Thérèse Plummer is an actor and award-winning audiobook narrator working in New York City.
She has recorded over 400 audiobooks for various publishers. She won the 2020 Audie Award for her collaborative work on The Only Plane In The Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff garnering Audiobook of the Year!
A 2019 Audie Award for her work on the multicast, Sadie by Courtney Summers for Macmillan Audio, and was nominated for the Multicast Any Man by Amber Tamblyn for Harper Audio and her solo narration for The Rogue: Planets Shaken by Lee W. Brainard for Podium Publishing. The American Library Association (ALA) awarded her work on Sourdough by Robin Sloan as part of the 2018 Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration for Adult Listeners.
Thérèse has been nominated for 5 Audie Awards in 2018. She was named AudioFile’s Best Voices of the Year in 2015 for her work on Robyn Carr’s A New Hope. Thérèse is the voice of Maya Hansen in the Marvel Graphic Motion Comic Ironman Extremis, Dr. Fennel in Pokemon and for various Yu-Gi-Oh characters. Television Guest Star Roles on The Good Wife, Law and Order SVU and Virgin River for Netflix. Regional Theatre: Sister James in Doubt.
What does being a female entrepreneur mean to you?
Being a female entrepreneur places me in a position to be of love and service to the world as only I can. I am part of a phenomenal community of storytellers. I have chosen to use my gifts and platform to support, build up and celebrate my community, especially other women.
What are your goals to change your industry for women?
My goals are to have equal pay across the board for narrators. I have advocated and negotiated for myself a lot as I act as my own agent. I have grown more assured in the last year but in the beginning, it was petrifying. The voice in my head told me I would look greedy and producers would see me as difficult and not work with me anymore.
It is so important for me to stay on my team when advocating for a higher salary and not use self-deprecation as a crutch. The worst thing that can happen is they say no, which some have.
When I find out my make colleagues are making more money than me for the same work I get riled up but also more motivated to continue negotiating. My favorite part of my job is the community of other narrators Queens I am surrounded by who lift each other up and encourage each other to always advocate for ourselves.
Looking back, what’s one thing you wish you understood about your industry before getting started?
I wish I understood that I am an independent contractor which means I am hired by producers and authors to narrate their books. I don’t work for them they are hiring my talents to serve a project. As such I am totally capable to advocate and negotiate on my behalf. For the first ten years, I was so grateful to work as an artist the business side of things really fell through my fingers. With the help of other businesswomen, I am learning how to advocate for myself and run a successful business.
The wage gap in the U.S. continues to make headlines – what advice can you offer women on making sure they’re being compensated fairly?
I would say to not be afraid to have that conversation when asked to do a project. I have been in this industry for over 15 years and have a lot of personal and professional experience now. It is ok to ask for a raise. When asked what your rate is for your narration, speak it with confidence. It may be too high for that production and they will go with someone else. However, they know your worth and when they need you for another project they will pay that. Know your worth.
The greatest tool I have is a group of fellow female narrators that I run everything by. Use a support system to learn the negotiation and advocation language needed as an independent contractor. You are not alone. We are all going through it. I have your back.
Which female entrepreneurs inspire you the most? Why do you look up to them?
I love entrepreneurs like Reese Witherspoon and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. They are creative and kind and beautiful and fierce and tenacious. I love that they embody all the traits of the feminine and the bad-ass GirlBoss. I love that they choose to produce and act in projects that employ other women. They highlight women and what we have gone through and use their creativity and talents to give us a face and a voice. I aspire to do that.
How do you achieve a balance between your personal and professional life?
I go to my mountain in Cold Spring, NY and hike for three to four hours and when I am done I feel human again. My body tells me when I need to go back. I am a bit of a workaholic but am learning through this pandemic that simplifying and slowing down is really important. I also love to schmooze out with my hubs and fat orange cat and watch Netflix and eat tons of snacks. Nothing better.
What piece of advice would you give to emerging creatives or entrepreneurs?
Be Kind. Be Brave. Build Community. I think kindness, compassion and building true relationships can get lost when trying to make a living. I was taught once: I am in the action business and the universe is in the results business. My job on the planet with the time I am given is to be a channel for my creativity and be of love and service to myself and others.
Life is so short and especially in its current state it can be very frightening. Building friendships and a support system with fellow colleagues has helped many a day when the story in my head goes negative. That support is key for me.
What is next for Therese Plummer?
I am writing a rom-com, continuing to tell stories and working on using my own writings to inspire, encourage and uplift others. If I can learn to use all the gifts I was born with to be of love and service to the world it is indeed a very good day.
Welcome to the Biz Ladies interview series!
If you’re new to these series, I interview women entrepreneurs on how they started their business, what was the idea behind it, how they got where they are, the struggles, the reality and more.
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