SoundGirls.Org was formed in 2013 by veteran live sound engineers Karrie Keyes and Michelle Sabolchick Pettinato and operates under the Fiscal Sponsorship of The California Women’s Music Festival, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
In 2012, Karrie and Michelle participated in the “Women of Professional Concert Sound” panel at the AES Conference in San Francisco. The panel was hosted by the Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) and moderated by WAM founder Terri Winston. Terri brought together five women working in live and broadcast audio. The groundbreaking panel (which also included Jeri Palumbo, Claudia Engelhart and Deanne Franklin), provided young women and men a glimpse into life on the road, tips and advice, and a Q & A with the panelists. More importantly though, was how incredibly powerful the experience was for the panelists. We had all been in the business for 20 years or more, yet most of us had never met before that day and within minutes we bonded like long-lost sisters. We were struck by how similar our experiences, work ethics, and passions were and wondered why our paths had never crossed and how our careers would have been different had we been there to support each other through the years. Each of us are strong on our own, but together we were even stronger and a powerful force. We were empowered. Each of us had been asked hundreds of times in our careers: Are there other women doing sound? How did you get into sound? How would a young woman go about getting into sound?
Through creating SoundGirls.Org, we hope to establish a place for women working in professional audio to come for support and advice, to share our success and failures, our joys and frustrations, and for empowerment and inspiration.
Hailing from Los Angeles, Karrie has spent the last 25 plus years as the monitor engineer for Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder. Karrie started out doing sound for punk bands in Los Angeles in 1986 under the tutelage of Dave Rat of Rat Sound, where she spent twenty years helping to establish the company. She was able to gain an immense amount of hands-on experience and technical knowledge at Rat, which eventually led to her becoming the monitor engineer for The Red Hot Chili Peppers from 1990-2000. She first met and started working with Pearl Jam who opened for RHCP on their 1991-1992 Blood Sugar Sex Magic Tour. She has worked with Sonic Youth, Fugazi, and Neil Young.
Tiffany is currently the head Sound Engineer at Delmar Hall in St. Louis and tours with the band “A Silent Film” doing FOH. She has been involved in sound professionally for around seven years, full-time about five. Tiffany became the co-director of SoundGirls.Org in August 2015. She also co-produces an annual invitational motorcycle showcase in St. Louis, MO – Cycle Showcase STL. When she gets some time – her other hobbies include crocheting scarves that never get finished, cross-stitching bad words onto things, learning to actually ride her motorcycle, and finally taking guitar lessons.
Tiffany experienced a lack of women working in live sound and until she discovered SoundGirls she could count the number of female sound techs she’d met in the previous five years on less than two hands. In addition she had never seen a woman behind the board at any show she had attended. She believes that if she’d had a group of like-minded women as mentors, she would have been so much more comfortable asking questions, experimenting more, and generally taking more chances.
Kirsty Gillmore is a sound designer, engineer and voice artist. Originally from New Zealand, Kirsty has been based in London, UK since 2002. Her 15 year career has seen her work in music production, post production, live sound and broadcasting, including eight years training with and working for the British Broadcasting Corporation. She established her own sound design & voice production business, Sounds Wilde, in 2010 and now works as a freelance sound designer for theatre and film, as a voice reel producer and voice artist. Read Kirsty’s Blog
Heather Dembert Rafter has been providing legal and business development services to the audio, music technology and digital media industry for over twenty-five years. As the principal counsel at RafterMarsh US, she leads the RM team in providing a wide variety of services to small and medium-sized companies. For fourteen years, she was the lead counsel for Digidesign, the audio division of Avid Technology.
Heather and RafterMarsh US supports pro bono a number of causes, including work for the American Bar Association, where Heather served as chair of the Section of Science and Technology Law and is serving, as an ABA presidential appointee, the Fund for Justice and Education. They also support entities focused on advancing women in music and sound, including Soundgirls.org, and by sponsoring the annual women’s luncheon at SF MusicTech Summit.
Gabriella grew up Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After she graduated from high school she moved to London to pursue a degree in Business and Management. She currently is attending UCLA where she studies marketing. Gabriella joined the SoundGirls team in February of 2017.
“Music is everything, and I feel very grateful to be a part of SoundGirls.Org, it means a great deal to be able to contribute to the music industry and empower women at the same time. In addition every single member I have met are not only incredibly nice and welcoming they are also beyond inspiring and drive me to be and do better.”