Roc Nation School Celebrates Women In Music, Sports, and Entertainment

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Apr. 2 2024, Published 2:03 p.m. ET

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Roc Nation School of Music, Sports, and Entertainment hosted their EmpowHerMENT event at Long Island University (LIU)’s campus in Brooklyn, N.Y., closing out Women’s History Month with purpose. The gathering united a diverse group of esteemed women, educators, and next-generation leaders to celebrate and uplift distinguished women in music, sports, and entertainment.

As a part of the Roc Nation School Speaker Series, the EmpowHerMENT multi-panel event featured engaging discussions with industry leaders on how they broke into their fields and found success. This open forum gave students the opportunity to learn from seasoned industry veterans on building successful careers in traditionally male-dominated fields.

Women’s Empowerment In Leadership

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Notable speakers included Amy Salmanson, senior producer at CBS Sports; Taj McWilliams-Franklin, a six-time All-Star and 2024 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee; Michelle Bell, vice president of creative at Roc Nation; Criscia Nicole Long, senior director of entertainment for NYC Liberty, Brooklyn Nets, and Long Island Nets; and several other experts from the sports and entertainment sectors. 

The luminaries took attendees to church sharing heartfelt personal stories of resilience, rejection and overcoming personal roadblocks. 

Inspiring And Educational Career Advice

Christen James, director of global strategic partnerships at the Special Olympics, emphasized the importance of pushing past fear and discomfort. “Never say no to yourself,” she said. “There are a lot of people who will say no to you, so never take yourself out of the running.”

On making space for other women who wish to break into the entertainment industry, Christen James said “If you have a platform, if you are in charge of a program, if you have some sort of access to elevate people who are marginalized people who share your experience, do it. It’s as simple as that.”

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Six-time All-Star and 2024 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Taj McWilliams-Franklin highlighted the significance of adapting to unique situations. “There is no real playbook,” Taj explained. You make it as you go along because you have to deal with situations that come in your life in your specific situation. And that playbook changes.”

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T.J. Ashmeade and Amy Salmanson said being flexible and open minded is the key to professional growth. 

“Everyone’s path here is completely different,” said T.J. Ashmeade, Professor in Strategic Sports Management at the Roc Nation School. “Something that I think that we also need on our ordained path while we create our playbook is finding the people that are right for us.” 

“Be willing to adapt,” said Amy Salmanson, Senior Producer at CBS Sports. “I would say your playbook is there as a guide. But be ready to scratch that out and drop a new play because sometimes you only have three seconds at the buzzer.”

Founded in 2021, The Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment prepares students for careers in modern entertainment through hands-on learning with industry experts and access to professional opportunities. The school offers a range of academic programs, from sports marketing and communications to music technology and vocal performance.

EmpowHerMENT not only gave these accomplished women their flowers, it also highlighted the Roc Nation school’s dedication to creating inclusive environments and investing in the next generation of leaders through professional opportunities.

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By: Tiffany Knighten

Tiffany Knighten is a writer, consultant, and the founder & CEO of Brand Curators. She is dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs and BIPOC-led businesses. With a passion for entertainment and the arts, Tiffany uses her platform to amplify cultural conversations and individuals that create within those spaces.

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