08.03.2021: To mark International Women’s Day UK Music Future’s Group Chair & member of She Said So Amanda Maxwell discusses activisim burnout and how a supportive network helped her recover.
I first joined the music industry as an intern after moving to London. I worked in night-time bar jobs to pay bills and worked desperately hard during the day to make an impression and land a job
I quickly realised that I would need support to survive in what can be a tough industry and finding She Said So was the safe space I needed.
The first panel I went to was during a lunch break. While the rest of the office sunned it up in Ibiza (not jealous at all), I suddenly felt empowered. I realised I had the opportunity to create change – not just follow but lead.
I had a meeting with my CEO to talk about my thoughts about what the company could do to hire more women and create a better environment for them – and he listened. The knock-on impact meant that other women in the organisation were asked about their concerns and our voices were heard.
We looked at changing business proposal pitches, the hiring process and team structures. This led to more women working at the company – an almost 50:50 split.
There was still some way to go with educating people and that too was something myself and other women of the company weren’t afraid to do.
But working so hard to not only succeed at my job, but also enact change, led to my body giving up. I was taken to hospital and would spend the next six months in and out, poked and prodded. I was done. I handed in my notice because I realised I couldn’t do anything without my health.
That’s not the end of the story though. My workplace offered me support. I was given a new role, and was able to balance my passion and my health in a better way.
I realise I was very fortunate with my workplace that they were willing not only to listen to me and change the workplace culture to not only better support women but also to ensure that my health was also supported.
Change really does only happen by people putting themselves out there and challenging those people in more powerful positions than you.
It can be really daunting – and potentially risky to your career – especially when you’ve just started in the industry – but the support of She Said So has been invaluable.
* Amanda Maxwell is an independent manager to Ellie Prohan, Chair of the UK Music Futures Group and a community member of She Said So.
She Said So a global community of women and gender minorities in the music industry. Find out more at shesaid.so.
A list of other organisations to check out:
- Girls I Rate
- Flexx London
- Saffron Music
- Pxssy Palace
- Sorority House