CMT's Leslie Fram on inequality, passion, and telling the full story
Meet Leslie Fram. You may know her as the Senior Vice President of Music Strategy for CMT or the woman behind so many of the country artists you know and love. She is constantly paving the way for unique talent in the music industry, but she specifically has a heart and passion to do so for women. Today, we’re chatting with her about inequality in the music industry, women who have shaped her life, and the importance of telling both sides of the story.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do professionally?
My amazing team and I touch everything that has to do with music and talent across all CMT platforms. From programming our video hours, working with our Hot 20 Team, CMT Award Shows, Crossroads, CMT Tours, and all of our music franchises from Next Women Of Country to Listen Up.
What motivates you to keep going in your life and career?
Passion for helping people succeed and finding their true voice.
Jessica Lichtenfield and Leslie Fram, Photo by Daniel Brown for CMT
What are ways you’ve experienced inequality in your field?
There is a tremendous lack of support for female artists and creators. It’s a ripple effect that started years ago and can paralyze a career. We are doing work in this area with CMT’s Next Women of Country and our recent launch of “Equal Play.” Women deserve an equal playing field.
What are the ways you choose to fight for inequality?
Be vocal, Be bold, Take risks, Be a champion.
Why is it important to have more women represented in your field?
Women tell the other side of the story. Don’t we want to hear both sides?
Despite improvements, many women still don’t hold positions of leadership in their respective fields. Why is that, do you think?
Years of gender stereotypes which have held women back. Perceptions are changing for the better when it comes to female leaders and the impact they can have in the world. A recent study sites “in both business and politics, majorities say women are better than men when it comes to being compassionate and empathetic, and substantial shares say women are better at working out compromises and standing up for what they believe in.”
What can be done to encourage more female leadership in the workplace?
You have to truly understand what women bring to the table and find opportunities to recruit more female leaders. Look within and research your own organization. You want your employees to see that gender equality exists and is important to the overall success of your business. Be accountable, encourage workshops, female speakers, or even a diversity task force.
Tracey Gershon, Leslie Fram, Beverly Keel, and Jada Watson, Photo by Daniel Brown for CMT
What advice would you give to someone experiencing inequality in their personal life or workplace?
It’s important to discuss this with your supervisor or human resources person. In your personal life, you should share this with a close friend, family member or outside counsel. It’s important to speak up for yourself and others around you.
In the spirit of International Women’s Day, who are women in your life who have shaped who you are today?
My mother was my guiding light. She passed away in 2003, but she taught me many life lessons like respecting myself and those around me, kindness, being grateful, and giving back. I keep a list of those going through tough times and try to make it a point to reach out with an encouraging word to let them know someone is thinking of them. Small gestures go a long way.