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  • Sony Music Group Celebrates Pride Month ‘22
  • Jun 30

All of our many experiences and identities make us unique and individual. This June, we honored community and intersectionality as we encouraged our teammates to transcend individual differences to unite and show our pride together. That’s why all divisions within the Sony enterprise—including Sony Music Group—have embraced “Transcendence” as their global Pride theme.

Below, read about how Pride Month came together at Sony Music Group. 

Designing the Theme 

This month, Sony Music Group collaborated with our partner GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) media advocacy organization, to develop a fresh and innovative design to bring the Pride theme to life. During the design process, GLAAD provided counsel on ways to represent the LGBTQ+ community in an inclusive way. As a result, Sony Music Group wove the colors of the Progress Pride flag into our materials to highlight the intersectionality and evolution of the LGBTQ+ community. 

“GLAAD informed our team that the Progress Pride flag was created as an intentional move to center the historically excluded within the LGBTQ+ community, specifically people of color and transgender individuals,” said Madilyne Nguyen-Acosta, Diversity Equity & Inclusion Specialist at Sony Music Group. “The meaning behind the colors and symbols on the Progress Pride Flag were a perfect fit for our vision to celebrate Pride at Sony Music, so we added black, brown, pink, white and blue along with the traditional Pride rainbow colors.” 

Getting Loud and Proud at Sony Music Group 

Sony Music Group organized a variety of events and activities throughout the month to celebrate Pride. Since June is also Black Music Month in the United States, OutLoud and HUE (Helping Unite Everyone)—two Talent Advisory Groups (TAGs) at Sony Music Group—collaborated to host an internal conversation about the influence of Black music in queer ballroom culture. Listen in to the few soundbites we collected from ballroom experts Yif Chen, Lolita Leopard and ICONICK

And, for the first time ever, teammates from all Sony groups—including Sony Music Group, Sony Electronics, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Crunchyroll—had the opportunity to unite and march in the 52nd Annual Los Angeles Pride Parade, which also featured special performances from Sony Music artists Syd (Columbia Records) and Christina Aguilera (RCA Records). Take a look: 

We’d like to thank all the individuals and organizations—both inside and outside of the Sony enterprise—who lent their time, wisdom and talents to celebrate Pride Month with us: 

And, to our Talent Advisory Groups OutLoud, HUE (Helping Unite Everyone) and SOMOS, thank you for coordinating several employee-focused events this month to enrich the Pride Month at Sony Music Group experience, including the annual SMG Pride Party at our New York City office. 

Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community Beyond June 

In the midst of our many celebrations this month, we are keenly aware of the work that remains and the actions we can take to advance and support LGBTQ+ equality. In a conversation with GLAAD, Ross Murray shared that in 2022 alone, there have been more than 260 anti-LGBTQ+ bills filed in state legislatures around the country, so it is important that everyone votes to impact change. 

“Voting plays a huge part—the more local, the more impact there is on people’s lives,” he explained. “But beyond just voting, it is important to know what the people you’re voting for support, what their actions have been and what they’re going to do in the future, and then finding ways to speak out about that.” 

Earlier this year, Sony Music Group launched a new multi-tier partnership with GLAAD to advance LGBTQ+ advocacy and inclusion at SMG and within the broader music industry. Check out the SMG x GLAAD announcement to learn more.  

Through our Global Social Justice Fund (SJF), we continue to support organizations committed to LGBTQ+ advocacy, such as the Marsha P. Johnson Institute (MPJI.) As one of SMG’s SJF grantee partners, MPJI is dedicated to protecting and defending the human rights of the Black transgender community.  

“Our programs elevate and support the Black trans community in various ways, including direct-cash assistance, distribution of basic necessities and paid fellowships to uplift Black trans creatives. We support our community by organizing, advocating, creating an intentional space to heal and promoting our collective power,” according to Gaylon Alcaraz, Director of Operations for MPJI. “Our organization has benefited from the Social Justice Fund through the support of MPJI’s resource map, a vital tool to connect the Black trans with essential resources across the nation.” 

