Laura B. Whitmore is a veteran marketer of the musical instrument and audio industries, a producer, a journalist, a singer-songwriter, and the founder of the Women’s International Music Network (WiMN).
Founded in 2012, the WiMN is an organization dedicated to helping women who work in all facets of the music business become more connected to each other so as to foster the growth and success of all women across the industry.
One of the WiMN’s main annual events, the She Rocks Awards, is now in its 9th year and is set to be held virtually this coming Friday, January 22nd.
Recently I spoke via email with Laura about the origins and mission of both the WiMN and the She Rocks Awards and the resultant conversation is below.
Americana Highways: What inspired you to create the Women’s International Music Network (WiMN)?
Laura B. Whitmore: I had been interviewing many women in the industry for a column I wrote and began to realize several things. We didn’t know each other. We all had similar challenges. We needed an organization to bring us together and help us create a larger voice. The WiMN was born at the same time as the She Rocks Awards as a parent organization. Not only do we do this large event, we also host other regional events, panels, mentoring, and much more.
AH: What do you consider to be its mission?
LBW: The WiMN’s mission is to help shine a spotlight on female industry role models and create a focal point for a conversation about diversity in the industry. Our goal is to foster a safe space to discuss difficult topics and to ensure that women are equitably represented in important industry developments. We also work to bring opportunities to perform, learn, and network, creating a massive sisterhood!
AH: What inspired you to create the She Rocks Awards?
LBW: My original goal was just to bring women in the industry together. But I learned as I was working on the first event, that having a focal point like awards gives all industry members a reason to participate. It’s been amazing how the industry has come together around the event, and each year so many people continue to be inspired.
AH: What do you consider its main goals to be?
LBW: Now I find it very meaningful to honor the accomplishments of women in the industry. One point of differentiation of this event is that we equally honor women who are behind the scenes along with celebrities and rock stars. I want each and every woman honored to feel as important as artists like The Go-Go’s, Nancy Wilson, and Gloria Gaynor. We honor educators, non-profits, executives, label and industry members, and so much more.
Overall I just want people who experience the show to feel inspired, energized, and a sense of togetherness. We are so much stronger together!
AH: With your vast experience of the music industry and you being a singer-songwriter yourself, what advice would you give to any aspiring female singer-songwriter?
LBW: Well, I would suggest learning as much as possible. Take online workshops. Get together with your peers. Participate in open mics and local events. Get to know others in your tribe. And then be generous – offer to help. Show up. As you hone your craft more and more opportunities will open up to you. You just have to be there and be receptive to them.
To find out more about the Women’s International Music Network (WiMN), please click here.
To find out more about the She Rocks Awards, its past honorees which include Melissa Etheridge, Chaka Khan, Lisa Loeb, and Esperanza Spalding, and this year’s honorees which include Nancy Wilson, Amy Lee, Cindy Blackman Santana, and The Go-Gos, please click here.
To register for free tickets and to learn how to purchase VIP tickets for the 2021 She Rocks Awards please click here.