Inteviewee: Justine Bodek (she/her)
In your words… Tell us about your organization, business, initiative.
The Salem Jazz and Soul Festival is a nonprofit organization that produces free concerts and raises money to support music-education programs on Massachusetts’ North Shore. With our new board and mission, we aim to bring performance opportunities to musicians and artists of all ages, abilities, races, ethnicities, religions, and genders/gender expressions.
Tell us a bit about you and why you do what you do? Share your passions for your business, initiative, organization.
I’ve worked with SJSF for close to 12 years now, first as an instructor, then as education director, and now as President of the organization. SJSF brings so much joy and opportunity to our local communities, and it is an amazing full circle moment to watch my former students become more involved in the organization as adults.
There is so much more work to be done and ways we can reach our most vulnerable populations in the community, bringing them the magic of music and performance.
What role do you think your business plays in supporting a more creative community? OR your community in general. (Bonus! Why do you think a more creative community is important?)
In this new way of living through COVID, creative communities are going to be the backbone of public mental health. Regardless of artistic/musical abilities, people need an outlet to process the traumas of the past 2 years (and more). SJSF hopes to tap back into the human right to create and explore the world of music and art; the right to see the world through someone else’s eyes.
What was the last book you read or film you watched that made an impact on you?
I recently finished Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime,” and am currently reading “Hood Feminism.”
Trevor Noah’s autobiography gave me to a deep dive into perception of others and how to approach racially charged conversations. His style of writing made it so I could hear his message, feel what he was feeling, but then also get a good chuckle to lighten this up.
What’s the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you our your business?
I am the youngest, and first female President of the organization