  • HR is now PX at Sony Music – Here’s Why
  • Jun 22

Earlier today at Sony Music Entertainment, we shared that our Human Resources team will now be known as People Experience—or PX. Why the change? It reflects our continued focus on putting our people and their experiences first. 

In a recent post published to LinkedIn, Andrew Davis, Sony Music’s Executive Vice President and Global Chief People Experience Officer, explains the reasoning behind the transformation:  

“Since March of 2020, our workplaces have been transforming. Not just at Sony Music or in the entertainment industry, but across workplaces and industries all over the world. But for all the changes, one constant that began before the pandemic and continues today is that people want to be part of a purpose-driven, progressive, high-performing company that prioritizes diversity, equity, inclusion, and overall wellbeing for its employees. 

In other words, they want to work somewhere that puts people first. And at Sony Music Entertainment, that’s exactly what we do. 

So, in an effort to keep fulfilling that mission, we are reimagining the role Human Resources has served and will play in our business. Sony Music Entertainment is there for every step of our artists’ creative journey—and our People Experience teams do the same thing for our employees at work. 

Along with the name change, we’ve created a vision for the role that People Experience will play. And that vision is to create the most people-centric company in the entertainment industry—where we continue to innovate, create, grow, and win together. Our goal is that everyone at Sony Music will notice the difference—and feel even more engaged and included so they can unleash their full potential. 

This work has already begun. For example, we’ve launched on-going engagement surveys, which allow us to gage how employees are experiencing the culture and gives everyone a voice to help drive meaningful change. We’ve enhanced our global wellbeing benefits that offer meaningful support to our families. We’ve continued to conduct global pay equity reviews twice a year to ensure fair and equitable pay for all. We’ve improved our diversity mix, and, in particular with our new starters, we’ve shown year over year improvement on gender diversity globally and multicultural new hires in the U.S. We’ve also introduced our new Hybrid with Flexibility approach to meet the needs of the new workforce.

But we don’t plan on stopping there. Change takes time, so we ask everyone to take this journey with us as we pause and recommit ourselves to becoming the best, most people-centric company in the entertainment industry.

I couldn’t be more excited about what this means for our future of work here at Sony Music—and we’re looking forward to sharing more about the new direction of this team!”

Interested in being part of the Sony Music team? Explore our open positions at: sonymusic.link/careers 

You can also follow along in our journey on SME on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, as well as @LifeatSonyMusic on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube

  • Sony Music Group Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month ‘22
  • May 31
Sony Music Group Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month ‘22

The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community remained resilient in the face of growing anti-AAPI sentiment around the world. Despite the challenges, the last year has been history-making in terms of progress: increasing representation and innovation in entertainment, music and tech. Inspired by the strength displayed by the AAPI community, this Heritage Month Sony Music Group invites everyone to “Rise to Greater Heights.” 

Below, read about how this year’s AAPI Heritage Month at Sony Music came to be! 

Unpacking the Artwork 

Allow us to introduce Ryniee DeCheser, a Korean American abstract artist who often explores the dualities of nature in her work. DeCheser partnered with us to help visually bring this month’s theme to life, and when asked how the selected artwork relates, she said that it reflects her life as both a Korean and American in today’s world. 

“There is an interplay of culture, at times clashing and other times enhancing my everyday experiences,” she explained. “In this time of pandemic and anti-AAPI sentiment, my work became pronounced with synthetic form and color, reflecting this influence into my life.” 

Honoring AAPI Heritage Month 

This May was a period of celebration and reflection at Sony Music Group. Different events held throughout the month allowed us to listen and learn as various speakers shared their favorite AAPI cultural traditions, unpacked racism and the immigrant experience, and discussed ways to build intercommunity solidarity. 

