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Women’s History Month with Apogee CEO Betty Bennett
This Women’s History Month, we celebrate women who inspire us, women whose contributions break barriers and open doors for the next generation of leaders. Today we honor Apogee CEO Betty Bennett, who has led the Apogee team for the past 38 years.
Apogee developed key technologies to improve audio conversion as the industry transitioned from cassettes and vinyl to CDs. Utilizing the same innovative approach in the mid-90s, Apogee pioneered a series of audio interfaces for the newly introduced, computer-based Digital Audio Workstations that have since become industry standards for recording and production.
In 2007, Apogee was chosen by Apple to develop an audio interface for their new professional audio recording application, ‘Logic Pro.’ The iconic Duet was born, bringing not just Apogee quality, but mobility to producers and recording artists around the world. Apple again tapped Apogee to jointly develop the very first iOS audio product, ‘JAM,’ an electric guitar and instrument interface for the revolutionary iPhone and iPad platforms.
Currently, Apogee is addressing both the professional and the prosumer audio markets, each with class-leading performance. On the Pro level, the focus is Dolby ATMOS and Spatial Audio mixing. On the prosumer side – simplifying recording for content creators, PodCasters, Voice Over Artists, and the social media generation with products like HypeMic and ClipMic Digital.
The rest is documented history – 19 TEC Awards (most valued award in Pro Audio), multiple Editor Choice Awards from Sound on Sound, EQ Magazine, Electronic Musician, PC Magazine, and Stereo Sound’s ‘Product of the Year,’ among many others. Apogee is recognized as the company that transformed the sound of Digital Audio. Professional Recording Engineers, as well as Artists and Producers, moved from analog to digital recording only after their digital multi-tracks were Apogee Enhanced.
Bennett has passions outside of audio as well. The environment has been a focus for over 40 years. Apogee, as well as her personal residence, have been solar-powered since 2000, adding battery backup systems to both in 2014. In 2004, she bought a Prius Hybrid, which started a domino effect with her contemporaries. Eight years later, she moved to an all-electric vehicle. That said, most days, Bennett rides her bicycle to work and encourages all employees to walk or ride to the office to help reduce traffic and vehicle emissions, as well as enjoy the health benefits such exercise brings. In addition to the recycling of all electronic waste, Apogee has a program in place to reduce the use of non-recyclable packaging material, no plastic water bottle policy, and compost its green waste. Apogee has won the Santa Monica Sustainable Quality Grand Prize Award several times and has been certified by the city of Santa Monica as a Green Business for numerous years.
Apogee and Bennett have been annual supporters of UCLA’s Environmental Institute and the Plastic Pollution Coalition. In addition, Bennett has actively worked with other charitable NGO’s including Corazon DaVida, an organization that founded Orphanages in Baja, Mexico, Amnesty International, CARE, and UCLA Medical Research.
Apogee is one of the few women-owned and run small businesses in the Professional Audio Industry. It is a certified member of the WBENC Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
Recently Bennett has become involved with “We are Moving the Needle,” an inclusive organization working to create measurable change by empowering women in the recording and professional audio industry.
When asked about her most notable achievement – her answer is her family – two adult children and an annoying but loveable husband who thinks he knows how to mix a record.
A: The most important and influential woman in my life was my mother. She faced challenges many in our generation cannot conceive of. Some saw her as a compassionate mother who was always available for nurturing and advice. Most knew her as the fierce, tenacious, strong-willed, and politically active woman she was. Mom loved God and country; She fought for women’s equal rights, racial equality, and the LGBTQ community in a time and area of the country where her views were in the minority. She was an inspiration to so many. Thank you, Mom. I am who I am and achieved what I have because of you. I miss you daily.
A: My advice to anyone young and wanting to get into this business or any business. Find your passion, whatever it is, Music, Recording, Electronic Design, Software, Teaching, Camp Counselor – whatever you think it might be; start there. Find an internship, seek a mentor, and work hard. Put in extra time, join groups associated with your position, network, and never stop learning and growing. If, at first, you chose the wrong path, don’t be afraid to make a change. Find a position that makes you feel energized and excited to be there, where you can learn, grow and give it everything you have, 110%.