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Spotlight: Nina Packer

Meet Nina Packer, the newest member of the Music Forward team! As our Director of Charitable Partnerships, Nina brings to us a wide range of music industry experience that she’ll utilize to help us better connect with donors and industry experts. Learn more about Nina and her Music Forward journey below!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and the journey leading to your role at Music Forward.

I am a nonprofit enthusiast with an affinity for the entertainment industry who is passionate about education and securing opportunities for young people to identify and enter careers that fit their gifts and talents. I love seeing young people come alive as independent, contributing members of society. 

I have spent my career developing mutually beneficial charitable partnerships to create career exposure and pipeline programs in media and entertainment. I was instrumental in creating music industry degree and certificate programs at two HBCUs and served as an adjunct professor of a music management practicum course for twelve years. During my time as a high school marketing teacher, I championed the creation of a film & media magnet program in the Atlanta area.

My career in the music industry began as a philanthropic consultant to several major music artists and included working in Atlanta and Miami as a director of operations for an artist management company that built the exciting careers of Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj and many others. I have supported Music Forward’s programs over the years as an industry partner, and when the opportunity to join the Music Forward leadership team presented itself, I knew it was the natural next step for my career. 

Over the years I’ve enjoyed helping young professionals find their place in the entertainment industry. I know that choosing a career in entertainment isn’t always supported by parents or educators in traditional school environments, so I believe it’s important to shift the paradigm in our society to understand that entertainment careers are viable

Describe what you do at Music Forward and what you are most excited about.

I am the Director of Charitable Partnerships at Music Forward Foundation. In this role, I lead fundraising strategy, planning, and execution to support our organization’s growth. I am most excited about tapping into new funding opportunities to support Music Forward’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. There is a major paradigm shift happening now to create more accessible and inclusive pathways to success in the music industry, and Music Forward has cultivated an exciting music workforce ecosystem that affords young people opportunities to work and thrive in music. I’m absolutely here for that! 

Growing up, who or what were some of your inspirations?

My older brother was a producer and a rap artist, and our uncle was a musician in a band with a studio in his house. We were latchkey kids and I had to go wherever my brother went. We were always at my uncle’s house where my brother spent hours on a beat machine making beats and recording. We had late-night listening sessions at the dining room table that turned into dream sessions about his songs and his rap career. Once we got to college, he made a go of it doing shows and distributing his tapes out of my trunk. He then became the GM of our college radio station and his career in music took him to New York where he started as an intern at a label—and followed a path to being an entertainment executive. 

What do you think are the secrets behind getting to where you want to be?Authenticity and activity. Being your true self and doing what needs to be done to get you where you honestly want to be is what it takes. There is no singular track to success in the music industry. I’ve worked with people who rose to high levels of success who’d been counted out by others as ‘not a fit’ for their dreams. I learned from those people that by being authentic and actively pursuing the desires of our hearts, we create opportunities to get where we want to be. We learn and stumble along the way, but being honest and earnest opens big doors.

What piece of advice would you give to young people looking for their first role in the music industry?

Study the industry! Consider your own needs, interests, and abilities and find the entry point to this industry that suits you. The Industry Insights section of the Music Forward website is an excellent resource to explore where you might begin your journey and how far you can take it.

What has been your most memorable or favorite live music experience?

My most memorable live music experience was Drake’s Would You Like A Tour? The enormity of it all—singing along to every word of the music, lights, the production, the sold-out venue–was just breathtaking. I was a part of Drake’s management team at the beginning of his career, with the responsibility of managing his booking requests before his first commercial album. I’m a witness to how far we can take it. That moment was a celebration of that.

How does music move you?

I wake up every day with a song on my mind that sets the tone for my day. I listen to that song on repeat for about an hour and it does what needs to be done in my soul to set my day for success.

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