Read as Michele Rhea Caplinger talks about her career as Senior Executive Director of The Recording Academy.  Find her at http://www.grammy365.com/chapters/atlanta-chapter

What do you do for a living?

Senior Executive Director – The Recording Academy ®, Atlanta Chapter since 2000.

How would you describe what you do?

The Recording Academy is a member based organization comprised of musicians, singers/songwriters, producers/engineers and music industry professionals. Everything I am charged with doing is based on serving our members.

What does your work entail?

My job entails varying facets, but in a nutshell: I produce GRAMMY Professional Development events for our members year round. I also secure the sponsorship dollars to underwrite the 12 events we produce each year. I am responsible for making our music community aware of our organizations initiatives, identifying eligible potential members for our organization and retaining the ones we currently have. I run a 35 person Board of Governors that is elected in by our membership and oversee the Chapters committees as well. I am the spokesperson for this particular Chapter and find myself acting as the Chapters publicist, as well. My job also includes interfacing and working with each department within our organization, Members Services, Awards, Advocacy, and our GRAMMY and MusiCares Foundations, etc ….

What’s a typical work week like?

Back to back meetings, conference calls, committee or board meetings … meeting with artists, musicians, producers and music business professionals … speaking to students and so on … attending music industry events, seeing shows … managing an office.

How did you get started?

I was in alternative rock bands in the 80’s and 90’s while I did PR and booked talent for cutting edge nightclubs. A big time concert promoter/artist mgr. hired me right out of a club and taught me BIG PICTURE music industry business .. I credit him for believing in me, giving me a chance and teaching me the biz. That man is Charlie Brusco and he runs Red Light Management Atlanta now …

What do you like about what you do?

I like being a part of an organization with global recognition and such illustrious celebrated appeal. EVERYBODY knows The GRAMMY’s, hard not to ‘like’ that. But most people don’t know the great work The Recording Academy does year round however … our Advocacy work, our GRAMMY professional development, MusiCares, etc. That’s what I like the most …

What I LOVE the most about what I do is being around creative people the majority of the time. Being around amazing talent who are so passionate about their art is infectious and inspiring …. It’s exciting to be around them before they hit the ‘big time’ …

What do you dislike?

I dislike these things:
1) Being around incredible talent who will never make it in this business

2) Being around people who think they are talented (but are not) and will never make it in this business

3) Being around people who have mediocre talent and have made it in this business

I’m not sure I know which is worse to be around …

I can also say it’s hard to like the egos and attitudes that come with this industry. More often than not – it’s the handlers around the artists that have the ego, not always the artist themselves.

How do you make money/or how are you compensated?

I’m a salaried employee of The Recording Academy.

How much do people in your field/career make?

NO CLUE – it varies market to market and based on the expertise you bring to the position (and how well you negotiate) would determine the salary range.

How much money did/do you make starting out?

(Never ask a lady her age, weight or how much money she makes … ha!) I actually can’t remember … let’s just say I made far less than what I spent.

What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?

Colleges who offer Music Business programs, certificates and degrees would certainly better prepare you and give you an edge in this business, but it is not mandatory …

What is most challenging about what you do?

Raising sponsorship dollars in a compromised economy.

What is most rewarding?

Securing sponsorship dollars in a compromised economy (regardless).

No, no – while that IS rewarding, the most rewarding aspect of this job are the relationships you make over the years …

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

Learn everything you can about this industry – go to college for this, if you can. Do internships – work HARD, BE NICE, lose the attitude and sense of entitlement. Just be willing to learn and have a positive attitude!

Remember there is a line of people waiting to work in this industry twice as hard for half the pay….

How much time off do you get/take?

I’m given 4 weeks paid vacation time a year – but have not been able to take that much time off due to the workload yet …

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

That you actually work hard and have to be accountable. It’s not a party …

What are your goals/dreams for the future?

Be careful what you wish for in life …sometimes you actually might get it, be ready.

My goals? (with that thought in mind ..) is to find the perfect balance between career and personal life, it’s harder than you think… I’m still trying.

What else would you like people to know about your job/career?

That I did not design this path and that I have been extremely fortunate to be led this way none the less. The advantages young people have today are endless however – it’s all opportunity the way I see it. In an ever changing music industry model, you can write your own ticket on how to be successful …. Dare to color outside the lines, that’s really what we’re all looking for ….do something different !!! and GOOD LUCK!