March 8, 2024 – Several years ago I entered into the venue and entertainment business which was predominantly run by older males. Now the tides are turning in this industry. Several of our venues are led by strong and passionate women leaders. Many of the artist touring or management companies have kick ass women leaders at the helm including Live Nation, Oak View Group, and many venues around the world. It’s continually inspiring to see the changing face of leadership in this industry. And this year, with the theme for IWD to “Inspire Inclusion”, I wanted to talk about the importance of women not only in leadership roles in venues, but as brilliant artists, musicians, event organizers and all those behind the scenes that make this crazy live event world run so smoothly. Because it really does take all three of these groups feeling confident and inspired in this industry to make the greatest impact.

I like to think of the venue and live event world as a 3-legged stool…and if ANY ONE of those legs are off balance, the stool is less able to support the weight of its user.

Leg 1: The performers and artists on our stage. We have worked hard at TCU Place to ensure diversity and inclusion on our stage and off. We want to showcase incredible talent of all kinds, and it is important that we offer great opportunities for women performers to shine a light on young female audiences as they are dreaming of and planning for their future. Artists like Feist who brought the house down a few weeks ago, and Chelsey Handler who humanized masturbation and healthy sexuality, and Chantal Kreviazuk who will be supporting an important cause in the coming weeks as part of the Neomi Wellness Fundraiser. We will also feature Candace Bushnell from Sex and the City at the Silver Spoon Dinner on May 6th. Who wouldn’t want to meet the real life Carrie Bradshaw? We have a wonderful opportunity to showcase these incredible women artists right here in our building, and I couldn’t be prouder.

Leg 2: Thousands of hours are devoted every year to many organizations in Saskatoon that raise money for important causes in our community. While it is not exclusively women – many of these organizations and committees are women-centric. And they really do make our community run. They devote time, talent, innovation, and heart to make these events run, impacting our community in the most heartwarming way. We secure the second leg of our stool in your honour.

Leg 3: I mentioned earlier that the tides are turning, and many key roles in our industry are now led by women. In our building alone about 75% of the leadership roles are held by women. The event planners are ALL women. Those that primarily work with our clients and make our events shine are women. These women support the ecosystem allowing other women to shine on our stage and in our conference rooms. To these women…this is likely the strongest leg – and the one I am reminded of every single day as the support we need to bring people together in this industry.

So, on this International Women’s Day, we encourage you to reflect on those that inspire you to dig deep and let your light shine. I am reminded every day of those that help my light to shine and I could not be more grateful. On the stage or off, in the trenches and in the crowd – we are here to make our world a better place. Let’s celebrate that together shall we!

Tammy Sweeney, CEO
TCU Place – Saskatoon’s Arts & Convention Centre