With May also being Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S., we tuned in to a conversation between The Orchard and HealHaus that focused on mental health within the AAPI community. Here is what Ally Han, Software Engineer and CEPA (Council for Equity and Progressive Action) Member at The Orchard, had to say about taking care of ourselves and others during this period of rising anti-AAPI sentiment. 

“No matter how prepared you are to protect yourself as an individual, because of the nature of hate crimes, I find it difficult to escape the fear and anxiety that is attached to moving throughout the world,” Han explained. “So, the best way to watch out for ourselves and for our loved ones is to remind each other that we are not alone, and to encourage seeking out the things that bring us peace and joy in life, whatever that might mean for the individual.” 

A huge thank you to all the people who contributed to this year’s AAPI Heritage Month celebrations and programming: 

  • Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart, Pediatric Psychologist and Parent Coach 
  • Ayesha Syeddah, Managing Editor for the Blindian Project 
  • Jonah Batambuze, Founder/CEO Officer of the Blindian Project 
  • Maria Melcohr, Founder of FirstGenLiving 
  • Martha Candran-Dickerson, Editorial team member of the Blindian Project 

And, a huge thank you to Sony’s Talent Advisory Group HUE (Helping Unite Everyone) for collaborating across the Sony enterprise for a month of fantastic programming and serving as a consistent internal partner to SMG’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. 

Looking Ahead 

As part of SMG’s Global Social Justice Fund, we support worldwide anti-racist initiatives from organizations like APIAVote (Asian Pacific Islander American Vote). A leading nonpartisan nonprofit, APIAVote aims to engage, educate and empower the AAPI community throughout the voting process. To ensure AAPI voices are continually amplified, we partnered with APIAVote for the Your Voice, Your Power, Your Vote campaign and website, which will be updated with information on the upcoming midterm elections.  

While we have reached the end of the month, our celebrations and support for the AAPI community will continue.

  • Sony Music Group Celebrates Women’s History Month ’22
  • Mar 31
Sony Music Group Celebrates Women’s History Month ’22

“Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.”

This month, Sony Music Group embraced the official 2022 International Women’s Day campaign theme, #BreakTheBias, as we recognized and celebrated Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day throughout our organization. With over 10 events throughout the month, our Sony Music Group teams across the globe, including Sony Music Mexico, Sony Music Asia, Sony Music Colombia, Sony Music Spain & Portugal, and Sony Music U.S. came together to host educational programming, with an intersectional lens, to uplift, inspire, and educate! 

Below, read more about how Women’s History Month 2022 at SMG came to life! 

Creating the Women’s History Month Design

First up: the color palette. We incorporated a range of purple hues into our Women’s History Month graphics as a nod to the official color of International Women’s Day—which historically signifies justice and dignity.

Next: the illustration. The shattering animation represents the ways in which women across the world are ‘Breaking Biases’, and continuing to shatter barriers in the pursuit of gender equity.

Celebrating Women’s History Month at Sony Music Group

Throughout the month of March, the Sony enterprise, including Sony Music Group, hosted internal events focused on empowering women and addressing stereotypes and discrimination.

Teammates from around the globe tuned in to a variety of programming spotlighting women leaders and their career journeys, the effect of gender bias, and improving allyship—particularly in the workplace. Listen to an International Women’s Day insight from Rachel Thomas, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, LeanIn.org & OptionB.org: 

In a conversation hosted by WIN (Women’s Initiative Network), Sony Masterworks artists, Chloe Flower and Uéle Lamore, shared their experiences as women creatives in the music industry. “There have been many different obstacles that I’ve faced as a woman in music,” said Lamore. “More is expected from you, like in the way you dress and talk. If you mess up, even a little bit, you will get judged.”

“Being the only woman in the studio can be uncomfortable, but we’re progressing,” Flower explains. “Seeing the growing number of women involved in the creative process has been great, but while it’s important to have women represented on stage, it’s equally important to have them at the executive level as well.”

A huge thank you to all the women—especially those who work outside of Sony Music Group—who lent their time and wisdom this Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.

