Interscope Execs Lead Panel for Women on How to Make It in the Music Business

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Taylor Marie Lewis
(L-R) Sari Delmar (Panel Moderator), Associate Director, Strategic Partnerships, The Participation Agency, with Interscope Executives Annie Lee, SVP Finance & Operations, Michelle An, Head of Music Video & Creative Content, Nicole Bilzerian, Head of Urban Marketing, Erika Savage, SVP Strategic Development and Nicole Wyskoarko, EVP Urban Operations.

Find out what you're best at, consider what you enjoy most and specialize your skill set to stand out from the pack. 

Those were some of the takeaways from a recent panel discussion called "Leading the Next Generation" in Los Angeles led by some of Interscope's top-ranking women. Hosted at The Grammy Museum by the Los Angeles Chapter of Women in Music, the hourlong conversation covered what it takes to break into the music business and rise to the top. 

"The goal is to truly love what you do," Erika Savage, Interscope SVP of strategic development told Billboard. "It's a crazy, tough, 24-hour-a-day business, which makes stress management key."

But, Savage said, "any tough day is more than outweighed by the reward of working with artists to help bring their music to the world." She added that the strong entrepreneurial culture at Interscope, where co-founder and former chairman Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre developed the Beats brand that they sold to Apple for $3.2 billion, "has actually allowed each of us to propel our own careers forward in new, exciting out-of-the box ways."

Michelle An, Interscope's head of music video & creative content, advised the 150 attendees about the importance of networking.

"On the panel I really tried to drive home that throughout your career, you must try to forge meaningful relationships and really get to know your peers," she told Billboard. "My career has truly developed in such a fun and supportive way through the genuine friendships I have made. This Women in Music and Interscope collaboration panel allowed me to really take a moment to appreciate this, notice its impact on my career, and share it on to the younger generation in the room."

The event was staged amid widespread efforts to diversify the upper echelons of the music business. While the Time's Up and #MeToo movements have prompted many conversations around the male-dominated industry, its leading professional organization and award show have been under substantial scrutiny. Following criticism over a male-dominated Grammy telecast in January, the Recording Academy launched a task force this spring led by Tina Tchen, Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, and a search is underway for new leadership to replace president/CEO Neil Portnow when he steps down next year.

Women in Music is a 33-year-old global non-profit focused on furthering education and professional development for women working in music. With chapters around the world, the L.A. chapter hosts quarterly events for its more than 500-person membership.

Other Interscope execs on the panel included SVP finance & operations Annie Lee, head of urban marketing Nicole Bilzerian and EVP urban operations Nicole Wyskoarko


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