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How to have a great career in a competitive, male-dominated industry
Kim Frankiewicz has had the most incredible career in the music industry working with some of the world’s favourite bands including INXS and Daftpunk – but it hasn’t been easy.
If you’re looking for inspiration in your career, or wondering how you’ll make it in a tough, cut and thrust workplace, then take a look at Wylde woman Kim Frankiewicz’s 40 year CV. She has worked in London, Sydney and New York, making her way up from the bottom. Kim believes you have to find colleagues who have your back and be prepared to take risks.
How did you start?“When I left school at 17 in Australia, my first job was a secretarial-type position. One of the ladies I worked with told me her music promoter, ex-husband was looking for a secretary. I went for the job – because I wanted to be able to go and see bands for free! I got it, and that’s what got my foot in the door. I worked there for about 3 years. From day one, I was thrown right into the deep end, talking to all of the big agents.”
How did you end up managing INXS?“I really loved them so I gave them a residency at one of the clubs we looked after. For a couple of months, they came up once a week to perform so I got to know them and their management really well. Around the same time, I was looking to grow my career and I knew that the only way to do that was to move to Sydney, so I mentioned it to one of the agents I knew. He offered me a job instantly! INXS’ manager, Chris Murphy, caught wind of it and asked me to come and work for him. He played me what was going to be the band’s next single. It happened to be Original Sin which went on to be their first big hit – and I decided that I had to go and work for him. The band wanted me to manage them with Chris, so I did. It was just me, Chris, the tour manager, and his wife who did our book-keeping. Having gone from playing in tiny pubs in Newcastle, Australia, in front of a few hundred people, INXS went on to become one of the biggest bands in the world.”
Did it feel like a big risk at the time?“I still look back at that point in my life and think about how blindly I went with the flow. I was only 20 when I started working for INXS and now I think about how brave that was. I have no idea where I got that confidence from but I just had it – and I went with it.”
“I have no idea where I got that confidence from but I just had it – and I went with it.”
What is the best advice you’ve been given?“Chris, who was a very clever entrepreneur, felt that in management, you really didn’t own any assets. Publishing was what you needed to do to own assets, and so he set up a publishing arm of the business. One night, he took me to dinner and asked me to go and run the publishing company. I didn’t want to – I knew nothing about that side of things and it sounded so boring, but that night he gave me the best piece of advice I’ve ever had. He said when I was in my 50s, I wouldn’t still want to be touring, doing management, being contactable 24 hours a day and working weekends. He really wanted me to think about it and I’m so glad I did, because here I am today, still doing publishing.”
What are your words of wisdom to other females in the industry?“I vividly remember that when I started out in Australia, there was literally one single other successful female in the industry. Music is very male-focused but I’ve been lucky that I’ve been surrounded by men who have been very protective of me and who have looked after me. I’ve made a conscious effort with my team to have a solid male/female split and I often get comments on how refreshing it is to have that split in meetings. My advice is to find your tribe; find like-minded people because they are the ones that you’re going to grow with and learn from. You have to be strong-minded and believe in yourself, have confidence in yourself, take risks and own them.”
Tell us about your working day now you are an Executive Vice President at one of the world’s largest independent music publishing companies, Concord.“You can only do what you can do. I still sit down and make a list and prioritise that list. I break my days down, so from the morning until 3pm I work with my contacts in the UK and Germany and then from 3pm, I’m working with our four offices in America. I’m incredibly strict about when we finish work, and because of the time difference the latest will be 8pm. I make sure no one calls me after that and that we don’t communicate on the weekend or anything like that. It’s so important to give your brain a rest. I get worried about how much time my younger team members spend connected to their phones and emails. People think they are going to get brownie points by sending emails at 11pm but I do not agree. You have to rest, to clear your head, so that you can start fresh in the morning. You have to be strict.”
On the piece of advice she’d give her younger self.“Be brave and follow your dreams.”
Thank you Kim, for sharing your story with us.
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