Women Are Not Tire Treads

Posted by Kelly  |  August 13, 2013, 5:01 pm

The Women in AV had another amazing year at InfoComm13 and we saw record numbers again for our sold-out luncheon and reception.  In fact, the reception was so hugely popular, we actually maxed out the capacity of our space and people were spilling outside into the lobby area!  As always, we are so grateful to our partners and sponsors for making everything possible for the Women in AV and their support is truly a testament to how much our industry welcomes and encourages women to pursue a career in AV.

It is not hard to be hugely positive about WAVE when you think about all we do together and the amazing success we have created over the past two years.  Just at InfoComm13, Chair Theresa Hahn launched our WAVE Local Chapters Initiative that will kick off over the remainder of 2013.  This opportunity will create regional and local networking and mentoring opportunities to meet women on a more frequent basis.  If you are interested in getting involved and learning more about the program, contact Theresa at womeninav@gmail.com.  And, stay tuned for InfoComm’s AV Week in October 2013, where the leaders of chapters will introduce the Local Chapter Handbook so you can start a chapter of your own!

With all that said, I’d be lying if I said there haven’t been challenges and struggles along the way.  The fact that WAVE exists is because we represent less than 20% of our industry and women can often feel alone and isolated over the course of their career.  Whether you are a man or woman, look around the next time you are in a staff meeting, training, or at a conference. Do you notice there are typically one or two women for every five to six men you see?

So, as much as I want us to focus on the positive and continually look to all we have and will achieve, it would be a disservice and frankly a lie, if we didn’t also tackle the very difficult struggles we as women, and, an industry are facing in how to support women taking on more leadership roles and getting involved.  As well as, the image and message we send out there about how women can expect to be treated when they come to our trade.

As the founder of Women in AV, I personally have had two separate occasions where men have tried to get me fired from my job or turn me into one of our associations with complaints.

The first one filed a complaint with my company because I called him out for his misogynistic language trying to disparage and defame rAVe Pubs female staff and then WAVE in his publication.  The second one I repeatedly asked in private, and, then publicly when that didn’t work, to please back off of WAVE — as it was making me entirely uncomfortable.  This person then tried to turn me into one of our trade associations because of my “demands”.

Neither situation went anywhere because — it’s RIDICULOUS.  But, each instance was incredibly stressful, lasted for over a month, and demonstrated the extent to which some will try to silence a woman when she stands up for other women and herself.  It is part of the “job” I signed up for when I founded WAVE.

However, I can’t imagine nor want to consider how many other women may have or will encounter a similar type of situation.  I take it as my personal responsibility the way I respond to these situations as to how a WAVE is treated.  It is a reflection of every woman in our industry and what they may expect to encounter.

You may know of the term “boothbabes”.  In short, it is a model that has historically been hired for a tradeshow to dress provocatively to draw guys in to generate sales.  We all know this was very common practice and has become increasingly controversial as to whether these practices inhibit women from being taken seriously.  This also extends to our advertisements and other print or social media.

This is a very serious issue and one I think we tend to ignore.  Until, something egregious comes across our radar and we are forced to address it.  Such was the case recently, when a fellow WAVE brought to my attention an advertisement she had come across in a August 2013 edition of an industry publication.  Now, think about it. Here is a female Gold Crestron programmer in AV reading a publication in which she is excited to see all the newest updates on products in our industry.  And, this is what she flips to:

Let me just say.  My intention in bringing up this kind of stuff is never to want someone to end up in “AV Purgatory.”  We all have been in the place before where we thought, “this sounds like a great idea” OR truly measured and determined the market share we’ll  gain far outweighs any type of backlash it may receive.  Fair enough.  I can respect either of those philosophies.  As long as you own it.

And, I can say that I reached out to IAVI and they immediately returned my call the next morning.  We had a respectful conversation and I appreciated the opportunity to share my concerns, as well, I hope and appreciate the opportunity to hear where they were coming from in terms of their concept. They distribute outside FL — got it.

And, that is what I don’t really understand.  The idea is to sell and show the breadth and depth of IAVI’s distribution.  Totally cool and I even really like the catch phrase. And, when I first saw the ad, I immediately went to their website to get some background.  I can say I was incredibly impressed with the number of manufacturers they represent and their company.  That is where it gets confusing for me.

Why would someone need to bring in a woman who is so obviously sexualized to, essentially downgrade the professional and extensive reach of their company.  Why, does it seem like a good idea to trade off all that you offer customers for a dirty “peep show”?

Let alone as I have said before.  Why is it, if you can’t hang this up in your office without a visit from HR — is it acceptable to put in a trade magazine or on a show floor?  Where is the review process?

And, let’s not jump to conclusions. It may have very well been a woman who approved this.  Regardless, why are we still at a place where this is message we want to portray about women, generally speaking?  And, what about the publishers who approve of running this type of “ad”?

