Leading Women in Audio Conference focuses on ‘growth through adversity’

The annual conference hosted by Elon was held virtually on February 26 and 27.

“To be in the audio industry, you must prepare for a lifetime of growth,” said Agnieszka Roginska, vice chair of the Music Department at New York University, and the 2021 Leading Women in Audio Conference’s keynote speaker.

This sentiment was reflected throughout the entirety of the conference that was held Feb. 26-27. The annual conference centers around a new theme each year, and in response to a year of hardship, especially in the entertainment industry, the concept of resilience and growth through adversity was highlighted in each of the conference’s sessions.

The Leading Women in Audio Conference aims to address the underrepresentation of women in the audio industry. It has been a struggle for women to break into this field, and now, the organizers and presenters want to educate its participants about the visibility, accomplishments, and impact of the successful women in the industry.

“We are so proud of the wide range of support that we have had for this conference,” said Professor of Music Fred Johnson. Johnson, along with the student steering committee, had been planning the event since August. In his opening remarks, Johnson expressed awe and admiration for the committee, along with the record number of attendees that registered for the third annual conference.

Agnieszka Roginska, vice chair of the Music Department at New York University, delivered the conference keynote.

With the transition to a virtual format this year, more than 170 people attended the two-day conference, a large increase from last year’s 107 attendees. Sixteen universities were represented, and more than 50 high school students registered to participate.

“As technology has played an even more important role during the age of COVID, I have developed an even greater respect for those behind the control boards,” said Elon Music Department Chair Hallie Hogan. “More than ever, this conference brings joy and hope to those in this community, particularly in a time when hope is in great demand.”

The conference offered presentations and workshops such as “Covid Career Causality,” hosted by Michel Holbrook, a freelance sound designer. The session offered advice and pointed out mistakes to avoid for students and recent graduates entering the job market.

Even through a virtual format, each session offered the opportunity for growth and discussion on a variety of important subjects. Participants were given tools and resources to navigate the growing audio industry.

This year’s theme was highlighted throughout the planning process as well. Steering Committee Co-Chairs Ana Segal ‘21 and Conor Flood ‘21 had dedicated hours of their time to redesign the conference and adapt to the pandemic.

“We wanted to quit, and when it was clear this event would take on a new format, it was hard to swallow,” said Segal in her opening remarks. “But we had a choice, give up something that really mattered to us, or stay in the challenge and put in the work.”

“We grew through the adversity because we knew the end result would be worth it,” said Flood.

More information and a recap of the weekend’s conference can be found here.