Charmaine Torruella puts the power in empower. For more than 18 years, this passionate problem solver has helped IT and AV clients collaborate and build community. As Verrex’s global services account manager, Torruella provides the structural and technological roadmaps to support global growth. Integral to her mission of delivering exceptional experiences is expanding opportunities for AV/IT professionals. Because diversity is both a cultural advantage and a business growth driver, Torruella is dedicated to cultivating a more inclusive AV industry.
To that end, Torruella serves as the chairperson for the AVIXA Diversity Council. With 150 dynamic members worldwide, this council oversees the initiatives to increase the Diversity workers in AV and execute programs towards their development and accreditation.
It has never been more important to understand the nuances, opportunities, and best practices for workplace diversity. AVIXA members attending InfoComm 2019 in Orlando wishing to learn more about this important topic should attend the session, “Diversity in AV: Overcoming Unconscious Bias” on Tuesday, June 11, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m., located at the Orange County Convention Center’s Chapin Theater. Torruella has engaged with Justin Watts, CTS, global service delivery manager, Facebook, and John Sheldon, deployment engineering manager, Facebook, to participate in a panel discussion. “I’m excited to say that over 400 people have already signed up to attend this session,” said Torruella.
Just how did Torruella become involved with the AVIXA Diversity Council? The Council members asked her a few questions:
Q: What is your mission for the diversity council?
Charmaine Torruella: The mission for the Diversity Council is to create more diversity with the AV sector by reaching out to diverse peoples interested in AV educational assistance and mentoring, AV information, and the continuous enrichment of their knowledge and careers and organizations to promote, of purposefully diverse.
Q: How did you get involved in taking on the volunteer role of council chair?
CT: I got involved in taking on the chair role in a very understated manner. I was asked if I would like to do some volunteer work for AVIXA in which I said yes. After the AVIXA team approached me with the opportunity based on information they had received about me from people within the industry and my passion for educating people about the importance of diversity in work culture, they felt I would be a good fit.
Q: How did you get into the AV Industry, and what were your first impressions?
CT: I got into the AV industry while I was in the IT industry, partnering with a major AV integrator for a few Fortune 500 clients. My IT clients were looking to implement video solutions into their conference rooms to minimize spend and travel after the 9/11 attacks. Because the requests became more frequent, moving completely to the AV industry made sense.
Q: What does diversity mean to you, and how do you see it in the AV industry?
CT: Diversity means allowing Black, Latin, Asian, women, LGBT, physically and mentally disabled and others who are a small presence in a community to experience a more enriching work environment that includes their perspectives and gives accreditation for their performance and talents. In AV, that means allowing more opportunity to provide those groups to grow into roles that will enable them to become leaders and affect advancement in their careers and respective companies.
Q: Tell us a little about your day job and what you love about it.
CT: I provide managed services globally to clients. Pretty much helping them support their AV spaces with competent people, materials, and resources. What I love about it is that I get to solve the equation for clients.
Q: How was the mission statement created?
CT: The mission stated was created collectively. It started with Rick Hoar [executive director, media & event technology services] from FIT (SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology) cobbling a statement and posing it to the Council for feedback. In the feedback, we made some minor tweaks and formulated the mission statement of the Council. Although there was some debate as to how long or short it should be, I pushed to have us go with it, and in time we will continue to develop the statement as we take on more initiatives and new agendas are added.
Q: What do you envision for the diversity council five years from now?
CT: Five years from now, I see the council having a deeper presence globally in the AV industry. We are catching attention. People are taking notice. I also see a few co-chairs in that future as well as a diversity education program. I also see us brokering deeper relationships with other sectors such as IT, cybersecurity, network, etc.
To join the Council or to learn more about its events, check out the AVIXA Diversity Council page.