Obviously, as a woman I am more sensitive to this than most men.  But, I am heartened to see more and more men raising their voices against the lame excuse “sex sells”.  It not only lowers the bar for our entire industry, but, it is now at the point where it is widely questioned what is wrong with your products or services if you need to take it to these types of extreme measures.

And, this is not only the time I have seen it — or the last I am sure.  Here are some reputable and award-winning companies’ photos from InfoComm13.  Can we do better?

Crestron Party Pre-Show:

Award Winning Digital Key Display:

Stampede’s Girls:

Again, my purpose is to raise awareness of the discomfort and discouragement this creates for woman so we can do better and move on.  That said, for anyone who will continue to downplay and repeat offend like CEA’s Gary Shapiro in 2012 and 2013.  Well… you can expect we will  continue to raise it every time it comes up.

Women are not Tire Treads for anyone to ride on when selling a product.

~Jennifer H. Willard, CTS


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Women in AV Honors Kirsten Nelson With 2013 Mentor Award

Posted by Kelly  |  June 3, 2013, 1:24 pm

Kirsten Nelson, Editor-In-Chief, Systems Contractor News and Healthcare AV, will be honored this year by the Women in AV (WAVE) at the NSCA/FSR/Exhibit One Women in AV Reception, Wednesday, June 12th from 5-6:30 PM in the Coral Spring Room at the Peabody Hotel.

“Nelson has combined her passion for writing with her affinity for technology by working as the editor of Systems Contractor News (SCN) and Healthcare AV magazine,” explained Nominee Erin Bolton, Senior Marketing Executive in the AV industry. “In this role she has provided dynamic, inspired and informative content to the women of the AV industry for over 14 years. Through her stories, Kirsten features information, news analysis, and market-focused reporting on technology trends that impact women in the AV industry – always knowing that in her role she can leverage the media to help advise and guide the women of the AV industry.”

Vice President of Sales Worldwide at Listen Technologies, Cory Schaeffer, adds that Kirsten goes out of her way to cover the women who lead this industry. “She’ll discover a new talent and feature them in SCN, and the coverage will not only nurture that new company, but it will also provide a new source of knowledge for her readers.”

“It is a real honor to be the recipient of WAVE’s 2013 Women in AV Mentor Award,” says Nelson. “Promoting the success and expertise of others is a central component to my work, and I am very fortunate to be surrounded by so many inspiring people in our industry every day. Sharing the stories of my fellow women, and opening our coverage to the stellar contributions of female leaders makes SCN and Healthcare AV better and more useful publications for our readers. There are many women executives, integrators, consultants, and writers with whom I worked since my earliest days at SCN in 1998, and to those women, and all the others whose work inspires our editorial coverage, I am thankful.”

The Women in AV are also grateful to Listen Technologies for sponsoring this important industry award for the second year in a row and greatly appreciate their on-going efforts and support to encourage the development of WAVE.

Nelson will be honored at the NSCA/FSR/Exhibit One Women in AV Reception, Wednesday, June 12th from 5-6:30 PM in the Coral Spring Room at the Peabody Hotel. For registration information please contact Kelly Perkins at womeninav@gmail.com.

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Join us Friday, May 31st at 12pm PDT!

Posted by Kelly  |  May 27, 2013, 10:34 am

Sign-up for our monthly Kramer Electronics  WAVE webinar this Friday, May 31st at 12pm PDT, 3pm EDT.  Register here.

We will discuss our upcoming InfoComm13 events, our FSR and NSCA Women in AV Reception, and our Listen Technologies and Kramer Electronics Luncheon.

Our theme is Think, Act, and Talk Like a Leader, you don’t want to miss it!

Verrex’s Theresa Hahn will announce the new WAVE initiative, Launching Local WAVE Chapters and we will discuss and seek your feedback about how we can make this successful to get women networking and helping each other on a local level.

We hope you can join us!

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Join the Women in AV at InfoComm13!

Posted by Kelly  |  May 8, 2013, 2:06 pm

This year we thought we should have a theme, one that resonates with women and focuses on what want to achieve together over the coming year. Think, Talk, Act Like a Leader felt like the perfect message we want to sending both ourselves and other women in the industry.  We want everything we do to come from the place of “how am I encouraging myself and others to take on more leadership roles and develop our skills for taking that next step”.

We’ll be doing all the same things we did last year and we also have a few fantastic initiatives we are excited to be launching AT InfoComm13!  So, join us again for another fantastic year of advancing women in AV!!

As always, we welcome all the men in our industry to attend our events and get involved in with WAVE!

Register at the below links for our two main show events, they’re free!!


