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Since Berklee Valencia opened its doors in 2012, the institution has been faithful to the inclusive corporate culture that characterizes it, where principles such as parity and equal opportunities are always present among its staff and students. A reflection of this is the fact that women make up well over half of the leadership positions at Berklee Valencia.
As a center of excellence in contemporary music and performing arts, Berklee seeks to transform education and provide its students with the necessary resources to make the world a better place. In order to achieve this, Berklee strives to build an inclusive culture that promotes diversity in all its forms and supports the growth of the world's most talented artists, producers, engineers, composers, and managers in music to make them truly aware of their potential. Moreover, Berklee fosters connections between different artistic disciplines, musical traditions, technologies, and institutions to create a dynamic global network that promotes innovation, collaboration, and diversity.
María Martínez Iturriaga, executive director of the Berklee campus in Valencia, joined the institution 15 years ago to design the first Berklee campus outside the United States. Since then, she has worked to implement the institution's first graduate and study abroad programs, growing the campus from 26 students to more than 3,300 today. Recently, she brought to fruition Berklee's agreement to remain at the Ciutat de les Arts y les Ciències for at least 20 more years, with the option to stay for another 20.
Martínez Iturriaga has held the position of executive director of Berklee Valencia since 2016. In addition, in 2022 she was appointed vice president of international environments at Berklee, becoming the first Spanish person to hold one of the institution's vice presidencies. In her new position, besides managing the Valencia campus and the Berklee center in Abu Dhabi, she also oversees Berklee's international strategy and works on developing new initiatives to expand the institution's mission and its impact abroad.
Working closely with her is Simone Pilon, the campus's dean of academic affairs. A member of the executive team, she plays a key role in Berklee Valencia's academic strategy. Pilon oversees the undergraduate and graduate programs, the faculty, the academic and production technology department, academic planning and services, the library, and the documentary archive.
Besides Martínez Iturriaga and Pilon, who hold two key management positions, 65 percent of the management team is made up of women. Andrea Almeida (Director of Technology), Clara Barberà (head of students, diversity, and inclusion), Stine Glismand (head of careers and opportunities), Katie Irwin (head of study abroad and special programs), Olga Román (director of the current music interpretation program), and Pilar Vicente (admissions director) complete the Berklee Valencia management team. It is a team that exercises its leadership with reflection, empathy, courage, and above all, with the firm notion that we all have the responsibility to create a space of respect and understanding in our environment, and that we must work every day to break the gender gap that exists in the music and entertainment industry.
Fostering diversity and equality in the music industry is one of the main objectives of Berklee’s campus in Valencia in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Being aware of the aforementioned gender gap in the sector, especially in the areas of music production, engineering, and soundtrack composition, the institution annually promotes and supports projects that seek to inspire the next generations of women.
Within this area alone, a significant number of initiatives have been carried out, among which we find:
In addition, Berklee Valencia works tirelessly to attract new female talent and create connections with other women, professionals, and leaders in the fields of performance, film scoring, music production, or business management in the industry of entertainment. These women come every year to share their knowledge with the students.
Along these lines, Berklee Valencia created the Outstanding Women Scholarship Program, which aims to support the musical and leadership development of women in the music industry by covering up to 70 percent of the master’s degree’s tuition fee and offering a series of mentoring sessions with an expert in the sector.
Some of the mentors who have participated in the program include Yvette Noel-Schure, the highly regarded music industry publicist and vice president of Schure Media Group -known for working with clients such as Beyoncé; Susan Rogers, music producer and sound engineer, who has worked with artists including Prince; singer-songwriter and producer Magda Giannikou; Rachel Portman, who was the first songwriter to win an Oscar for scoring the movie Emma, in 1996; Sylvia Massy, celebrated record producer, sound engineer, and educator known for her work with Johnny Cash, System of a Down, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
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