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exclusive News June 15, 2022

Susan Heymann Reveals Leadership Secrets and Lessons

Senior Journalist, B2B
Susan Heymann Reveals Leadership Secrets and Lessons

Susan Heyman, the COO of Frontier Touring, has revealed how music industry executives can be better leaders and more effectively support women in the industry.

She said simply employing women, without actually empowering them, was worse than not employing them at all.

“There’s been a lot of conversations in the last couple of years about the struggle for women in the industry, and I have to say that… a lot of my success is because I’ve worked with someone who genuinely wanted me to succeed and wanted me to open doors,” she said, referring to long-time collaborator Michael Chugg, the executive chairman of Chugg Entertainment (pictured above, left, with Heymann and the late Michael Gudinski). 

She said she’s taken these lessons from Chugg and tried to implement it with her own leadership over the years.

“I always called the style of management that he had was ’empowerment with a safety net’. So he always let me go, and I always knew that if something went wrong, I wouldn’t be scolded for it, I’d be supported. And it’s really shaped how I manage people. I push people into opportunities that they might not think they’re ready for, same as he did with me,” she said.

Both Heymann and Chugg were speaking on the “Fear at the Top” podcast, with Chugg insisting Heymann is one of the greatest, and most respected, music executives in the world.

“I’ve always believed in women in the industry,” he told the podcast. “I was very proud for many, many years that we had the biggest female staff of any company in our industry, and they weren’t treated like the secretaties or fired when they got pregnant or any of that shit, and I’m very proud of that,” he said.

Heymann, however, contended that Chugg’s employment and empowerment of women went further than that – an important lesson for others.

“But it’s not even that,” she said, “it’s actually just saying, you now a number of people would call, try to go over my head on things, and he would always direct them back to me.

“It’s the little behavioural things that made a big [genuine] difference…

“So I’ve certainly worked hard for my own success, but I do appreciate what a gift it has been to have someone who doesn’t obstruct and who supports and clears the path. And I think that’s a really important thing.”

You can watch the full episode of “Fear at the Top” below. 

Stream the full interview here and below.

Read more: Q&A with Susan Heymann: The good, the bad & the practical of doing The Sound without Michael Gudinski

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