynote speaker, who has moderated panels for industry organizations such as ASCAP, BMI, the Recording Academy, and the Grammy Museum.  She shared with the crowd her experiences with how much music publication and distribution has evolved in the past 25 years.

Included on the 5 various panels were industry professionals like Charlese Banks (Founder/Owner of Socially Flyy), Anje Collins (Owner/Exec. Dir. for The Luxe PR Group), Kat Cook (Personal and Tour Manager for Tracey Champman/Taj Mahal), Maya Finlay (Audio Engineer, Musician, Producer), Dawn Holliday (prev GM for Slims and Great American Music Hall), Rose Kirkland (senior talent buyer, Live Nation Northern CA), Aisah Gemora (Op. Mgr for Shoreline Ampitheater), Victoria Theodore (Singer, Music Instructor, Composer, Pianist for Stevie Wonder/Beyonce), Sindee Levin (Entertainment Attorney), Sarah Sexton (owner of Oaktown Indie Mayhem Records), Pam Warren (Turntablist/Recording Artist), Heidi Trefethen (Classical/Jazz Hornist and studio/live Sound Engineer), and Anasa Troutman (Founder/CEO at eLOVEate), and many more.

I not only had a chance to listen to a couple of the panels and just absorb the knowledge and inspiration from these outstanding women in the field, but I also had the privilege of interviewing a few of them.  My heart just burst with excitement and motivation being in a room full of industry professionals and watching the networking and community between everyone.  I highly encourage all women who are interested in music as a career, and those who already have a career going to attend this event.  Conferences like this one give you the tools you need to succeed.

Below is the Fiero Flair documentary on ‘What Empowers Women’!