Authority Magazine
Published in

Authority Magazine

Jenny Powers of Blue Avenue Music Group: Why We Need More Women Founders & Here Is What We Are Doing To Make That Happen

The more women at the table, the more inclusive voices we can hear, the better business environments we can build.

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jenny Powers.

Jenny Powers is the Founder and CEO of Blue Avenue Music Group, the community manager for Artisthub.io, a music lover, an avid supporter of YEAH! and Girls Rock Camp, and is an official Ari’s Take Academy Moderator. She is constantly studying the ever-changing music industry, while consistently and effectively refining her methods and services to help bands achieve their goals and build a solid, sustainable business foundation for their careers.

Jenny’s social media marketing campaigns have led to chart-topping albums on Billboard, iTunes and Apple Music.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Thank you for having me. I grew up in a home filled with music. It was either on the radio or me and my siblings practicing piano, flute, guitar, and trumpet. My siblings went on to be touring musicians and I went into legal studies. I started managing my brother’s band TreeHouse! and his solo project Positive J, laying the business foundations, streamlining royalties, getting the trademarks in place, monetizing the music, landing sponsorships, and streamlining their merchandise.

Stephanie Miller and I were helping a band through some technical issues. She brought expertise on the touring and day-to-day management side and I on the business management side. We saw the value each of us brought to the situation and we realized that other bands and musicians needed what we could offer. So we began Blue Avenue Music Group.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

In 2019, I traveled to New Orleans with my husband for a conference. It was hot, I was tired, and I think the hurricanes I’d been drinking were settling in. We decided to cool down in the Cathedral. We took in all the beauty of this place and finally sat down for what seemed like an hour. I closed my eyes and began visioning all the things I wanted to accomplish in my business.

On the brisk walk from the Cathedral to our hotel, I received a message from Ari Herstand and Hip-hop artist Lucidious. “Hey, Jenny! First off, thank you for being so awesome in the ATA group! You’re really helping so many people out with your ongoing encouragement and support. Your advice is always right on and we really appreciate how active you are.“ They went on to ask if I would moderate the Facebook group for their Streaming and Instagram Growth course for Ari’s Take Academy. Wow, the guy who wrote the book on how to make it in the music industry was reaching out to me! The same book I used to layout business plans for my clients. I agreed and Lucidious messaged me “Welcome to the team.” I knew I was doing great things for my clients, but it was at this moment that I realized others were noticing too and I was going to be a part of something bigger than what I had envisioned at the Cathedral moments earlier.

Today I have been able to work with thousands of artists around the world from indie artists to Grammy-nominated artists. Sometimes having big dreams requires big leaps of faith to see them accomplished.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Oh yes, but the word mistake has such a negative feel that I’d like to think of it as simply a learning experience. I had a band touring through Nashville and I had reached out to numerous people in the industry to invite them to the show. I had no industry connections and no one knew who I was or knew of the band I was working with. Somehow, the panelist for a TV show in Nashville similar to American Idol called me out of nowhere. I was incredibly shocked, didn’t even remember sending him an email invitation to the show, and floundered through our entire call. Needless to say, be careful whom you email in the industry, they might just respond.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

That’s tough. I am lucky to have a great support system in my family and my teammates who remind me to take care of myself, to know my value, to stand up for myself, and encourage me to expand outside of my comfort zone.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

I really focus on foundation building with my clients. Where do you start once you have a product or idea? We start with basic building blocks: forming the company, agreements, 1–3–5 year plan, revenue streams, and more. Even having a basic idea of invoicing and simple accounting software can get someone started correctly.

Moreover, having a strong support system of colleagues who have similar visions and resources to be able to fund and scale the business.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

Absolutely, as individuals, we can learn the basic foundations to get started, find like-minded people who can support you along your journey, and most importantly take what you learn and share it with others who may be on a similar journey.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

The more women at the table, the more inclusive voices we can hear, the better business environments we can build.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?

Sometimes people only see the fruits of your labor and not the roots of your labor. They don’t realize that your “overnight success’’ is the result of years of hard work along with some trial and error.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

Not everyone has big-picture visions. Founders are responsible for the vision, the plan to reach the vision and the team to execute the plan. Some people are very good at what they do within a team setting because they know how to do their job. They do well at their job and they know they fit into the big picture without having to know all the details of the big picture.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Have A Plan. It doesn’t have to be an extensive plan, an outline of goals can be enough to get started.
  2. Be Flexible. With constant changes in technology, the world and everyday life, you have to be able to be flexible.
  3. Run Your Own Race. Comparison is the thief of joy. Look to others in your field for inspiration not competition.
  4. Know Your Value. You are unique, don’t discount yourself.
  5. Be Your Authentic Self. Stick to your core values and what’s true to you and everything will work out for you.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Personally, I support and am active in programs like YEAH!, Southern Girls Rock and Roll Camp, Carolina Youth Action Project, and Girls Rock Charleston that foster ideas of social change in valuing and voicing equality of women, girls, and the LGBTQ community through activities that encourage critical thinking, social justice principles, and teamwork.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Girl Scouts instilled many positive influences into my life, but most importantly that of kindness, gratitude, and grace. I can’t think of a better movement to support or be part of. I have been friends with my Daisy group for over 30 years. We still get together for the occasional breakfast. We live by the Girl Scout Law:

I will do my best to be

honest and fair,

friendly and helpful,

considerate and caring,

courageous and strong,

and responsible for what I say and do,

and to respect myself and others,

respect authority,

use resources wisely,

make the world a better place,

and be a sister to every Girl Scout.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would absolutely love to have a meal with Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift. They are such trailblazers! Dolly turned down Elvis recording her song “I Will Always Love You” because he wanted half the publishing. She knew the value of her work and didn’t settle for any less than what she deserved. And Taylor, I am in constant awe of how she powerfully and gracefully maneuvers through the music industry.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

Thank you for having me.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Edward Sylvan, CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group

Edward Sylvan, CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group

Specializing in acquiring, producing and distributing films about equality, diversity and other thought provoking subjects