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Alex DePersia never thought she would be part of leading the charge to produce a music festival.
The ideation and execution of Pharrell’s inaugural festival, SOMETHING IN THE WATER, was another way that Alex’s role has evolved since she joined i am OTHER eight years ago.
Alex was an executive assistant at ICM Partners when she was approached by Caron Veazey, who was working with Pharrell to build the new company. In the beginning, it was just a centralized hub for Pharrell’s creative ventures.
“I looked over the business plan just to see what they had going on, and it seemed like this cool space for people that are creative, and maybe a little bit weird,” Alex said. “It just felt like a fit.”
She signed on as Caron’s assistant and eventually worked her way up to being a part of Pharrell’s management team. But the growing success of her career didn’t come easily.
After Alex graduated from the University of Maryland, she immediately moved to New York to pursue a career in the music industry. Seven months in, she had yet to land a full-time position. She took on a series of odd jobs to keep her afloat, but never compromised on her vision.
“I remember a lot of people suggesting to take other jobs [outside of music]. I was like, no, I’m not doing that. I’m figuring this the f*** out. It’s not an option for me.”
Her commitment to seeing it through was a skill she sharpened throughout her professional career. Her position and the company she works for has been instrumental in creating a sense of empowerment that allows her the freedom to execute on all fronts.
“I’m super proud to say that our team is mostly women,” Alex said. “I think it’s hard for a lot of us to feel like it’s possible to do everything – a career, a family, a balanced life. For me, it’s been nice to be around people who show me that it is possible. Pharrell knows the strength of a woman, and a smart woman, at that. It’s something that’s appreciated.”
She admits that she still has moments of self-doubt, though. She isn’t immune to the overwhelming feeling of anxiety when embarking on something new. Sometimes, she stresses before sending important emails, causing her to proof-read them multiple times. Still, she understands how to have a healthy relationship with fear. It doesn’t go away if you’re growing.
Nearly a decade into working with Pharrell and i am OTHER, Alex is even more determined to further the company’s vision, as well as her own.
“I want to work on s*** that’s cool, and that I’m excited about, and that I would want to go to or be a part of. It feels good to be more empowered and have a seat at the table.”