  • Angela Pong, General Manager of Sony Music Vietnam 
  • Chloe Flower, pianist, composer and producer 
  • Daisy Auger Dominguez, workplace futurist, equity strategist and inclusion revolutionary 
  • Kate Su, Vice President of Finance at Sony Music Asia 
  • Porsche Smith, HR Business Partner, Sony Music UK 
  • Rachel Thomas, Co-Founder/CEO of LeanIn.org and OptionB.org
  • Roslyn Pineda, General Manager of Sony Music Philippines and Vice President of Biz Development at Sony Music Asia
  • Uéle Lamore, composer, conductor, producer and arranger

And a special shoutout to The Village, Wellful, Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) and SOMOS—Sony’s Talent Advisory Groups—for working closely with SMG’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to coordinate several events in celebration of Women’s History Month!

Moving Forward

Although Women’s History Month 2022 has come to an end, Sony Music Group is committed to supporting and advancing women in the music industry and beyond. Embracing our ‘365 Cultural Appreciation’ framework, we will continue to work together to develop solutions to the multilayered challenges women today experience, and to continue to #BreaktheBias! 

  • Watch: “Passing the Mic: Black in Podcasting”
  • Feb 28
Watch: “Passing the Mic: Black in Podcasting”

In celebration of Black History Month, Sony Music’s Global Podcast Division hosted a virtual panel about the importance of Black Representation in audio.

This week, Sony Music’s Global Podcast Division hosted a conversation about the significance of Black representation in the growing podcasting industry.

The virtual panel,Passing the Mic: Black in Podcasting,” was developed and moderated by Janicia Francis, Creator/Producer, “Tea with Queen and J.” and Producer for season two of “Good Words with Kirk Franklin,” and featured a cross section of Black creatives working in audio, both in front of and behind the mic.

Panelists included Rob Dozier, Producer, Somethin’ Else; Sam Riddell, Lead Producer, “In Those Genes”; Catherine Saint Louis, Executive Editor, Neon Hum Media; Alzo Slade, Host, “Cheat!” and Vice News Correspondent; and Moses Soyoola, President of OTHERtone (Pharrell William’s podcast company).

There are inspiring moments and pieces of wisdom dropped throughout the conversation—here are just a few:

Janicia Francis: Moses, you are a podcast executive… I think a lot of us as creatives are often navigating how to make sure the ‘suits’ are happy, while still doing our creative work. Where does that merge with the creative side?

Moses Soyoola (8:31): If you have that core thing that people are in love with, then the audience will come, the revenue will come, all the other things will come. For me it’s been exciting—it’s a different muscle to flex instead of trying to think of it from scratch as a money-making machine because when you do that, you almost end up at the place where everything sounds the same and that’s obviously what’s not going to benefit diversity in the space.

JF: Have you ever felt the need or temptation to code switch and not show up as your fullest self?

Catherine Saint Louis (17:49): I’ve always known who I am, I’m just becoming less afraid of speaking my mind…I think now, when I talk to some colleagues from NYT, they say something along the lines of “You used to be so nice, now you’re just so forward.” And it’s just so amazing to me because I guess I was hiding—there was some code switching going on. Or just some muting of myself. Now, at Neon Hum, I feel like I’m definitely bringing my full self. (19:00)

JF:Alzo, you wear so many different hats, from comedian to reporter to television. What would you say is something unique that you bring to podcasting—or a muscle—that you have to work when you are specifically creating audio?

Alzo Slade (35:48): I come to the podcast space from visual medium and performative medium; from stand up and even as a professor. One of the things that I really had to adjust: As a host, I didn’t realize I was so insecure about reading out loud—a full script. […] When I’m in the booth and I’m reading 16 to 20 pages, one of the challenges I recognized was you have to bring just as much juice at page 18 as you do to page five. When you’re reading for an hour or two, you can easily fall into this monotonal trap. […] What I bring to podcasting is that performative component but the challenge of transitioning that skillset to an audio medium is bringing the energy myself.

