In our Meet the Board series, we invite you to sit down and learn more about each SOUNZ board member. Today we introduce Board member | Te Poari Kaitiaki Dana Youngman.
Give a brief introduction about yourself.
Talofa lava, I’m Dana Youngman, a Samoan New Zealander, mum of 2 lovely kids, Lani and Thomas, wife of John, and a resident of Tāmaki Makaurau.
What do you do outside of your work at SOUNZ?
I’m a pretty busy working mum, simultaneously succeeding and failing with the family work-life juggle. I’ve worked in the TV industry since graduating tertiary ed and started producing telly in my early 20s for TVNZ.
My decades in content production were mostly spent show running, directing, and/or executive producing all manner of television shows, from Country Calendar to Dancing with the Stars.
In recent years I moved into network executive work, commissioning content for a few New Zealand platforms, which I have really enjoyed. Around the same time, I started participating in board work, and while governance is a serious responsibility, I’ve found that I enjoy it immensely.
What is one of your earliest musical memories?
As a preschooler, I remember being fascinated with our neighbour’s piano and guitar, which sat tantalisingly in their lounge, and I was forbidden to touch! So musical instruments became a thing of intrigue to me, and I still look at any musical instrument adoringly – which probably sounds a little odd, but I think they are still a treasure to me because of this time.
Provide a brief overview of your personal journey with music.
I jumped at the chance to learn to play the piano when I was around ten, and then the cello briefly and the guitar soon after. I was never particularly good at any of them, but I adored my music teachers, particularly my piano teacher Mrs Margaret Dinham.
My children have also found a very special piano teacher, Mrs Glenda Matchett, who I also adore – I think there’s something inherently magical about piano teachers.
I love to sing, but these days it only happens in the car and (overly) enthusiastic karaoke performances.
Professionally, music has a very important role in my work. I love how music can elevate a story and add a layer of narrative that simply wouldn’t exist without it.
I joined the SOUNZ board because SOUNZ is a vital organisation for Aotearoa. There isn’t anyone else or any other body doing what SOUNZ does for New Zealand music or the music community. It is very, very special.
Diana and her team are tireless advocates and supporters, working their hearts out for a sector of our arts community that Aotearoa would be lost without. It is a privilege for me to play a small part in supporting the organisation.