Billboard’s 2023 Women in Music Awards took place on Wednesday (March 1) at Los Angeles’s YouTube Theater, honoring several powerhouse artists who made a significant impact on music over the past year. But hours before the awards show, Billboard aired a special pre-show that celebrated the successes of some of the most influential women in the industry at large.
The pre-show hosted by hip-hop legend Trina explored some of the most notable accomplishments ever made by star-studded women and featured interviews from some of the award recipients, who know how invaluable it is to have support On Your Side.
The Nationwide-sponsored event also included a roundtable segment featuring members of Billboard’s women editorial staff –– including executive director of R&B/Hip-Hop Gail Mitchell, music publishing reporter Kristin Robinson, executive editor for West Coast and Nashville Melinda Newman, director of Billboard dance Katie Bain, and senior editor Lyndsey Havens –– who spoke openly about their unique experiences as women in the music industry.
Speaking about who has supported them over the past year, each staff member counted past and present coworkers as integral components of their support systems, offering encouragement and solidarity in a way only those who have faced similar challenges can.
“We have a group called Sister Friends,” said Mitchell. “And it’s women who were in the industry before me, another woman that came in right at the same time I did. So, we’ve helped each other along.”
Havens spoke specifically about Billboard, saying the company has seen her through several aspects of her career: “I think the women in this office are amazing. I started as an intern, so I really just feel like the women in this company are the ones that have been on my side this year, last year, all the years.”
As for who’s backed them throughout the course of their careers, each woman gave credit to their families, who cheered them on from the very beginning.
“I remember in 5th grade when I’d decided I wanted to do this for a living, [my parents] got me an electric typewriter and were just incredibly supportive, and that has stayed with me my entire life,” Newman said. “There was never a doubt in my mind that I could do this.”
“My mom has also been there for me in that same way,” Robinson co-signed. “She always said, ‘I’m not worried about you. You’re gonna be OK.’”
The group also offered up ways to further support women –– and it’s advice that applies to every industry.
“Hire women,” Bain said simply. “Just get women in the door, because I feel like when you open a door for a woman, she does the rest of the work herself.”
“You have to be very willing to say, ‘I’m gonna kick this door open and I’m gonna leave it way wider open than it was when I had to come through it,’” Mitchell said, “but I think there are a lot of women who do that, actually.”