October 20, 2017


​​​Live Nation employees bring unforgettable music experiences to 70 million fans globally each year, and our employees and work culture drive our thriving business.  Since our company's staff is made up of people with a diverse range of backgrounds, we wanted to gain more insight into diversity at Live Nation and  what makes a great workplace culture. We caught up with Elizabeth Morrison, Live Nation's VP of Diversity & Inclusion, to learn more about growing D&I trends at Fortune 500 companies, the newest D&I initiative at Live Nation, and tips for contributing to an inclusive company culture​. Take a look below for the full interview: 

Tell us a bit about your background in Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) and how you landed at Live Nation. 

I've been passionate about D&I for as long as I can remember.  I was born to a father who was a Civil Rights attorney and a mom who was a Social Worker, so advocating for equality and equity is in my blood!  Most recently I spent 5 years at Campbell Soup Company, leading their D&I efforts.  When the Live Nation opportunity came to me, I jumped at the chance to unite my dedication to diversity with my passion for music, media and entertainment. 

You've been at Live Nation since June, what stands out to you about our culture? 

What initially attracted me to Live Nation and one of the reasons I love it here is the level of comfort our employees have in bringing their whole selves to work.  As we all know, music is a natural medium of expression, and that's visible as you walk the halls of our offices where any given day you see people comfortably and proudly expressing themselves – from the way they dress to their style of communicating – our individual diversity is amazing!  As is the space we've created for employees to be their authentic selves, which many companies struggle to master. 

Any insights you can give us about what's in the works for Diversity at Live Nation? 

Before making any changes, I wanted to spend time getting to know Live Nation and our employees.  I've spent the last few months doing a lot of listening to understand our business model and divisions. It's clear to see that beyond the core Live Nation culture, our different segments foster very unique micro-cultures that reflect their respective purposes and people.  We want to embrace that. So, to create an innovative and unique D&I strategy, we're officially launching D&I Discovery – an organizational people, process and partnership assessment. Through Discovery, we're looking closely at the how diversity is woven into demographics of our workforce, talent processes and leadership's business goals.  We are also launching Your Voice, Our Nation – a series of engagement sessions, leader interviews and a survey that will allow us to tap into the voices of our employees. Our ultimate goal is to develop diversity programs that resonate with all of you – so we want to hear from as many of you as possible. 

In recent years D&I has become a big focus at Fortune 500 companies. Can you tell us what sparked this growing trend?  

In the past corporations aimed to remain neutral on social issues, but in the last decade or so, those same companies and their leaders have become more comfortable using their power to take a stand for important causes. As our world becomes more connected, and consumers become more conscious of what their spending supports, we've seen a shift that companies definitely care about more than just the bottom line. There's also a business case for Diversity & Inclusion.  Research shows that highly diverse organizations are 70% more likely to capture new markets and are 35% more likely to outperform organizations with little diversity.  We're also experiencing some seismic demographic shifts that are impacting consumer and talent trends globally:

  • Millennials are the largest and most racially diverse generation in history
  • More than 3.5% (about 8 million American adults) identify as LGBTIQ, with more identifying daily
  • Globally, people of color's buying power has increased by 213% since 1990
  • 60% of employees are seeking a more holistic work experience and joining organizations that value culture, create space for innovation and invest in employee engagement  

Companies that want to remain globally competitive, attract and retain top talent and leverage their workforce to innovate and increase market share will recognize D&I as a key to growth and success.  

What are the ways that diversity can show itself in the workplace? 

One of my favorite quotes about diversity came from Will Smith who called it, "America's super power" and today, more companies are embracing it as a core business strategy. Diversity is evident in ways we can see like race, ethnicity and gender and other ways we can't see like multifaceted background, core beliefs, and education.  It also shows up in the variety of ideas and innovations that help us differentiate ourselves in the tech and entertainment industries. Our staff embodies the core characteristics of diversity and our multi-faceted culture is what makes Live Nation a great place to work.

What are the keys to creating an inclusive culture? 

An inclusive culture is one where everyone's voice is equally valued! It's creating space for employees to be themselves and express their opinions.  It's acknowledging employees that 'grab the mic' and those that work best by quietly and confidently contributing towards creating unforgettable experiences for fans. It's also recognizing that when employees see people in leadership that look like them, it's inspiring and sends signals of belonging and inclusion.  An authentically inclusive culture enables high performance, increases retention and ultimately our market share. 

Live Nation has over 20 active chapters of our core Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)that put on events to celebrate diversity around the world.  What's next for our ERGs? 

We're working to streamline and standardize our ERG operations, to make it easier for people to get involved and easier for these groups to make a real impact. That includes reassessing our budget and strategic planning processes, internal and external communications, role clarity and succession planning.  As part of this transformation, we're organizing our ERGs to operate under the 4C model where we organize strategic initiatives and events to impact culture, career, commerce and community.  Our focus in these areas will enable Live Nation's ERGs to better partner with the business and add measurable value for our employees, communities and business.  

What ways can employees get involved in the diversity effort outside of ERGs? Participate in Your Voice, Our Nation!  Take the survey, raise your hand for an engagement session or just reach out to me or Genevieve O'Neil and share your thoughts on D&I at Live Nation.

As a new member of the Live Nation team, we have to ask you to tell us about your most memorable show. 

 The Jacksons Victory Tour, 1984.  Philadelphia's old Veterans Stadium.  10th row.  When the Jacksons began singing "A, B, C it's easy as 1, 2, 3…" I was so happy I think I blacked out.  I was the girl who had Michael's poster on her wall as a kid and swore he would be my husband!  We can see how that worked out…but the concert was the experience of a lifetime.  Prince's Purple Rain, Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life and Beyoncé and Jay Z's On the Run Tours round out my top 4.  I also saw Maxwell at the Hollywood Bowl a few weeks ago and he was amazing! 

Any tips for staff on how to get the dialogue going on diversity? 

Yes!  First practice inclusion – be the team member that welcomes new employees and suggests team lunches and activities.  Ask people about their experiences and opinions.  Notice who speaks up in meetings and who needs to be prompted, help advocate to get all voices in the room.  And leaders, walk the halls!  Check on your teams, let them know why diversity matters to you, how you plan to lead by example and create an environment where their opinions matter.  It's also important to encourage them to come to you, HR or D&I if they are struggling in the wake of tough, tragic and divisive social-cultural-political events that are sadly plaguing our world.

Anything else you'd like to share? 

I'm so excited about D&I Discovery. I'm hungry to learn more about our company and work across the enterprise to co-create an integrated strategy that employees relate to, get excited about and want to be a part of.  Stay tuned because there's much more to come!

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