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Dallas Symphony's President and CEO Kim Noltemy on Building A Network

Noltemy is the creator of the DSO's annual Women in Classical Music Symposium

The fifth year of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s (DSO) Women in Classical Music Symposium recently came to a close at The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, in Dallas, Texas.

Focused on inspiring women in the field of classical music, the symposium strives to help women reach their full professional potential, while also incentivizing broad-scale change in the industry.

The event featured talks, panel discussions, performances, and networking events based on topics unique to women in the classical music industry.

We had the chance to talk with DSO's President and CEO Kim Noltemy at this year's symposium and get her view on equity in the industry.


Why do you think it's so important to help build a network of women?

It's really important to build a network of women in the classical music industry because we need to help each other. There are so many women working in this industry, but we should be leading at 50% on every level, whether it's composers, conductors, music directors, presidents and CEOs, artistic vice presidents, etc.


Every year, what do you look forward to most at the symposium?

I look forward to meeting new people and building relationships with them, that's what it's all about. For the people I already know, I am grateful to strengthen those relationships so that we can work together in the future.


In addition to the symposium, how is the orchestra implementing equality?

At the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, we're very committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion on all levels. We've started a number of initiatives, including the creation of the Women in Classical Music Symposium, hiring a female principal guest conductor and composer in residence, having 50% of all of our commissions by women, ensuring pay equity, and creating additional policies that help our female employees, and all employees for that matter.

In terms of overall equity, diversity, and inclusion, we're committed to creating a workplace that is meaningful to every single employee and making sure that the Dallas Symphony feels like an orchestra for every citizen of Dallas.


What have you learned from the previous editions of the symposium? Anything new your team implemented this year?

Every year we try to talk about new subjects that we may not have talked about before. In one panel discussion this year, for example, there was a conversation about having a panel of men answer the same questions that the women were asked.

We always take those suggestions and look at how we can make the conference better each year. But most of all, it's the relationships that are the critical component of this symposium that really change what's going on in this business.


How important is it for you to give female leaders a platform to share their stories?

I was completely astounded when I learned that there was no other conference like this in the United States. When I learned that, I realized that we need a forum to talk with each other, to network with each other, to consider important issues, and to find ways forward.


If you could give one piece of advice to an up-and-coming leader in the industry, what would it be?

Follow your passion! Love what you do, and know that you're going to have to make some hard decisions, but really accept it, and be one with your decision-making process.


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