Dawn Birr is the Global Commercial Manager, Audio Recording at Sennheiser & Neumann. Dawn has spent the last 17 years with Sennheiser and worked her way up, starting out as a temporary receptionist. Dawn has held several titles within in Sennheiser & Neumann; Product Manager, RF Product Manager of our 3/5K series, Channel Manager for Installed Sound, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Installed Sound in the U.S., and in between Sennheiser encouraged her to obtain an MBA.
Dawn always wanted to work in the music industry and says she “was obsessed with it growing up, but as a teenager or young adult, I really didn’t have any idea the real scope of the music/audio business. It’s a very diverse and interesting business to be a part of, with many ways to contribute and still nurture your passion.”
Sennheiser became a good fit for Dawn as she learned about the company and the people, igniting a passion. It is not uncommon to find individuals who have been with Sennheiser for over 20 years, and they are strong mentors for people coming into the company. On top of that Sennheiser has been championing diversity within the company Dawn says that “Daniel Sennheiser and Andreas Sennheiser, have been strong supporters of diversity within our organization”. and that “Sennheiser’s culture is a positive and encouraging environment for women. I have great support from my peers and colleagues. Our leaders set the tone, and they firmly believe that diversity makes us a better company.”
Dawn was fortunate to have wonderful mentors both inside and outside Sennheiser. Dawn says that “Leslie Ann Jones has been both a mentor and friend to me since the first time we met. She’s been encouraging and honest with support and feedback whenever I’ve needed a check or balance”. In addition to Leslie, John Falcone was the U.S. President of Sennheiser when Dawn started, and she learned a lot from his examples. Falcone is now the Global Director of Sales and Dawn says “ I’ve also been allowed to learn from mistakes and grow from them under his leadership, especially in my early days. I have a lot of respect and admiration for both Leslie and John”.
Even with the nurturing environment at Sennheiser Dawn has faced adversity due to her gender and age“ In my earlier days I did have a few instances where I was questioned or called out (to my face) because of my gender. Luckily, it only happened a few times, and it helped me develop some thick skin. As I’ve gotten more mature both personally and professionally, it’s not been an issue.” Her advice to women in the audio industry is “Take every opportunity you can. You never know who you will meet now and then again meet later in your professional life. Believe in your skills and abilities, no matter how disingenuous that may feel in the moment or how loud the negative voice is inside your head. Find the people you admire and get to know them. Mentors will naturally come to you, and you to them, in many cases”.
Today Dawn loves that her job is different every day; she loves being a part of one project and then seeing the results on TV, in the studio, onstage. She says she “loves being able to talk about the history of our company and the products we’ve made that have changed the industry. I really love contributing to the success of our company”. Sennheiser has a range of new products that just debuted at NAMM; Sennheiser RF systems for live sound to exciting new studio monitors from Neumann. Dawn says Sennheiser is “spending a lot of time and focus on Immersive Audio and our AMBEO line of 3D products and services. We have two pop-up shops that will run through the end of March in NYC, and the focus is both on Consumer and Pro audio. They’ve allowed us to be present in the public space in a really interesting way, and show off our full range of products from studio to stage to personal use”.
SoundGirls.Org would like to thank Sennheiser and Neumann for their support. They are sponsors for our Live Sound Camps for Girls and recently hosted two Sound Academy RF & Wireless workshops in Los Angeles and New York, for our members. Dawn generously volunteered her time to part of our NAMM Mentoring session. Dawn encourages our members to contact her at Dawn.firstname.lastname@example.org for help and information with any Sennheiser & Neumann Products.