12/15/2014 07:48 am ET Updated Feb 14, 2015

Women in Business Q&A: Marcie Allen President & Founder, MAC Presents

Marcie Allen leverages her more than twenty years of music industry experience to negotiate high-profile sponsorships between the world's leading brands and artists. Allen has brokered exclusive partnerships and executed multi-faceted programs on behalf of brands such as: YouTube, Delta, Verizon, Anheuser-Busch, Samsung, CITI, AT&T and Jeep. She is a nine-time nominee and five-time winner of Billboard's Concert Marketing and Promotion Award. Allen has been included in Billboard's "Women in Music" list four consecutive years in a row, beginning in 2010 to 2014. She was also named to Billboard's "40 under 40" list in 2013 and received Billboard's "Humanitarian Award" also in 2013.

Prior to starting MAC Presents, Allen owned and operated Nashville/Atlanta-based MAD Booking & Events, which produced over 100 music festivals across the country including On the Bricks in Atlanta. Allen sits on the board of directors for Musicians on Call and Global Poverty Project.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I lived a fairly independent life from an early age. I went to twelve different schools before sixth grade. My mom moved our family to different cities every year growing up. I ended up moving in with my grandparents during high school and realized if I wanted something, I had to make a concerted effort to get the outcome I desired. That taught me flexibility. And, my grandfather - one of my heroes and mentors - was a radio DJ and instilled music into my DNA at a very young age.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at MAC Presents?
I always joke that my work experience began in high school when I booked a band for our high school prom and bands for Tri-Delta sorority events in college. But it's true. This niche of booking bands and being a listener of all music genres began early. My career found me just as much as I found it.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at MAC Presents?
The highlights are when I take a few steps back and realize that I have created an office team that is loyal to one another, just like family. It is also when I see firsthand just how much music improves everyone's quality of life. Rarely will you attend a concert or festival where people are not happy to be there.

Challenges. The industry is always changing. Music, tax law, and the cyber world are landscapes constantly in motion. I feel like I am a student of the industry many days. And, like any Type A soul, I don't want an A. I want an A plus.

What advice can you offer to women who want to start their own business?
I would tell them to abandon fear of failure. Failure is simply the process of checking off a way that doesn't work. Honor failure as a learning moment and try again. Everything we want is on the other side of fear of failure. Just jump!

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
It's also been trial and error. There have been times when I have had close friends and family members say, "Enough, time to book a vacation." It is impossible to be an effective leader if you are constantly experiencing burnout. So I keep a stringent calendar (color coded thanks to my assistant) and breaks/vacations are held sacred. I also have a good team that I can rely on when I need to recharge.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
It's the obvious. The playing field is not even but hopefully tipping in the right direction. Sometimes, I have to speak louder to be heard. Sometimes, I have to negotiate our deals more aggressively because the offers are weaker. I really like Gloria Steinem's words when it comes to this subject: "We've begun to raise our daughters more like our sons...but few have the courage to raise the sons more like our daughters." It is a disservice NOT to do so.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
It is huge. Both the giving and receiving of mentoring. There are countless folks I would love to choose from being in the business for almost 20 years. Marsha Vlasic/Artist Group International and Cara Lewis/CAA have been my closest friends over the years.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I am going to go with what the Nobel Prize committee said this year. Malala Yousafzai. She put her life on the line to advocate for basic human rights. That's the most important and courageous aspiration a person can have. She is amazing.

What do you want MAC Presents to accomplish in the next year?
First, stay healthy. Life balance is important. Second, bring more music to people in new and unique ways. Music is my passion and it is a privilege to be in the industry.