Covering InfoComm 2015 – The Women of InfoComm Network: Part 2, Inspiration and Aspirations

This is a continuation of Covering InfoComm 2015 – The Women of InfoComm Network: Part 1, The WIN Breakfast.

Upon meeting with Sam Horn at the Breakfast, after a short discussion with her I asked if she wouldn’t mind sending me a statement about her thoughts concerning WIN and the event, and here is what she said:

What a pleasure it was being part of the Women’s Networking Breakfast at InfoComm.

The goal of my program was to focus on how women can stop taking themselves out of the game by being too humble for their own good.

Learn from my son Tom Horn, who landed his dream job with NASA, because he gave himself a competitive edge by referencing an achievement that gave him a competitive edge and helped him be one-of-a-kind instead one-of-many.

Don’t wait … initiate on your own behalf.

Lessons-learned in our head serve no one.

Don’t step back … step up and speak up to create the career you want, need and deserve.

Think about someone who has made a difference for you – via one of the 4 E’s of Leadership – Example, Encouragement, Excellence, Education. Choose to do for someone else what someone did for you.

Leadership is not about title – it’s making a difference for others – and each of us has an opportunity and obligation to do that every single day.

In doing so, we create a “rising tide raises all boats” that positively impacts the people around us.

That’s the spirit and purpose of the Women’s Council and the Networking Breakfast at InfoComm and it was a joy to be part of it.

I quoted Katherine Graham of the Washington Post at the beginning of my program, “To do what you love and feel that it matters, how could anything be more fun?”

The only thing that could be more fun is to do what you love, feel that it matters, and get to do it with people you enjoy and respect.

THAT’S what happened Thursday morning in that room …:-)

This leads me to the next event of the morning, the WIN Council Meeting which followed immediately after the breakfast. In January of this year, the formation of the Women of InfoComm Network Council was announced, with Erin Bolton, VP of Digital Solutions at MarketStar (now Group Account Director at MRM/McCann) named as its Chair. Jane Johnson, Managing Partner, Strategic Content at Pivot Communications and Kelly Perkins, Marketing and Communications Manager at AVI Systems are two high-level volunteers for the council.

The Council’s message:

If you are an InfoComm International® member who wants to support women in our industry — whether you’re a woman or a man — you are invited to join this council.

The Council’s mission:

To provide a global community of InfoComm members and other professionals committed to supporting and empowering women who work in the technology and AV industry.

When the meeting began four people were at the dais – Erin Bolton, Jane Johnson, Kelly Perkins, and the Council’s special invited guest speaker Hope Roth, an AV industry programmer (who is Crestron certified) with Riordan Brothers Integration. Erin, Jane and Kelly all took their turns to deliver messages concerning the council’s mission and activities, as well as to encourage participation through joining the Council – which can be done here. These three influential women in the industry had no doubt already taken this effort from formation to launch, which was highly evident that day.

Hope speech

While many in attendance at the Breakfast and Council meeting were certainly familiar with them, it was Hope whom those in attendance at the Council meeting would be getting to know more about. Hope has herself become known to certain areas of the industry through her participation in various podcast shows (including our AV Power Up), so her knowledge, talent (and fun side) have been recognized through this. Here though, all would be hearing the inspirational messages that Hope would be delivering directly to this WIN Council meeting audience in a speech with the theme “Take Your Lane” discussing career, industry certifications and more. 

This was certainly Hope’s moment to deliver for women and the industry, and here it is: (video of Hope’s speech).

Hope speech 3

What I also noticed after the meeting was over were those meeting with Hope at the dais to discuss, among other things, obtaining their CTS certification. She is working with Christa Bender of Applied Video Technology to bring more awareness to industry CTS certification as well as the formation of a Study Group – you can find out more and get in on the conversation on LinkedIn Why Get Certified? Hope also wrote her own blog on the WIN Council and added her themed message to it – Lean In, Step Up, Take Your Lane.

In Part 1, I said that you would read about some thoughts (and possible golden moments). I asked a few of the women who attended to give me their perspectives on the Breakfast as well as the Council meeting and here are the responses that I received:

Gina Sansivero with FSR Inc.: “I have looked forward to attending the Women of InfoComm Networking Event each year since it began as a full day event in 2013. It is one of the highlights of my hectic InfoComm week and this year it did not disappoint. With over 200 attendees and a keynote by Sam Horn (her second in as many years) I walked away having connected with colleagues I would have never met otherwise and with a refreshing motivation that had been a bit dormant given the stress and craziness of the first and second quarters of 2015 business.

I am looking forward to becoming more involved in the Women of InfoComm council as it begins to build membership. The one thing I intend to commit to this year is the CTS study group that WIN has developed. Having a study group to discuss challenges and experiences will ensure I continue on the path to obtain my CTS- something I have wanted to do for a long time but have continually put off. I am looking forward to learning about other WIN initiatives as the year progresses.”

Victoria Ferrari with Synergy CT: “My initial thoughts on a specialized group for a minority were, ‘If we want to be treated as equals, why would we have a special girl’s only club?’ I was quickly self-corrected when I walked into the Women of Infocomm Network breakfast. The room was full of both men and women, and backed by Infocomm, was an amazing event where I got to network with new people I may have not met any other way.

The council meeting was opened by Hope Roth with an inspiring testimony of her journey in our industry, from plugging in VGA cables all the way to Crestron certified programmer. Erin Bolton went on to explain plans, events, even Linkedin conversation topics, like mentoring and certification. It was refreshing to see a council with a plan for the future. I’ve had my CTS for 3 years, just renewed, but after the meeting I feel ready to tackle the CTS-D. I walked away with new friends and new aspirations.”

Rachel Kennedy with teampeople: “I was unexpectedly energized by The Women in Technology Breakfast at InfoComm ’15. Speakers at an early conference event can be a tough sell! The room was packed; everyone was actively jotting notes and engaged. Sam Horn spoke to core values that I think most women would like to and need to hear from a business mentor. She shared thoughtful, encouraging, practical tips on how to position yourself, compete, step back when needed and how to set things in motion. She gave some powerful examples of how we need to recognize the opportunities to share knowledge to be able to make a difference for someone else.”

All in all, I’m sure many in attendance were convinced that the Breakfast and Council Meeting were ultimate successes. We all learned a lot about the present state of women in the AV industry, those who’ve succeeded as well as those who show great promise, and the bold messages concerning stepping up to create the career you want, need and deserve. It certainly looks to be a promising future, as the Council moves forward with what is no doubt a well-built foundation.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s 2010 TED Talk (which I mentioned in WIN Part 1): Why we have too few women leaders.

Sam Horn’s book Got Your Attention?: How to Create Intrigue and Connect with Anyone was signed by Ms. Horn and given to attendees at the Breakfastit’s a must read.

Here is the Women of InfoComm Network website.

Find out more about the Women of InfoComm Network on LinkedIn here.

Use #ICWomen when tweeting about the Women of InfoComm Network.

My thanks to Sam, Gina, Victoria and Rachel for their contributions to this blog.