In 1997, a small group of rising music industry professionals in Nashville started the Society of Leaders In Development, or SOLID.
The goal of SOLID was to develop a community for its membership that combined social networking with community service and educational opportunities. The ideal membership for such an organization was to be entry to mid-level industry professionals who may not have the resources or opportunities to belong to other organizations in the music industry, such as Leadership Music or the CMA Board.
25 years later, SOLID has become a vibrant organization for future leaders of the music industry. Through its community-building events, educational opportunities and philanthropic efforts, SOLID has continued its mission to improve the future of Music Row.
In addition to general organization and committee meetings, SOLID brings industry members together for events such as happy hours, the annual crawfish boil, writer’s rounds, and other networking opportunities.
To honor its tenant of education, SOLID holds Q&A sessions with industry leaders and panels focused on issues facing the community. It also facilitates mentorship opportunities for members to mentor students, as well as opportunities to be mentored by other industry professionals.
With community service as another key point of its mission, SOLID creates a multitude of ways for members to serve the community. Whether it be by its Music Row Madness fundraiser or by smaller initiatives, it’s clear that the organization sees investing in the community as paramount. In the last 25 years, SOLID has raised over $1,000,000 for other industry non-profits.
Members of SOLID come from all areas of the music business community, therefore contributing to the diversity, productivity and integrity of the group. The organization’s board of directors is continually adapting to meet the changing needs of their membership, working tirelessly to fulfill SOLID’s mission of helping, teaching and leading others.
To celebrate SOLID’s 25th anniversary, the organization will hold a gala on Thursday (Sept. 22). Ahead of the gala, SOLID President and Director of Publicity at Elicity Public Relations, Avery King, spoke to MusicRow about her experience with the organization.
“When I first got started in the music industry, I was trying to network with as many people as I possibly could, and after taking countless meetings—I discovered that the common denominator between so many of the professionals I was meeting with was SOLID,” shares King.
After being encouraged by Elicity’s Elise Anderson to join the organization, King applied and was accepted in 2016. She spent two years leading SOLID’s communications committee before becoming Vice President in 2020 and President the following year.
“I would contribute the majority of my professional growth to SOLID because of the amount of people I have been able to connect and build relationships with,” King explains. “Most of these relationships have developed to be very meaningful friendships and are not just relationships that check a box of ‘networking.’ I’ve gotten the chance to meet hundreds of people that are all spending their free time wanting to grow within their careers—through our membership and also through our board.
“SOLID stands for the Society of Leaders in Development, and that couldn’t be a more accurate representation of what happens when you get involved with such a powerful group,” she adds.
When looking back on the growth and achievements SOLID has seen over the last 25 years, King says that honoring the legacy of the organization is of the utmost importance.
“I believe that the legacy of SOLID is what it stands for: Society of Leaders in Development. Everyone is involved in SOLID for similar reasons—to expand their knowledge within the industry with people from all sides and to develop their own skills and leadership styles. We are all the leaders in development and our founders really thought through the name when they created the organization in 1997.
“In fact, we kicked off this year by hearing from our founding members during our new member retreat,” King adds. “They spoke to the fact that they couldn’t have ever imagined SOLID accomplishing all that we’ve been able to achieve. What started as a handful of people getting together to talk about what they wanted to accomplish within the music industry has now turned into over a thousand current members and alumni. That network has helped us grow year after year in our programming.
“To be in the 25th year and be able to say SOLID has raised over a million dollars for other nonprofits is something that they couldn’t have ever imagined.”
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