Replay the full conversation here:

For more information on all Sony Podcasts shows, follow @SonyPodcasts on Twitter and Instagram.

  • Sony Music Group Celebrates Black History Month ‘22
  • Feb 28
Sony Music Group Celebrates Black History Month ‘22

Last year at Sony Music Group, Black History Month centered education and reflection. This year, we were inspired to celebrate the Black community and the enormous cultural impact of Black creators and innovators across industries and around the world.

Below, read about how this year’s Black History Month theme came together, and the way Sony Music Group brought our celebration to life throughout February.

Introducing This Year’s BHM Theme: “The Roaring 20s: Black Creativity & Innovation Across the Globe”

We’re in the midst of a new era of Roaring 20s, where Black creativity, entrepreneurs, creatives, and entertainers are driving society’s modern-day cultural renaissance. Organizations across the Sony enterprise and all Sony Music Group divisions (Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Music Publishing and The Orchard) embraced this theme and made it their own.

“I love this year’s Black History Month theme,” says Naledi Nyahuma Seck, Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at The Orchard. “When I think about the Roaring 20s, I think about the celebration of Black joy, Black excellence and Black existence. We are living, thriving and just simply, being. I am very proud of the way The Orchard honored this theme through our events produced by the U.S. and UK offices and our social campaign highlighting Black-owned businesses and creators.”

SMG’s Executive Vice President of Philanthropy and Social Justice, Towalame Austin, said the Roaring 20s theme inspired a sense of reflection: “This year’s theme inspired me to reflect on Black people’s history of influencing culture. Our community has driven societal change in education, music, and social impact (to name a few), and the past couple years’ events have been no different.”

The Power of Design: Bringing SMG’s BHM Theme to Life

Visually, the theme was brought to life with vibrant colors and photographs arranged in a quilt-like pattern, to symbolize the centering of community within Black culture and the intersectional layers of the Black experience and identity. From producing art to rallying in concert crowds, the photos reflect the idea of Black communities driving creative industries forward. Arranging these photographs in “‘22” speaks to the new era and decade, and emphasizes how Black communities, creatives, and innovators are quite literally shaping the future of culture.

Fun Fact: Josh Cheuse, Sony Music’s Corporate Communications Creative Director, captured the featured photos in the ‘80s. “When trying to embody Black creativity and innovation in the creative for Black History Month I thought of photographs I’d taken during the beginning of hip hop in the ‘80s and how people’s style was so original and music was incredibly innovative,” explains Cheuse. “Then I combined that with more recent images of activism in the BIPOC community and the new wave of creativity that has been made more accessible with new technology.”

Highlighting Black Innovators: Sony Music Internal Events and Activities

Throughout the month, there were a variety of events and activities within Sony and Sony Music, focused on recognizing, supporting, and advancing Black creativity and innovation, and paying homage to the Black creators, innovators, and changemakers who foster community and shape culture across industries and around the world.

Featured event participants ranged from senior executives within Sony Music Group, to young professionals on the rise and external leaders within the entertainment industry. Listen in:

We touched on topics from insights and experiences as Black creatives in podcasting, to the importance of buying from Black-owned and -led companies, to the ways in which Black creatives are making strides in technology, politics, and entertainment.

We’d like to give a special shoutout to all the folks who helped make Black History Month at Sony Music a true celebration of community, creativity, and innovation—especially the individuals who work outside of Sony Music and lent their time during these events:

  • Afika Nxumalo, Songwriter and Mixed Media Creative
  • Amanda Ichite, Public Relations Manager at Aini Organix
  • Brittney Winbush, Founder/CEO of Alexandra Winbush
  • Jay Ellis, Actor, Writer, Producer and Director
  • Jayson P. Smith, Interdisciplinary Artist
  • Kelvin Jones, British-Zimbabwean Songwriter
  • Dr. Kristin Edwards, Founder of BLK + GRN
  • Misla Tesfamariam, Artist Manager
  • Muna AnNisa Aikins, Social Scientist, Lecturer, Author
  • Oyemi Hessou, Bassist, Singer, Songwriter
  • Toni Wilson, Media & Communications at Cafe con Libros
  • Tourmaline, Artist & Activist
  • Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Co-President of The Recording Academy

