January 15, 2024 I Women of NAMM I by Cassandra Sotos

Foundation of Our Future

My pivot from the touring world to acquiring AmpRx and becoming the CEO and co-owner was a giant leap for me, both personally and professionally. I took on the challenge with confidence because I’m resourceful, have a great partner, can tackle complex obstacles and have a rock-solid network of incredible people to look up to and seek advice from. It’s one of my proudest moments, and in fact, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

As I navigate our company’s future, one thing I’m certain of is that successfully growing our company and our entire industry requires a focus on two key factors: innovation and strength of community.

Innovation requires diversity of thought and prolific actions. It requires an environment where any person feels free to ponder an idea, express it and find the resources to implement it. This seemingly simple process must happen on all scales: micro to grand, continually and in perpetuity.

The foundation of that environment is strength of community – the very thing that has allowed me to pivot and grow into this position of leadership. I’ve been able to dive into the unknown and say “yes” before I know “how” because I believe in myself, I believe in my community, and my community believes in me.

If we want to see our industry not just stay alive, but continue to grow and provide fulfilling lives and careers for its people, we need to be as equally willing to seek community as we are to provide community. We need to take on challenges that we don’t know how to conquer yet, ask questions, and take risks. We need people who are excited and invigorated — both to be the explorer and to be the guide. Strength of community is a two-way street — it only works when we all show up.

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My biggest leaps have granted me fortune and fulfillment as I’ve turned “I don’t know how to do that yet,” into an asset rather than a liability. I’ve had to shed feelings of shame and embarrassment that sometimes come with admitting that I don’t have the answers. I know I can succeed as long as I remain focused, open-minded and ask for help when I need it. I feel incredibly supported by my network and know that because of my involvement in organizations like Women of NAMM, I can always reach out to someone around the world for support. I’m eternally grateful for everyone who continues to support us and I aspire to be able to give back to our community in those same ways.

Be willing to try things you don’t know how to do yet. Be willing to ask questions. Seek mentors who you can truly trust that want to see you succeed. Encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same. Women of NAMM provides the structure to connect, support and grow through several offerings including the Leadership Summit, Deep Dives, and regular podcasts. The resources are there, but we need to be active participants.

Your role will inevitably change over time as you have more experiences to share, and you may already be there. Are you a person who makes yourself accessible to others who are looking for encouragement or advice for growth? How open is your door?

Make yourself available to answer questions and give advice. Join or encourage a colleague to join NAMM Young Professionals or Women of NAMM. Follow up with them to see how it’s going — show you care. If helping others succeed is important to you and your door is open, they will come and it will be worth it.

We’re truly lucky to be a part of an industry that brings people joy all over the world in all stages of life. We owe it to ourselves and to them to ensure it continues to grow and innovate, and we can only do that together. MI

Cassandra Sotos is the co-owner and CEO of pedalmaker AmpRx in Nashville, Tennessee, and a member of the Women of NAMM.

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