Breaking the Jazz Week Charts - Top 25 for six consecutive weeks and the Year End Jazz Week Top 100 for 2018, Lauren Henderson’s music resonates with listeners in the US and abroad. Her recent album, Alma Oscura, was released through her label, Brontosaurus Records. Lauren’s work as a CEO and artist was enhanced through the IE Brown Executive MBA and is discussed in the Financial Times.
With a voice described by The New York Times as "somewhere between a comforting whisper and a cogent declaration," Henderson's eclectic vocal influences are spread across genres, producing a distinct yet versatile sound. Her original music has been featured in The Drowning and El Juego de lo Llaves. Henderson has performed in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Mexico and South Africa, living up to her growing reputation as a "vibrant new star singer" - Downbeat Magazine.
Her compositions paint stories reflecting journeys imposed through the African Diaspora in connection to Henderson's Panamanian, Montserratian, and vast Caribbean roots as they interplay with her North American upbringing.
WHAT WAS YOUR DREAM JOB AS A CHILD?
As a child, I knew I had a passion for the entertainment industry and the arts. But I also dreamed of being a professional ballet dancer, a visual artist, a dentist and a psychologist. Although music was a deep passion of mine, I was extremely shy and uncertain of my ability, so I thought it would be unrealistic to pursue a career in music.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT BARRIER TO FEMALE LEADERSHIP?
I often find that I am forced to prove my knowledge, skill and ability while being evaluated, judged and stereotyped based on my appearance. Sadly, I think many female leaders face this barrier. I have been asked if I composed my original music “all by myself,” knowing very well that my male colleagues would never be asked the same question if in my position.
WHAT WOMAN INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?
I find inspiration from diverse women in an array of professions, but it’s my mother who continues to inspire me to be strong, diligent, determined and informed. She has had a very successful career in business and finance, yet she also has an appreciation for the arts. Her steadfast commitment to me, my father and her career is truly inspirational.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF WOMEN?
I have great hope for the generation of women that will come after me. I believe that all generations must find their voice and purpose. As they discover who they are and what is important to them, they will be able to navigate life’s challenges with confidence and certainty.
DEFINE YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE IE BROWN EXECUTIVE MBA USING ONE WORD.
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU THINK THE IE BROWN EXECUTIVE MBA HAS CHANGED YOUR LIFE, PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY?
The IE Brown Executive MBA has expanded my horizons in multiple ways. By empowering me with a wealth of knowledge, the program has given me a versatile skill set and powerful tools that help me navigate the music industry. I feel more confident. My approach to business is more efficient and effective. The program has developed and enhanced my ability to reach a global audience both on and off the stage.
HOW DID YOU ACHIEVE A WORK-LIFE-STUDY BALANCE DURING THE IE BROWN EXECUTIVE MBA?
It was initially challenging for me to find this balance, but I believe that where there is a will, there is a way. Communicating with my colleagues, band members, classmates and family effectively helped me achieve this.
HOW DID YOU MOTIVATE YOURSELF?
I felt extremely honored and excited to be accepted into this program. I was motivated to learn everything I could from my classmates and professors who were all major sources of inspiration—I consistently felt supported by them. Although the program is demanding, you are not alone, and together we are stronger.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO APPLY FOR THE IE BROWN EXECUTIVE MBA PROGRAM?
As a professional jazz and Latin jazz vocalist, I wanted to be properly equipped to navigate a rapidly growing and constantly changing industry. It was imperative to me to have a strong understanding of the music industry and its many facets. After dealing with different labels that did not always have my best interest, I decided to start my own record label, Brontosaurus Records. My mission is to empower and encourage fellow musicians to understand their worth and efficiently express and achieve what they need in all aspects of business.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU TOOK FROM THE PROGRAM?
The biggest lesson I took from the program was to learn how to trust myself and my ability. We are capable of more than we give ourselves credit for.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO STUDENTS WHO ARE ABOUT TO BEGIN THE PROGRAM?
I would tell them to commit to keeping their minds open. Each professor has a unique approach that can benefit people across diverse industries. The program is extraordinary because it brings together talented, interesting and inspiring people from diverse backgrounds. Learn as much as possible from your fellow classmates.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY OF THE IE BROWN EXECUTIVE MBA SO FAR?
The in-person sessions were my favorite by far. Although there is a lot of work and the schedule is quite demanding, it was an opportunity for me to connect with my classmates. Now I have lifelong friendships and access to the beautiful IE Brown Community.
WHAT IS NETWORKING LIKE IN THE IE BROWN EXECUTIVE MBA?
One of the best parts of the program is how easy it is to network. We all want to make connections and support each other throughout our careers. There are countless resources available to us that facilitate networking.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STUDY THE IE BROWN EXECUTIVE MBA?
This program was perfect for me. As a professional jazz and Latin jazz vocalist, as well as the owner of a record label, I found it beneficial to understand global markets and business practices. Because this program calls upon many different resources, it was very helpful for me as I navigate my industry in different parts of the world. Additionally, both universities have world-class resources and educators, which greatly appealed to me.
WHAT ARE THE RESIDENTIAL WEEKS LIKE? WHAT ARE THE ONLINE PERIODS LIKE?
Both the residential weeks and the online periods are challenging but extremely enriching. The residential weeks are excellent for students who thrive in classroom settings and who are open to learning from their peers. Much of the same is achieved online, but I also feel that the online sessions demand advanced organization and planning as you incorporate coursework into your career and personal life. This is a valuable tool to develop.
WHAT IS THE UNIQUE DIFFERENTIATION OF THIS PROGRAM?
It’s very hard to find a strong program, created by two of the best schools in the world, that provides a unique yet effective approach to learning and lends a world-class education across three different continents.
HOW DOES THE PROGRAM BRING TOGETHER BUSINESS AND HUMANITIES?
The eclectic courses are carefully designed to bring business and the humanities together. This was what really drew me to the program. I also think it gives students the opportunity to share their expertise within their field or related fields, bringing the information we learn to life and giving it new meaning. Each graduating class is comprised of brilliant and diverse professionals. I was fortunate enough to learn a great deal from all of my classmates and professors.
IF YOU HAD TO START THE PROGRAM OVER, KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
Nothing. I always tried my best and I learned a great deal. Connecting with my classmates was essential and I continue to learn from them daily.