Sarah DeBorre (Music Victoria)

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Sarah DeBorre (Music Victoria)

Please tell us how you became involved in Music Victoria and what you find most challenging and rewarding about your role:

I was employed by Music Victoria in November 2016 to run, what was then a newly created program called Live Music Professionals. Live Music Professionals is coming into its third year in 2019 and basically, it’s a free business coaching program for live music venues (band bookers, venue owners, venue managers) and independent promoters. Cultivate is a brand new program which is running in 2019 for the first time ever and I’m really excited about it! It’s somewhat similar to Live Music Professionals however it’s specifically aimed at those who identify as women and who are in leadership or management roles in the Victorian music industry. To be honest I can’t say I find anything really challenging in my project management role at Music Victoria but there’s so much that I find rewarding. I certainly don’t take working in music, and for an amazing organisation like Music Victoria, for granted; and then to be able to run programs that upskill people and help them realise their full potential while also helping them build support networks is definitely a highlight. Being in a position where I can help people on their business or leadership journey is just the best thing ever!

Music Victoria in partnership with the Vic Government has announced a new leadership program ‘Cultivate’ that is aimed at mid-career and established women in the Vic music industry who wish to wish to further their leadership and management skills, how and why was the Cultivate program created?


In April 2015 Music Victoria conducted a survey titled ‘Women in the Victorian Contemporary Music Industry’. There were over 300 respondents and many key themes were identified as barriers for women working in the contemporary Victorian music industry. Even though it’s taken a few years to get a project like Cultivate in action,  it’s a great a result and massive step in the right direction of having a positive impact on some of the key issues addressed in that survey.

A quote from the report that’s quite relevant to the roll-out of this project is: “A brief examination of the number of men and women in senior positions (i.e. executive roles or board members) of selected industry organisations supports the perception that the music industry is a ‘boys club’ (see Appendix B). Only half of the organisations have 50% or more females in senior positions and several organisations have no females in senior roles. Of all the senior positions available across these organisations, only 28% are held by women. However, women are overrepresented in non-senior positions holding 58% of staff positions. These crude statistics show that like many other industries, women in the music industry do not have equal representation in the key decision making roles and face a ‘glass ceiling’.”

You can read the full report here:

Music Victoria would like to see more women within the music industry progressing on their leadership journey and we hope that a program like Cultivate will promote this.

Will this be an ongoing program?

At this stage, we only have funding through for one year but hopefully, we’ll be able to demonstrate the need for future funding and be able to run it more than just once!

Why have you chosen to target women only for the Cultivate program?

The program is funded by the Office for Women which is why we’re targeting women and those who identify as women on this project.

How many participants will be selected for the Cultivate program?

Spots are super limited for the program and we’ll only be accepting five people into the program as it’s a pilot program.

What do you hope to be achieved in the Cultivate program?  

I hope that we can connect a group of women to amazing mentors who will be able to provide the support our participants need to aid them in progressing on a successful journey into higher leadership and management roles. I’d love to see more women in senior management roles in the music industry and I believe that we can do this!

What does 2019 hold for the Cultivate program?

2019 is when everything will roll out for the program. Once participants have been selected by our reference group we’ll launch the program with a full day of mentoring activities followed by masterclasses and then our participants will be involved in tailored leadership coaching or programs.


Music Victoria’s Cultivate Pilot Program 2019
Applications open now and close Monday 14 January 2019
Shortlisted applicants will be contacted by the Cultivate Project Manager to arrange a short phone interview.  The Cultivate reference group will decide on the successful applicants.

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