The Smart Women in Music (SWIM) Summit: a Four-day Immersion in Leadership and Education

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Earlier this month Smart Women in Music (SWIM) held a summit in San Diego, California that offered a four-day immersion in leadership and education. SWIM supports women in the music products industry in the development of their leadership proficiencies and aspirations.

According to Laura Penrose, president of Nick Rail Music, the summit allowed time for attendees to network on a deeper level.

“All women should be taking advantage of SWIM for networking, resourcing and mentorship,” said Penrose. “It’s such a unique niche of people that are all in the same boat, even if they’re not in the same roles or places professionally. We can all lean on each other for guidance, support and insight.”

The SWIM Summit presented workshops and sessions on professional leadership, communication skills, effective models for giving and receiving feedback, and more.

Kit Culpepper, director of channel strategy and programs, from Martin Guitar & Strings, said that attending the summit elevated her leadership.

"It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of this inaugural group of women working together to elevate leadership roles for women in the musical instruments business,” said Culpepper. “We left the SWIM Summit empowered by what we learned and share a commitment to level up in our own leadership roles."

The SWIM Fund envisions a future state of the music industry where at least 10% of the CEO roles are held by women (current state is 2.2%) and 50% of C-suite positions are held by women. The focus of SWIM is to build leadership skills, confidence and a lifelong network for inspired, driven women to reach this goal within the next 10 years.

DeDe Heid, executive vice president of Heid Music, shared her gratitude for the event.

“The SWIM Summit was inspirational and motivational, personally and professionally. It was an unforgettable few days together,” said Heid. “While we are all dealing with so much uncertainty in our lives now, I am certain that these women have created lifelong friendships and a peer group that can help them get through so much together!”

The Smart Women In Music Fund led by Robin Walenta, president of West Music Co., Crystal Morris, president and CEO of Gator Cases, and DeDe Heid, executive vice president of Heid Music was established in 2018 with the mission “to expand diversity, inclusion and support for women in the music products industry.” To learn more, visit

Smart Women in Music Summit