AV Insider Spotlight :Cory Schaeffer – Director, Systems Solutions at QSC

Each week, I am highlighting on some of the incredible people who are in the Audio Video Industry. As this blog is mostly about AV insiders, today we are profiling Cory Schaeffer .

Here is a brief intro about her.

Cory is the Director of Systems Solution for QSC’s System Business Unit. She is a strong and passionate leader in the AV industry who applies her vision and thought leadership to the development and execution of end user strategies and forging relationships with consultants. Cory is a key contributor to QSC’s product development efforts and various marketing initiatives to ensure QSC’s continued success in the AV space.

Please drop your questions in the comments below and I will make sure that she sees them.

1.Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?

It started in the late 1980s when I was hired for an entry-level position at the company known today as ClearOne. At the time, I was looking for a “job”, but what I found was a fun and rewarding career. I immediately embraced the AV industry and all it had to offer. Within just a few years, I was leading the company’s Teleconferencing Business Unit. With little experience, I soon found myself managing a team of independent reps – some older than my father. However, I quickly learned to tap into industry experts to help guide me as I grew into my new role. I was not shy in asking for help. I was open to learning and I surrounded myself with mentors who I could trust and lean on when necessary.

In 1997, I moved to Southern California to marry my husband (my best move ever!) and looked for my next opportunity. This steered me to co-founded Listen Technologies Corporation. At Listen Tech, we built a company from scratch and became a leading manufacturer of assistive listening technologies. Prior to Listen Tech, no one cared about the assistive listening category. Some people found it boring, believed it lacked real innovation and no one was dissatisfied with existing solutions. This is exactly why it was an opportunity. We developed an innovative solution, focused on the vertical and we did it with passion. With those fundamentals – it was the recipe for success. I had a great time building the company and working with like-minded people. Life is about change and growth so after 18 years at Listen Technologies, it was time for me step away and embrace a new challenge.

I am now with QSC Systems based in Costa Mesa, California. I focus on building relationships with large global enterprise clients, which are ideal clients for our Q-SYS Platform, a software-based eco-system for audio, video and control (AVC) in the meeting room. These clients already deploy standards and understand the value of the platform’s unique architecture, including its Intel processors, Linux OS and IEEE networking standards. As the industry transforms from single-purpose hardware solutions to software-based platforms, Q-SYS is a future-proof solution for any meeting room. The culture of QSC is unlike any I have experienced. This place is full of brilliant minds and passionate people. It is amazing, rewarding and challenging. It’s no wonder QSC has been recognized as a Top Workplace for the 6th time by the Orange County Register. I’m thrilled to be here and I feel a great obligation to QSC and our industry as a whole.

2.What do you think is the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry.

Awareness! Most outside of the AV industry do not even know about this industry or that it even exists. This will change as AV now falls under IT.

3.What are the positives of working in this industry

The people and the relationships you build. People are passionate and work to create immersive experiences. Relationships are long lasting with people who want you to be successful. This industry is special – people are willing to share knowledge to help each other grow.

4.What in your opinion would you change in the industry?

More diversity – Our industry needs more diversity in skin color, age and we need more women. I know it’s improving but, in my opinion, it’s not moving fast enough. As a woman, I don’t want us to fill a hiring quota, yet I don’t feel our industry does enough to find women to fulfill leadership positions.

What are the negatives that are prevalent? Lack of technology standards. The industry is in transition and AV now falls under IT in most companies. IT is built around standards. Large enterprise companies are starting to developing AVC standards to make integration of AV easier. In the near future, this will no longer be an issue.
5.Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you.

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My ideal client is a large global enterprise customer who is looking for a partner to help with their meeting room technology needs. They are open-minded, looking to collaborate, and direct in their communication. I’m not interested in making a sale. Rather, I’m interested in partnerships that are “win win” and long term. That is what drives me and is the core of who QSC is as a company. If I don’t have the right solution for a client, I’ll tell them and I’ll go well beyond that to help them find the right solution. I want to be a true partner for my clients, not just a partner looking to sell something.

6.If you were going to start over, what would you do differently?

I would have worked more on my strengths and less about my weaknesses. Focusing on what you know makes you unique and different and sharpening those skills can drastically move the needle. It’s fruitless to focus on areas in that you don’t enjoy. Work with people that are strong in areas where you’re weak. I wish my “younger self” knew that.

7.Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?

I don’t have a “typical” day. Some days start out with an early Skype for Business call with a client in Europe or in-person meetings where I’m working to build new relationships. I balance my days with connecting with clients, researching new clients, connecting with colleagues, and leveraging industry relationships to learn. There is much for me to learn within QSC and much to learn about my target client. I try to spend time every day with an element of learning.

8.Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?

CRM – keeping track of clients, conversations and follow up items, “Chatter” which is part of our CRM to see information shared by colleagues, Outlook for scheduling and email, my laptop and my mobile.
Apps: Twitter, LinkedIN, Facebook – all great tools to build relationships in different ways

[RELATED] : If you have missed any of the previous interviews, please click here.

9. How does your products differentiate between your competitors and stay relevant in the industry.

The Q-SYS Platform is actually a software-based platform, not a collection of loosely constructed “single box” products. It is ideal for the future of AV, as most clients are moving away from customized hardware solutions toward a more central, standardized platform.

Technology is changing at a rapid pace and clients are concerned with buying products because as soon as they purchase, it could be outdated. Built around an open and IT-friendly ecosystem, Q-SYS solves this issue because it’s extensible and as more capabilities and applications are developed, we deploy updates via firmware. Q-SYS is audio, video and control – clients can use Q-SYS to integrate with other hardware solutions they have selected for their meeting room or they can use Q-SYS as a standalone AVC processing solution. Our solution also fully integrates with third party devices.

I view our largest competitor as those that continue to do meeting rooms the way they have always done it, out of habit. We think differently at QSC and we want to help clients built meeting room spaces with less hardware and more functionality.

Consider that I used to have a printer at my desk and now I leverage a printer on the network. Why not take product out of meeting room and put it on the network to leverage the technology when you need it. Shared or pooled technology on the network to maximize ROI. This can only be done by utilizing a platform built around mainstream technologies that allow easy network integration, is flexible, upgradeable and extensible. Single purpose solutions are the way of the past – it’s all about the platform and improving the applications and capabilities around the platform.

For more information about Cory Schaeffer , please find a few links.

Twitter: @coryschaeffer




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