CMA Announces Return Of Women’s Leadership Academy, Opens Application [Exclusive]
The Country Music Association has announced its Women’s Leadership Academy will return for the second year. The professional development program is a group coaching experience for up to 16 high-performing women in the country music industry.
Applications for this year’s academy are open now through March 31 at CMAworld.com/membership.
After launching in 2022, the Women’s Leadership Academy provided a wealth of value to its members. Participants were coached with premier-level professional development training led by Diane Watson, PCC and Cory Colton, PCC, BCC. They also benefited from one-on-on coaching sessions, educational sessions as a group, and group coaching sessions twice a month.
Tiffany Kerns, CMA’s VP of Industry Relations and Philanthropy, tells MusicRow that the inaugural Women’s Leadership Academy gained the tools needed to lead their teams well, and the courage to acknowledge the achievements of other women without a sense of competition.
“The women wanted to meet more. They wanted the sessions to be longer,” Kerns shares. “We encouraged agility in the program because we ultimately wanted to be reactive to their evolving needs, especially as many of them were going back into the office post-COVID. We also had really great coaches that understood the assignment—that women need to walk out feeling supported, prepared and ready to lead in their spaces.”
Kerns also says that the inaugural class built a tight bond throughout the length of the program.
“Women are looking for and need other women for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s to get personal or professional advice, women often feel the pressure to always have it figured out. When you build trust with other women, it allows you to have connection and resources,” she says. “They continue to meet! So, we are learning that it isn’t just about putting together a group of women and delivering educational sessions, but we need to create an experience that allows them to be open, honest and supportive of one another. We need to build a community that lives long after they have exited the program.”
Participants of the 2023 Women’s Leadership Academy will begin their program by establishing goals before connecting with each other for group sessions. Watson and Colton will return as coaches for this year’s program, which aims to strengthen professional acumen by working through critical topics such as increased self-awareness and how to use it strategically, confidence building and communicating effectively, managing inner criticism to unleash further potential, building a personal brand and networking successfully, as well as creating a better work-life integration by setting boundaries.
Of this year’s class, Kerns shares, “We want and desire women to advance and be retained in country music. So, I’m most excited that [a new class of] women are going to have the exact same experience. Thanks to our previous class, we have continued to improve the program, so we are meeting the needs of our class versus making assumptions about their needs.”