Women In Music

Jody Gerson Accepts Executive of the Year Honor at Billboard Women in Music 2015

Jody Gerson Women in Music
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Billboard

Alicia Keys and Jody Gerson speak onstage during the Billboard Women in Music Luncheon on Dec. 11, 2015 in New York City.  

Jody Gerson isn’t afraid to wear her womanhood on her sleeve.

“Why should it be wrong to be emotional in a business that’s all about expressing emotions?” she said to great applause when she was honored with the Executive of the Year Award at Billboard Women in Music 2015.

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“I stand here today representing all of the women and all of the working moms in music,” she said. “It shouldn’t be looked upon as a challenge. … Thinking like a woman, acting like a woman is an advantage.”

She continued that wanting to communicate, develop relationships, expressing emotions and having maternal instincts is an integral part to her role as chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group. “Those are the very qualities I bring into play every day with my colleagues, and most critically, with my artists and writers.”

The honor was presented by Alicia Keys, who was signed by Gerson at 14 years old. “She saw the possibilities that I couldn’t even begin to imagine, and that is a sign of a powerful mind,” said Keys of her publisher. And of being a woman, Keys noted, “We are no one’s property. We belong to ourselves.”

Watch Gerson's full speech below.