And, a big bouquet of roses goes to HUE (Helping Unite Everyone) U.S. and HUE Germany, a Talent Advisory Group at Sony, for spearheading several dynamic Black History events and serving as a consistent internal partner to SMG’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Looking Ahead

As we wrap up Black History Month 2022, we are excited to be supporters—in big ways and small—in the continuation and preservation of Black creativity and innovation in music, movies, video games and more.

  • Partnership Between Sony Music Group and Dream Corps JUSTICE Contributes to Significant Milestones in Criminal Justice Reform
  • Feb 16

Organization Announces First-Ever Empathy Network Leadership Cohort 

Supported by Sony Music Group and Van Jones 

Today, Dream Corps JUSTICE recognized that it received a $500,000 donation from the Sony Music Group Global Social Justice Fund. As a recipient, Dream Corps developed an advocacy training cohort program, spanning 17 states, and was based on teaching organizing tools that Dream Corps JUSTICE used to lead passage of the First Step Act in 2018 and pass bipartisan criminal justice legislation in states across the country.

Within the program, twenty formerly incarcerated and justice-impacted individuals were given a six-month training program to develop organizing, legislative, campaign, and media literacy skills. As a result of the advocacy cohort, participants have already become nonprofit leaders, media spokespersons, and leaders of grassroots advocacy campaigns that reimagine justice, create alternatives to mass incarceration and make communities safer.

Additional milestones achieved as a result of the Sony Music Group donation include:

All of Dream Corps JUSTICE’s campaigns are led by people who have been impacted by the justice system and lived through criminal justice issues. Dream Corps operates on the belief that the people most harmed by our country’s legal system are uniquely qualified to create and champion the solutions that will begin to transform it.  Dream Corp is launching a second year of the Empathy Network Advocacy Cohort.  Applications for 2022 open in March.

Today’s graduation (February 16, 2022) of the Empathy Network Advocacy Cohort graduation will take place on Zoom at 7:00pm ET. Participants will be celebrated by friends and family members, along with Dream Corps founder Van Jones and leadership from Dream Corps and Sony Music Group.

Van Jones, founder of Dream Corps, said: “America’s criminal justice costs too much, hurts too many, and doesn’t do enough to keep us safe. Fixing it is a mammoth task. To do it, we’ll need darers, dreamers, and doers. Sony Music Group dared to invest in formerly incarcerated people, Dream Corps dreamed of putting them at the center of solutions-based work, and today’s graduates stepped up to do the task. Now, thanks to this collaboration, they have the skills to equal their insight and are poised to help transform criminal justice in this country.”

“At Sony Music Group, we are committed to supporting efforts that drive social and racial justice initiatives around the world and are honored to partner with Van and Dream Corp JUSTICE to bring such an impactful and results-driven program to local communities,” said Towalame Austin, Executive Vice President of Philanthropy and Social Impact, Sony Music Group. “The program not only aligns with our criminal justice reform pillar from our Global Social Justice Fund, but also allows us to connect with individuals who have turned their personal hardships into transformative and empowering opportunities.”

Detroit resident Kenneth Nixon, a cohort member and President of the Organization of Exonerees, was recently exonerated after spending almost 16 years in prison for a crime that he did not commit. “I’m fresh out of a prison cell. I didn’t know anything about forming a nonprofit, sending out mass emails, or being able to collect data on your supporters. But learning it allowed me to take my organization to the next level,” he said. Just last month, Nixon formed a nonprofit organization to help other wrongly imprisoned people find freedom. “I would personally like to say thank you, Sony Music Group. The Organization of Exonerees wouldn’t be what it is without the training provided by this cohort.”

