HERstory is not just for the month of March, but all year. We must continue to uplift and amplify Black women's stories as they climb corporate ladders and set historical records and trends. ASCAP's Senior Vice President of Membership, and Executive Director of The ASCAP Foundation, Nicole George-Middleton, is a multi-year honoree on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players list. Known for her big heart and deep connections within the industry, she's helping foster diversity for the next generation of music scholars.
Like many women in positions of power, she also juggles being a mom, wife, and so much more. EBONY recently had the opportunity to chat with George-Middleton about her rise into the music industry as well as what an average day is like for her as an executive.
EBONY: What does your current role at ASCAP entail? Walk us through an average workday.
Nicole George-Middleton: An average workday for me varies, as it is important for me to incorporate a unique balance of both my professional and personal life, so that I can be most efficient. I also love to empower my staff to be independent and proactive. I am fortunate to have an amazing team of talented professionals. We all share the same goal—to support the careers of the ASCAP songwriters we represent and to help them succeed.
My day begins with getting my children ready and off to school—which alone requires me to be extremely organized in multitasking. Then, I dive right into a day full of meetings and calls with my team, songwriters, representatives and fellow executives and staff. I return phone calls, provide and receive updates on upcoming ASCAP events and on extended workdays, my schedule may include late meetings with senior management and attending industry events.
Tell us about your decision to transition from law to the entertainment/ music industry.
I have always had a passion for music, but I started tapping into the industry during my first year of law school, where I secured what many would call a “rare” entertainment internship at Arista Records. I worked extremely hard as an intern and spent the majority of my free time at Arista trying to gain as much knowledge about the industry as possible, all while fostering a new network of connections. After I graduated from law school, I held multiple jobs in the industry, including working as an entertainment lawyer at The Middleton Law Group PC. Then I took on the role of Director of Business and Legal Affairs at Jive Records, and ultimately landed at ASCAP. I have always worked hard to support and protect music artists.
How are you using this role and your influence to increase or foster diversity for the next generation?
Being a woman of color in a male-dominated industry, is always top of mind to me as I enter rooms, participate on panels/conversations and execute and implement events. In my role as SVP of Membership, my team and I are constantly searching for ways to encourage and foster cross-genre collaborations. I am also proud to have helped ASCAP launch our paid summer internship program, ASCAP ASPIRE, for students who are enrolled at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. When I was appointed as the Executive Director of The ASCAP Foundation, I had an increased motivation to help expand on its efforts to foster diversity and inclusion for our next generation of music creators. Last year, The Foundation introduced a number of diversity initiatives, including our HBCU Scholarship program to help provide financial assistance for students attending HBCUs with an interest in pursuing a career in music, and also our Tu Música scholarship for students of Latin descent who are studying music.
What's a mantra, quote or affirmation that empowers you?
A great quote that empowers me is "Being challenged in life in inevitable, being defeated is optional," by Roger Crawford. Such subtle yet powerful words because you are the captain of your ship, and we have to be reminded that we will always be challenged, but encourage ourselves to stay on the path to achieve our goals, our dreams. While wearing so many hats, it can be easy for me to lose track of who Nicole George-Middleton is and what my aspirations are, but I am definitely providing the best version of myself in all facets of my life.