Women in AV: Let’s Meet up at the Almo Pro A/V E4 AV Tour!

Posted by Kelly  |  August 23, 2012, 2:44 pm



The Women in AV (WAVE) are honored and excited to join the Almo Pro A/V Fall E4 Tour at their two stops in Dallas and New York!  Registration is open for both events and you can sign-up here.

We are headed your way, WAVE, and can’t wait for us all to get together!   First up is Dallas on Wednesday, Sept. 13th, and then we’ll meet in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 3rd.

In partnership with InfoComm International, these training and networking events provide AV professionals the opportunity to attend shows on their home turf, bringing to you manufacturers, new products, and educational course — many of which offer CTS Renewal Units (RU) to help you keep up with your continuing education requirements.  With the theme of the fall tour being “Your AV Future Revealed,” you can expect to see hundreds of new products and courses designed for the latest technologies and trends impacting our industry.

rAVe Founder Gary Kayye will deliver the keynote where he’ll predict A/V’s Future with Krystal Ball from 9 – 10:30 a.m.  I wonder what he sees for the future of Women in AV in our industry?!?

WAVE will have special events throughout the day and this is a unique opportunity for us to get together with other local WAVE members, share stories, and learn from each other experiences!

  • 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.  — Stop by the Almo Pro A/V table to talk with members of WAVE Planning Board about how to get involved
  • 12 – 1 p.m. —  Join all the ladies for lunch at the special tables designated for WAVE to dine together
  • 3 – 4 p.m. — Attend my class titled “Mentoring and Why It’s Important to You” to learn about implementing company programs and the WAVE Mentoring Program

Our most special thank you to Almo Pro A/V, Chief, NEC, Premier Mounts, and Samsung for making it possible for WAVE to be part of these events.  It is through their generous sponsorship WAVE can offer the Women in AV a chance to be together and we truly appreciate your support in the continued advancement and encouragement of the Women in AV!

We’re excited to see you there, WAVE!! Please help us spread the word to all the WAVE you know so we make sure everyone attends!!


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Advanced AV Welcomes Two Women in AV: Nancy Keyak Simpson and Kerri Halliwell

Posted by Kelly  |  August 23, 2012, 11:19 am

Nancy Keyak Simpson, CTS, brings a career of experience in audiovisual project management site operations and maintenance to Advanced AV. Nancy delivered exceptional client experience and oversaw global end user video conference training while at Merck in Unified Communications.

Prior to that she established and grew Merck’s audiovisual team at first for the Research Division, this evolved into establishing standardized shared services for all divisions, which she managed across 9 U.S. sites. Nancy played a leadership role in establishing Merck’s audiovisual standards. Prior to these roles she was producer and director for Merck’s research division video productions including directing several clinical trial training programs in the U.K.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Advanced AV family as an account manager, having partnered with many of the team members for many years. In my new role I’ll bring the insights of having literally been in the client’s place while also having been an active member of the audiovisual community for many years. In this way I’ll be a great liaison between understanding and conveying the client’s requirements and partnering those communication and functional needs with Advanced AV’s team’s expert capabilities.” Nancy Keyak Simpson

In her free time Nancy enjoys fly fishing and is a member of the Delaware Valley Women’s Fly Fishing Association. She also enjoys biking, antiquing, traveling and music.

Kerri Halliwell comes on-board as a Services Account Executive. Kerri will be handling service renewals as well as establishing a broader customer base by leveraging previous contacts and experience.