  • Local Impact Reports: SME Brazil Social Justice Task Force On Making a Difference
  • Feb 11

Today, as part of our Local Impact Reports series—which highlights Global Task Forces around the world that are working together to impact local communities with support from the Global Social Justice Fund (GSJF)—we connected with Bruna Araujo, People Experience Manager for SME Brazil to learn more about the team’s impact in the region.

For Araujo, getting involved with the task force was a very natural process. Since the start of the fund, “several initiatives and partnerships have been developed to promote social change,” said Araujo. “We live in a country that suffers from great social disparities and structural racism, where thousands of people are deprived of basic access – especially within the education and employment space. Therefore, when the GSJF was created, we were proud to expand on our efforts to help more local organizations have a lasting impact in our community.”

So where did the team start? Since the beginning of 2021, Araujo and the team worked closely with a consultant dedicated to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) to advance internal training programs including reviewing internal policies and furthering collaboration and partnerships with community organizations committed to ethnic-racial issues around the country. Externally, the team continues to work closely with Redes da Maré, a local organization dedicated to developing programs to increase quality of life and protect civil rights for the population of Maré. In speaking with Joelma Souza, Head of Project Development Management, Redes da Maré, Sony Music’s support “enabled the purchase and delivery of 450 food baskets and personal hygiene kits to 450 families in Maré – directly to their homes – and continue to benefit nearly 1,4000 Maré residents.” Of the relationship, Araujo said “this is definitely one partnership that we are most proud of and hope to keep supporting even more in the coming years.”

As the team continues to work with the local community, their mission is to drive towards building a just society for all. “Our main goal now is to direct all future resources from the Global Social Justice Fund toward actions that not only promote financial support for education programs designed for historically marginalized communities, but also keep engaging SME employees to act as mentors for young people who wish to join the music industry. With constant support from the GSJF, we have the possibility to build projects that connect within our office and within our community. We’re excited for what is to come,” said Araujo.

  • Local Impact Reports: SME Mexico Social Justice Task Force On Making a Difference
  • Feb 08

In 2020, Sony Music Group (SMG) announced the creation of a $100 million Global Social Justice Fund (GSJF), dedicated to supporting social justice and anti-racist initiatives around the world. The GSJF’s mission is to meaningfully support well-established community organizations that directly impact vulnerable and historically excluded populations around the world. The fund’s portfolio, on track to connect with nearly 400 organizations, covers a variety of non-profit partners serving communities globally.

Towalame Austin, Executive Vice President of Philanthropy and Social Impact, alongside her team, has worked diligently since its inception nearly two years ago to drive the Fund forward and out into the world. Through both monetary and action-based programs, Austin and her team have developed authentic partnerships that have impacted communities worldwide.

We spoke to our SME Mexico Social Justice Fund Task Force to learn more about how they’re working with local communities and grassroots organizations to help tackle social injustice across the country. 

Jorge Luis Martinez, Director of People Experience (Human Resources), is responsible for attracting the best talent and helping them grow to be the future leaders of SME Mexico, and he also oversees social justice initiatives in the country.

“For many years, I have been interested in personally participating in community support programs,” says Martinez, when reflecting on first getting involved. “In fact, before I was in the HR department, I used to organize donations for poor, indigenous children on January 6 of each year. That is the Wise Men Day, where traditionally, children receive toys and blankets for the winter. After many years of searching for my personal purpose, I found that it’s to help people. It makes me deeply happy to actively participate in causes with a sense of social help.”

After many years of searching for my personal purpose, I found that it’s to help people. It makes me deeply happy to actively participate in causes with a sense of social help.”

Jorge Luis Martinez, Director of People Experience (Human Resources)

What are the task force’s goals? Overall, they’re committed to action that ensures SMG supports society in Mexico in a sustainable way. “We seek how—through music—people can access a better world. For example, how music can help children in extreme poverty not to engage in activities that are harmful to society or help them grow as people and as good citizens,” said Martinez.