– Wednesday, June 12th from 5-6:30pm EDT

NSCA/Women in AV Reception Register here

Meet face to face with your colleagues with the Women in AV to share tips, ideas and success stories. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to join NSCA, WAVE and FSR to honor the accomplishments of women and network with those new to the industry and long-time veterans. It is not often we as women has a chance to come together and this exciting event is your chance to say hello to old friends and make new ones! The event is free, but registration is required.

One award recipient will be recognized for their outstanding achievements in advancing women with the 2013 Women in AV Mentoring Award!


– Thursday, June 13th, 2013 from 12:00-1:30pm EDT

Women in AV Luncheon Register here

Think, Act, and Talk Like a Leader is our theme and industry experts will speak to the importance of personal presence, networking, and branding as it relates specifically to women and how we can develop the skills and character traits to take the next step in our career.

WAVE will launch our new 2013 initiative, Developing Local WAVE Chapters.  Attendees who are interested will learn about the who, what, when, and why about starting programs to bring together and meet WAVE in your local area and how to get involved in efforts to bring more frequent and personal involvement in your local community.

Don’t miss this chance to get together and meet fellow WAVE from near and far! Opportunities like these are the basis for friendships and professional contacts that last a lifetime, we’ll see you in Orlando!!

This article originally appeared in rAVe [Publications]

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2013 Women in AV Mentor Award

Posted by Kelly  |  April 25, 2013, 9:38 am

Deadline:  Friday, May 17 2013 at 5pm (PDT).

Nominate here: Women in AV Mentor Award


The WAVE Mentoring Awards highlight a female mentor in the AV industry and the important contributions that this woman has made to the mentees she has impacted. The mentoring relationships formed by Women in AV can enhance one’s professional and career development goals.

Mentorship is one of the most important determinants of a successful career, yet it is often a component of career development that, while prized by recipients, is rarely rewarded.  The Women in AV place great value on mentorship, and this award was created to reward those efforts.

Nominate an AV professional who has made significant contributions to your career and life or other women in the AV industry.

Program Summary

Each year, WAVE honors one female AV professional who has distinguished herself within the AV industry. This award is designed to recognize a woman who is valued as a mentor to others in the AV industry.

For the purpose of this award, mentoring is defined as the process of guiding, supporting, and promoting the training and career development of others. The key roles of a mentor include, but are not limited to providing:

  1. Advising and guiding
  2. Challenging and inspiring women to become engaged citizens of the world who aspire not only to achieve understanding, but also to advance the cause of social justice.
  3. Advocacy and guidance in personal, organizational, and professional matters.
  4. Serving as a successful role model.
  5. Showing concern for women as individuals and supporting their personal development.


The award will be presented at the NSCA/FSR Women in AV reception held June 12th, 2013, in Orlando. The award winner should plan to attend and be recognized in front of their colleagues at the Reception. Winners will be notified by May 31, 2013. The award includes:

  • Award sponsored by Listen Technologies Corporation
  • Recognition at Women in AV Reception on Wednesday, June 12, 5 to 6:30 PM held at the Peabody Hotel
  • Recognition on the WAVE website – a feature article

Upon receipt, applications become the property of WAVE. Applications will not be returned to applicants. Late applications will not be accepted.


This award is open to all women working in the audiovisual industry.

Nominees should have a sustained record of mentoring over time.

Nominators must be a mentee of the nominee, or colleagues who have personal knowledge of the nominee’s mentoring efforts.

Criteria for Judging

Your nomination for an excellence in mentoring award should describe how the person who has mentored you and has been outstanding in supporting and encouraging your growth, confidence, professional, and personal development. Please share specific examples, stories and anecdotes.  A nomination must include at least one reason your nominee deserves the award.

Qualities the selection committee will be looking for in a mentor, are not just what experience do they have but evidence that they are a good listener, a collaborative communicator, have practical experience not just academic experience, are articulate (to the point), honest, skilled at getting their point across i.e. not judgmental but able to suggest a solution.

Nominations are reviewed and scored on the following criteria:

  1. Advising and guiding
  2. Challenging and inspiring
  3. Advocacy and guidance
  4. Serving as a successful role model
  5. Supporting mentee’s personal development
  6. Summary of why the nominee should receive the award (approx 250 words)

Each of these criteria are scored individually, therefore the nomination should provide sufficient detail and/or a specific example that speaks to each of these elements.

Awards Submission Requirements

It is the nominator’s responsibility to complete all sections in the on-line Nomination Form using the guidelines set out above. Nominations that are missing required information in any of these sections will not be considered.

Nominations must be submitted electronically on-line in this format no later than 5:00 p.m. (PDT) on Friday, May 17, 2013. We suggest that you don’t leave it until the last minute to nominate someone in case there are any issues entering your information.

Nominate here: Women in AV Mentor Award

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