Women of NAMM (WoN) Summit Set to Cultivate Emerging Leaders this October

Elizabeth Dale

In June, professionals from across the industry gathered at The 2022 NAMM Show in support of Women of NAMM (WoN), and it was here that the WoN leadership council announced the return of the WoN Summit. Scheduled for October 17-19, 2022, at NAMM’s headquarters, the Summit is designed to connect, support, and grow women working across the industry.

Now in its third year, the WoN Summit is an intensive, three-day leadership immersion experience designed to aid female industry professionals in achieving their professional development goals. Those in attendance all have a minimum of five years of experience in the industry and are actively seeking opportunities to expand their leadership and professional competencies. The women attending this fall must work at a management level or higher for a NAMM Member company.

For its 2022 Summit, WoN has announced 17 emerging female leaders who will participate in the two-day event. Participants include Tonya Adams (West Music); Laura Clapp Davidson (Shure Incorporated); Kayla Davis (Music and Arts); Michele Dwiggins (Beacock Music); Catherine English (Bertrand’s Music Enterprises); Jessica Ferrari (Menchey Music); Jordan Gruver (Fender); Katie Helgeson (The Music Shoppe); Erin Kessler (Maple Leaf Strings); Kristin Masarik (Heid Music); Natalie Morrison (D’Addario & Company, Inc.); Gail O’Brien Stewart (High Strung Violins & Guitars); Thea Paraskevaides (ARTISTS&); Amanda Rueter (Ernie Williamson Music); Stacey Swanson (Swanson Consulting Group); Samantha Tranchida (Quinlan and Fabish Music Company); and Amanda Whiting Gerstle (Universal Audio).

We spoke with Amanda Whiting Gerstle, a corporate communication specialist with Universal Audio, about earning a spot at the WoN Summit. She commented on her desire to attend a WoN Summit, saying, “I have been in the industry for 17 years. The opportunity to learn how my experience compares to other women in the industry is of great interest. Feeling as though I am halfway through my career, my priorities are changing. I see this summit as a great opportunity to think long term about what is important to me, both personally and professionally.”

When asked about the importance of representation throughout the industry, she said, “It’s simple – sales. By including more women in the recording industry, in marketing, sales, product management, and at all levels of conversation, more women will feel that music making is just as viable a creative outlet compared to more ‘traditional’ outlets. This will generate a demand for musical products and increase the size of our industry for decades. By combating the unconscious bias that many women have internalized and having more diverse representation in the industry, women will feel welcome and join our community of music makers.”

Another attendee of the much-anticipated Summit is Thea Paraskevaides, founder of ARTISTS&. Of her desire to attend the Summit, she said, “Despite being in the industry for many years, I haven’t had an opportunity to connect with my peers. I also feel like I’ve been working in a predominantly male-dominated sector and would love to meet fellow ambitious females in the industry.” During her trip to NAMM headquarters, she hopes to gain more experience and insight into the areas of leadership and management while fostering new relationships. As Paraskevaides points out, "For a long time the decision-makers in our industry have been male, and despite having previously worked for a brand that focused on women, success might have been slower than expected. Having more representation will only move the entire industry forward.”

According to Lisa MacDonald, chair of the Women of NAMM council and director of vertical marketing for Yamaha, the 2022 WoN Summit candidates “truly reflects the excellence of the industry's leadership pipeline.”

New to the 2022 WoN Summit application process was the opportunity for candidates to apply for the Diane Martin Women of NAMM Leadership Summit Scholarship. Made possible through donations that honor the life and legacy of Diane Martin, the scholarship consists of a one-time payment of $750 to support travel-related expenses incurred while attending the Summit.

For more information from Women of NAMM, please visit www.namm.org/women-of-namm.