Prior to joining Advanced AV, Kerri worked for KBZ Communications. Kerri was hired on to start the Service Department to maximize profit and find ways to bring back existing customers while building new relationships. “At KBZ I did ‘everything service’ from renewal quotes, release keys, processing service PO’s, handling complaints and resolving with Tandberg/Cisco, if it involved service in any way it was passed to me.” Kerri Halliwell

Kerri also headed up the Tandberg-Cisco Service Migration for KBZ in May 2011

In Kerri’s spare time she plays in a women’s field hockey league. She loves the beach, cars and is an avid sports fan. “We are thrilled to have Nancy and Kerry join our team. Their past contributions, success and achievement within our industry bring us a confident predictor of their future success. They both bring enthusiasm and provide a fresh and unique outlook to Advanced AV.“ John Greene, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

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WAVE AV Week 2012 Toolkit

Posted by Kelly  |  August 1, 2012, 9:16 am

The Women in AV (WAVE) have taken on an outreach initiative to support the InfoComm AV Week, which is October 14 – 20, 2012. During this week, we’re asking members of WAVE to get involved in educating middle and high school students to build awareness of the AV industry.

There are three simple ways to participate in this WAVE initiative. Exploit your resources and choose whichever activity is right for you. If you want to do more than one, that’s even better! AV Week and WAVE’s program provide a prime opportunity to not only generate awareness of the industry, but also enables you to get involved within your local community. By joining this initiative, you will be directly helping to teach youth on how the AV industry can lead to a fulfilling, creative, and inspired career path! WAVE has outlined these as our group’s possible activities:

Be a guest lecturer and offer lessons on the science of AV, including activities such as identifying the AV in use at their school. InfoComm can provide you with lesson plans, facts and statistics (www.avweek.org/toolkit.cfm.) A good resource is the National Science Teachers Association.

The Technology Student Association is a nation, nonprofit organization for middle and high school students with a strong interest in technology as well as for their teachers who serve as advisors. Search the TSA website to see if there is a chapter in your state. See if they would like to have you speak to their members during AV Week.

Do you have any used AV equipment? Or do you want to raise funds to buy some AV that a local school needs? Check with your local school to see if there is a need and consider how you may be able to help.

Check with a local school to see if there is interest from the science, film and theater students to tour your AV facility or a local venue to get a peak of the AV “behind the scenes”.


WAVE Logo:  www.womeninav.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/WAVElogoLarge.jpg

AV Week Logo:  www.avweek.org/toolkit.cfm


Please submit your activities, photos and information to Kelly Perkins, WAVE Marketing Director, at kperkins@womeninav.com or by phone at (612) 298-7688. We want to make sure your efforts are recognized in Women in AV press, womeninav.com as well as our social media outlets.

This is a great opportunity for us to get involved in supporting our industry and helping to reach the younger generations about what is special about being a professional in AV! We appreciate your involvement and ensuring AV will stay relevant and an important part of the future of communications technologies!!

Thank you Women in AV!!

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Women in AV (and everywhere else)

Posted by Kelly  |  June 20, 2012, 1:04 pm

“Daddy, do any girls work with you,” — Chloe, age 5 on the eve of Take Your Children to Work day (see earlier blog post)

I work, as you know, in the wonderful world of commercial AV, spreading the joys of audio-visual technology throughout the land. I’ve worked for two different integrators, worked for scores of clients including Fortune 100 companies with their own internal AV support staff.

Of team with whom I currently work?
Installation technicians – all male.
Service technicians – all male
Project engineers – all male.
Design engineers and sales engineers – all male.
Programmers – all male.
Project specialists (testing and verification technicians) – all male.
CAD technician – female.

That’s right. Of the twentysome people in various technical positions in our local office, there is exactly one female in a technical role.

Scenes from a day of AV Training

Lest you think this a local problem in the past six months alone I’ve taken part in vendor training from Biamp, ClearOne, Extron, Crestron, AVI-SPL’s in-house AV Project Management training, Crestron again, and Meyer sound. Those training classes alone represent contact with somewhere between a hundred and a hundred fifty of my fellow AV professionals.

Of those, exactly one was a woman.

