Women of HR’s Lilith Fair

I am a huge fan of Sarah McLachlan. She’s a brilliant musician and entrepreneur.

That’s right, e-n-t-r-e-p-r-e-n-e-u-r.

You see, Sarah figured out that if we stopped making the music business competitive, and instead collaborative, there would be far more female musicians out there that would have their shot at real success. She pushed to create all-female led-band concerts.

And Lilith Fair was born.

The statistics on Lilith Fair’s success are astounding when you realize that nothing like it existed before. In the 1990s, the Lilith Fair concert series earned more than $16M in ticket sales. The concert was sold out in virtually every city where it was booked. It was girl-power extraordinaire.

In the years following the Lilith Fair tour, we saw many more female musicians in airplay. Their music was softer, harder, richer and gutsier than ever. Men showed up. The riffs are more complicated now. The lyrics cover more diverse subjects. The music has taken us beyond Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell and Helen Reddy.

In our profession, WOHR is our Lilith Fair. It is incredibly cool to have a space where women (and men) celebrate our profession in a collaborative fashion, without it being all gooey.

That isn’t to say that women have experienced challenges in our profession, in fact we dominate the profession, but it is to say that we are at the stage where we can now influence our profession by celebrating who we really are. It is no longer about towing the company line. It is no longer about crafting a dated message. It is about putting a human touch on human resources.

When I made my first post on WOHR a couple of months ago, I was overwhelmed by the positive feedback. I realized that I was not the only HR Pro who enjoyed muscle cars, college football, baking and puppies. The experienced fueled a growing list of things to blog about.

And, I can write about all sorts of subjects without feeling like I need to put on my business jacket with the extra-wide shoulder pads.

Even more significant, I found a whole lot of great HR Pros to follow and support.

Sarah McLachlan’s career skyrocketed during Lilith Fair and she has earned a place among music’s elite. The same is true for many of the other artists on the tour.

If we all continue to collaborate, won’t the same thing happen here too?

Photo Credit, People Magazine, July 19, 2010, via Lilith

About the Author

Bonni Titgemeyer

Bonni Titgemeyer is the Managing Director of The Employers’ Choice Inc. She has been in human resources for 20+ years and works in the international HR arena. She is the recipient of the 2012 Toronto Star HR Professional of the Year Award. You can connect with Bonni on Twitter as @BonniToronto, often at the hashtag #TEPHR.


Janet Helm

Kudos Bonni.
A great example on how when we collaborate- we all win so much bigger than
doin’ it alone, not to mention the fun, friendship and knowledge we experience along the journey together.

Dwane Lay

Once, long long ago, I worked in the auto parts business. And I thought it was very interesting that the repair shops I worked with did not see each other as competition, but instead networked informally, shared information and sometimes even parts. When I asked why, the answer I got was very simple.

“There’s plenty of work to go around. We don’t need to fight each other for it. This way, everyone gets wins, including the customers.”

Same spirit as this post, I think. Collaboration serves all of us, not the least of which is the end user. We could all use a little more. Or a lot more.


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