How does the task force collectively decide which organizations to partner with and donate to? It’s a careful and thoughtful process.

“In Mexico there is a lot of poverty and it is not difficult to find someone to help. There are so many organizations, the difficult thing is to choose which foundations to work with. A key focus for us is that the help reaches people in need directly, without intermediaries, and that the foundation is, of course, a legal foundation. We go directly to the locality where the donation is made to make sure that people in most need are receiving the help. In addition, this hands-on approach gives us huge satisfaction as we have the opportunity to spend time with people and learn from them, in the environment in which they live. Thanks to this, we’ve been fortunate to spend time to learn from a diverse range of those in need, including orphans, indigenous people, people with addictions or older adults, and others. It has been very gratifying for all of us involved in the Social Justice Fund,” said Martinez.

There is always more work to be done, but since the GSJF went live, SME Mexico has donated toys and blankets to indigenous children, supported the Fondo Guadalupe Musalem, provided pantry donations to elderly communities, volunteered to restore forests, and more.

When speaking of the partnership, Rocio Blancas, Coordinator for Fondo Guadalupe Musalem confirmed the funds from the Global Social Justice Fund allowed the organization to continue programs for young women from rural, indigenous or Afro-Mexican communities in Oaxaca. “In 2021, 271 scholars were able to continue their studies – including 50 young women to directly support their families and communities,” said Blancas. For scholars, this meant providing decent conditions for their stay with food supplies to allow for the further development of their studies.

Looking ahead, SME Mexico continues in its mission to drive social justice change. “We hope that the GSJF is valuable in empowering our employees to help our local community,” said Martinez. “We have high expectations that this will be an avalanche of good actions that will in turn lead to better ones, building a deep-rooted culture of responsibility and inclusion that benefits everyone.”

Related:
Latest Round of Funding from Sony Music UK Social Justice Fund Focuses On Mental Health and Racism
Seven New Beneficiaries Announced for Sony Music UK’s Social Justice Fund
A Conversation With Towalame Austin, Sony Music Group’s Executive Vice President of Philanthropy and Social Impact

  • In the News: Sony Music’s Journey to Greater Diversity
  • Jan 13

In this third interview in a series behind-the-scenes at Sony Music Group, Martin Staudigl, Vice President People Experience (HR) at Sony Entertainment in Germany, shares with Alan Hosking what is being done to eliminate bias in the hiring process.

Alan Hosking: How have you been getting diverse employees on board at Sony Music without using bias in the selection process?

Martin Staudigl: We launched a program this year which has a comprehensive selection method, and our approach was very different. We said to ourselves that we need more young, diverse people on board, and we want to give them a certain experience.

Sony has managers who have been with the company for many years, so we wanted to think out of the box. We promoted the programme through the national media. Our message was that we do not want a CV, we do not want a resumé and we do not even want your identity in the first stage of the process.

What we requested was a video or something creative, telling us why the applicant would want to work with Sony Music. We wanted them to tell us about their passion, their “idea”, what their contribution could be. The amazing thing is we got about 300 applications, which was a lot for us! And we were really very happy and surprised by how much creative input we received. We had established a website for applicants to upload their videos, and selection was only based on the creative input of these videos. We therefore didn’t know who was behind the scenes until later in the game, when applicants had to reveal their identities. So that’s how we managed to exclude initial bias!

AH: What kind of people applied?

MS: We received applications from people aged 50 and over, and from people all over the world. Originally, we had decided we wanted to fill two positions, but we increased that to three because we got so many good applications. After the initial video, the applicants had to do another comprehensive case study, which was also fun to do. It was in essence an online assessment.

From the group of applicants, we then selected one experienced male and we selected a very young, inexperienced female. The male applicant already had his own network of artists, which also helped as we didn’t have to get new artists on board for him. While the young female was very inexperienced, she had amazing passion.

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