At Extron Training - this was the highest female/male ratio of any training I attended this year

At Extron Training – this was the highest female/male ratio of
any training I attended this year
Why do I see this as a problem? The quote with which I lead is the first hint; inequalities like this create a self-perpetuating division between “women’s jobs” and “men’s jobs”. Your psychologist, your kids’ schoolteachers, and the receptionist in the last office you visited are probably women. Your car mechanic, your computer programmer and, yes, your AV technician are probably men. This drives young people to specific industries by an idea of where they’d “fit in” and what’s “appropriate” for them rather than what their natural talents and interests would lead them; if you’re a young man and all of the psychologists you encounter are women, then it’s hard for “psychologist” to be an aspirational position for you. If you’re a young women and all of the technical people you encounter are men, it becomes a role in which it’s harder to see yourself. If you’re a teacher and have a promising young female student, she likely doesn’t look like a potential engineer to you, even if you never consciously recognize this bias.

The second problem is one for the industry; we rob ourselves of half the potential talent available by closing the door to half the population. This is a truism for all industries; greater diversity of candidates breeds greater diversity of viewpoints and, in the long term, better results.

So what do do about it? The good news is that the culture is changing, from greater acceptance to less of a “boys’ club” atmosphere. For example, most AV professionals today are reluctant to use sexually suggestive test media when commissioning a system. It is worth noting that at least two of AVI-SPL’s local offices are being run by women. I’m very proud that the Women in AV group (an industry group of some very talented and successful people working towards mentoring and promotion of women in the industry) chose one of our account managers (Alexis LaBroi from the Atlanta office) for their inaugural mentoring award. Having women not only in leadership positions in the industry but using those positions to help others follow in their footsteps is one step towards a more inclusive industry. It’s the slow, organic way to grow.

Are there wider, better solutions possible? That’s very hard for me to say. I suspect it would take an overall change in how we look at men and women for the AV industry – or any technology industry – to become truly gender blind. It’s still an ideal worth fighting for and one towards which we’re currently – albeit it slowly – working.

About Leonard Suskin:
Leonard Suskin. Father, husband, writer, AV professional. I live in the greatest city in the world with a beautiful wife, two lovely children, and two cats.

In my spare time I write fiction. Mainly short fiction, often with a fantasy element.

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WAVE Honors AVI-SPL’s Alexis LaBroi with First Ever Mentor Award

Posted by Kelly  |  June 20, 2012, 10:17 am

This year, Women in AV (WAVE) is honoring a female AV professional for outstanding mentor service with the Women in AV Mentor Award. Alexis LaBroi, account manager at AVI-SPL, was highlighted for her contributions to their mentees and others around them as women in the AV industry.

Alexis LaBroi of AVI-SPLLaBroi has been in the event technology industry for 16 years, holding leadership roles in operations, training and sales. Starting her career at Renaissance Chicago, LaBroi has worked with companies such as PSAV, Swank and Swisscom.

Candace McPherson nominated LaBroi and said she looked up to LaBroi from the first meeting.

“She challenged me to test my own knowledge, and taught me to be a better, more knowledgeable professional,” McPherson said. “She inspired me to have faith in myself, and be confident in what I know.”

McPherson said LaBroi also inspired her to never give up, even though there were challenges as a woman breaking into in the AV industry.

“She gives 100 percent…even when others would throw in the towel,” McPherson said. “She is also a loving and warm family-centered woman. Her nurturing quality is evident in the way she serves those around her.”

Jennifer Willard, WAVE founder, said she is excited for LaBroi to be the first recipient of the award.

“LaBroi’s mentoring efforts to support and encourage women in our industry are remarkable,” Willard said. “Her accomplishments demonstrate why she is a very deserving winner.”

Willard also thanked Listen Technologies for sponsoring the award and their continued support of the organization.

“It is critical for us, as women, to recognize each other for the great work we do for others,” Willard said.

La Broi will was honored at InfoComm 2012, which will was June 13 – 15 in Las Vegas. As the largest AV trade show in the nation, Infocomm brings experts from all over the world to showcase products and lead education sessions.

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