Guest Contribution by Karrie Keyes
SoundGirls.Org was formed in 2013 by veteran live sound engineers: Karrie Keyes and Michelle Sabolchick Pettinato. In 2012, Karrie and Michelle participated in the “Women of Professional Concert Sound” panel at the AES Conference in San Francisco. The panel was hosted by the Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) and moderated by WAM founder Terri Winston. [ed: We’ve interviewed Terri about WAM in the past.] Terri brought together five women working in live and broadcast audio. The groundbreaking panel which also included Jeri Palumbo, Claudia Engelhart and Deanne Franklin, provided young women and men a glimpse into life on the road, tips and advice, and a Q & A with the panelists.
More importantly though, was how incredibly powerful the experience was for the panelists. We had all been in the business for 20 years or more, yet most of us had never met before that day and within minutes we bonded like long lost sisters. We were struck by how similar our experiences, work ethics, and passions were and wondered why our paths had never crossed and how our careers would have been different had we been there to support each other through the years. Each of us are strong on our own, but together we were even stronger and a powerful force. We were empowered. Each of us had been asked hundreds of times in our careers: Are there other women doing sound? How did you get into sound? How would a young woman go about getting into sound?
Our hope in creating SoundGirls.Org. was to establish a place for women working in professional audio to come for support and advice, to share our success and failures, our joys and frustrations, and for empowerment and inspiration.
Since that time SoundGirls.Org has grown and moved in directions we could not envision when we started. Currently we have over 800 members worldwide and growing each day. We feature a profile on women in audio each month, have bi-weekly blogs from monthly contributors, and have written unique features on live productions, new equipment, and audio educational programs. We try to keep up to date information on audio seminars and courses, scholarship information, as well as growing database of useful articles and information on audio. We offer several forums, where members can discuss topics of interest, volunteer to be a mentor or find a one, and look for job opportunities.
We have recently started to hold meet ups for our members to connect and meet each other. The Southern California SoundGirls have toured NPR West and The Viper Room, and are hosting a Dave Rat seminar in April. The European SoundGirls have had two meet ups and have seminars planned with Marcel van Limbeek, ME for Tori Amos, Shure, DPA, and Lake. We are hosting our first East Coast Meet Up on March 26th in New York.
We begin 2015 focusing on a few new projects. The first being a Girls Sound & Production Camp. The pilot program will take place in Modesto, California at the end of July and we will be working with The Northern California’s Music Festival. We are also working on developing some webinars and continuing educational programs for women in audio. In addition we will be featuring some in-depth interviews with FOH, Monitor, and System Techs, an often overlooked job but one that is so crucial to a live production. We are also expanding our coverage of other audio fields such as Post Production, Recording, Mastering, and Gaming.
We are happy to receive feedback and suggestions from our members.