Becky Gardenhire, Partner and Co-Head of Nashville Office, WME

Becky Gardenhire
– Becky Gardenhire

Making A Difference In People’s Lives

Becky Gardenhire
Partner and Co-Head of Nashville Office, WME  

Becky Gardenhire was co-head of WME’s Nashville office for barely six months when the coronavirus pandemic halted touring – but she’s found that opportunity can accompany adversity. For her, working more closely and developing more empathy with not just her WME family but the extended touring industry, has been a positive outcome of an otherwise fraught year.

“COVID and the impact of the pandemic brought our team at WME closer and stronger. We had to rely on each other to problem solve [and] share resources and information,” she tells Pollstar. “We also wanted to be there for our industry partners, from venue owners, promoters and crew and our clients. Hopefully, this has taught us how to conduct business with more empathy and consider all options to solve problems.”

Gardenhire has brought a personal touch to the fore in her efforts to keep her team motivated during turbulent times.

“I’m a fan of handwritten personalized notes and have been sending out notes of encouragement and doing check-in calls with everyone,” she says. “It was challenging for everyone to stay optimistic during the past year but to know that you have colleagues that care can keep you going.”

Gardenhire’s biggest impact may be in the area of diversity and inclusion. She spearheads those initiatives in WME’S Nashville office and is involved in the company’s commitment to #ChangeHollywood, an initiative of Color of Change to put forth concrete, measurable solutions for Hollywood to affirm, defend and invest in Black lives.

Of the industry’s efforts, Gardenhire says, “We are making important steps but have a long way to go. From gender parity to racial diversity, many execs are having the conversation but action items are still needed to keep moving forward.”

And, in the meantime, there’s the day-to-day business of “staying innovative and nimble – both in moving and rescheduling tours, seeking out opportunities with livestreams, brand activations, and non-touring opportunities,” Gardenhire says.“There is pent-up demand for experiencing music in person, with your loved ones and friends, so I believe live music and in-person experiences are going to be very strong, as long as we don’t have any more pandemic scares.”

The past 14 months have led Gardenhire to reassess what constitutes career accomplishments.

“Pre-COVID, my [thoughts] would have been something specific to the industry, but post-COVID, I believe my biggest accomplishment is my individual impact, whether that has been as a source of encouragement for my colleagues or clients, or the work I’m striving to do in the D&I space,” she says. “I like a quote from Michelle Obama: ‘Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”