Celebrating Women’s History Month!

March is Women’s History Month! 

Women’s History Month is celebrated annually and highlights the accomplishments and contributions of women throughout history and in our society today. This month is a great opportunity to celebrate women in music and all music-related fields.

From the moment the first note of music was ever played, women have made tremendous accomplishments in the field. And from the moment Quaver came into existence, women have been instrumental in its creative direction.

Extraordinary women make up a large part of our Quaver staff. From audio engineers to web developers, marketers, graphic designers, and beyond, we are proud to have bright, brilliant women in our midst who pursue their passions and change the world every day.

This year, we asked some of our female staff to talk a bit about their careers, goals, and the people who inspire them. We hope that their answers inspire your students to consider a career in music education or the arts.

Let’s dive in!

How did you get to where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?

“Persistence and passion has probably helped me the most along the way. From teaching high school in Los Angeles, to starting my own company, and working in various aspects of government and business. Raise your hand when an opportunity comes along, and don’t be afraid to have a well-reasoned opinion that is different than the status quo.”

Alice Rolli, Vice President

“I was a shy child. Music class was where I felt comfortable opening up and expressing myself. My high school choir director, Sarah Megan taught me how to truly listen to music, not just for the AP exam, but to find commonalities in all genres of music we enjoy. This idea of connectedness was present in every lesson I wrote and rings true in the work I do with music educators all over the country.”

-Valerie Diaz Leroy, Lead Teacher Trainer

Valerie training Quaver Teachers on the QuaverMusic Curriculum

“I guess I’ve gotten here mostly due to my passion for music. I have a wide variety of interests, but I think that music has been my number one passion since day one really. I’ve been very lucky to have been supported in my musical dreams by my parents. Because of them, I was able to study music all my life, including in college, where I majored in Commercial Music (voice). I’ve always had a technical mind though, and I think that, mixed with my love for music, is how I’ve ended up in this role specifically. I love working for a company with a huge passion for music and music education. I also love that my role here is very technically challenging. I get to use my strengths in logic and analytics at a place full of creativity and music. I was lucky to end up in this role—one that perhaps wouldn’t often be filled by a vocal major. Most of that luck came in the form of Jeremy Ruff, my boss and mentor. He saw my potential from the beginning and has supported me and allowed me to grow to where I am today.”

-Tedi Knaak, Integration Manager

“I was originally going to college to be a geologist, but I just couldn’t get away from everything about music so I ended up graduating with a degree in music education. I started teaching elementary music and have loved all 31 years of teaching! I was interested in helping music teachers in Texas so I started working on the state level as an Elementary VP for both the Texas Music Educators Association and the Texas Choral Directors Assocation. I became part of multiple state committees including working on the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) for Kindergarten through 2nd grade. Throughout the years, I have presented at local and state workshops then became a Texas trainer for Quaver. All of my experiences have lead me to work with Quaver which I love! I can continue to help elementary music teachers in Texas with a wonderful music curriculum.”

-Michele Hobizal, Texas Account Manager

“Hard work and the willingness to take on any task.”

-Donna Muldoon Mastran, HR, Wife of President and Co-Founder Dr. David V. Mastran

When she’s not helping things run smoothly at Quaver HQ, Donna travels to many amazing locations such as the Taj Mahal, Africa, and more!

What women do you look up to/are your role models? 

“Designers like Paul Scher (remember that Boston LP cover?) and Gail Anderson (former Senior Art Director at Rolling Stone), who survived working in the music business and were able to FINALLY earn their respect as designers, even in a male-dominated industry. Interestingly enough, Gail was a student of Paula’s!”

-Mary Moffet, Senior Graphic Designer

“I have some pretty tough broads in my family, so I definitely admire them. I also admire any women who head into a male-dominated field (such as conducting and composition) and show how they aren’t only good, but GREAT.”

-Emily Hopkins, Training Program Administrator

“My mother, my grandmother, my first grade teacher, so many throughout my life! Recently, my best friend Kristin Clark Taylor. She is one of the most beautiful people I know.”

-Donna Muldoon Mastran, HR, Wife of President and Co-Founder Dr. David V. Mastran

Who is your favorite musical woman? (Artist, composer, etc)

“Nadia Boulanger!”

-Caitlin Stein, Web Developer

“Jill Sobule.”

-Mary Moffet, Senior Graphic Designer

“Nina Simone.”

-Catie Dwinal, Customer Advocate and Educational Technology Specialist

“Lana Del Rey and Stevie Nicks.”

-Kailie Horak, Finance

What do you enjoy most about working at Quaver?

“Perhaps my favorite thing is that Quaver cares. People at Quaver genuinely care about our mission. We all have a love for music and music education and we want to support it. We care about the teachers and students that we serve, and we care about each other. Apathy is not a part of our culture. Our culture is one of support and passion, and I think that’s rare and amazing.”

-Tedi Knaak, Integration Manager

Just a few of the women that make up the staff at Quaver HQ! Not pictured: Donna Muldoon Mastran, Alice Rolli, Lisa Dziegowski, Kailie Horak, Michele Hobizal, Valerie Diaz Leroy, Megan Curtin, Natalie Bell, and many other women who make Quaver great!

“I love collaborating with brilliant people who are passionate and dedicated to the field of education.”

-Valerie Diaz Leroy, Lead Teacher Trainer

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone looking to work in arts education?

“Realize that you are young, and you may be a total superstar (I mean of course you are!), but you still have a lot to learn. You want to balance your self-confidence with the humility that you don’t know everything, and that you can learn from those around you.”

-Tedi Knaak, Integration Manager

“Be honest with yourself & be confident in your art. If your heart and soul likes your art then it’s not about how many people like your work. You must never trade honesty for relatability. Keep your passion, and everything else will fall into place.”

-Kailie Horak, Finance

“It’s a career path that requires a lot of hard work but you get a big reward seeing your students succeed in the end. Play the long game and be passionate about everything you do.”

-Catie Dwinal, Customer Advocate and Educational Technology Specialist

Catie demonstrates the latest in Quaver technology at a convention!

What is one piece of advice you would give to young women just beginning their career?

“You don’t have to commit to being one thing forever. Be open to change.”

-Caitlin Stein, Web Developer

“I believe you can do it all, but you can’t do it all at once. Pace yourself. Forgive yourself when you feel stretched thin between family, kids, and career. No one gets it ‘all right all the time.'”

-Alice Rolli, Vice President

Alice presenting to teachers in Miami, FL

“Know what your interests are and explore every avenue for doing something you love AND getting paid for it!”

-Emily Hopkins, Training Program Administrator

“Find your niche and develop it. It may take awhile but it’s there if you are thinking about it.”

-Donna Muldoon Mastran, HR, Wife of President and Co-Founder Dr. David V. Mastran