Thank You 2012!

wallpaper-2013It’s hard for me to believe this is the second time I am writing the Women in AV annual wrap-up! It still feels like yesterday when I was at InfoComm 2011 in Orlando thinking how much I would love if we had a women’s group where we could all come together and be there for each other.  Fast-forward 18 months and the amazing success for us WAVE!!

It’s beyond my heart’s belief to think we will be returning to InfoComm 2013 this year in Orlando where everything that mattered to me came to be, in many ways.  She probably doesn’t remember, but, I was walking in the hallway we all know between the Peabody Hotel and the Convention Center the first day of the show and who did I run into — none other than CorySchaeffer of Listen Technologies.

We hadn’t seen or talked with each other since InfoComm100 in 2010 and it was one of those moments I look back on and think – things that are meant to be will always be. She is and has been one of the driving forces for the Women in AV and a true inspiration and mentor to what we can all hope and accomplish someday as a woman, if we so choose to.

As last year, I am excited and thrilled to reflect and think about what we accomplished together, to make the women who came before us proud, to take our own destinies in our hands about how we will be remembered, and to provide amazing role models and examples for the young ladies who will follow in our footsteps about who and what they can be if that’s the path they follow.  It truly was an amazing year and I can’t wait to see how far we go in 2013 for not only the women in AV, but, our industry as a whole. If there is one thing I have always seen from the professionals who make up our industry; we are tenacious, adaptable, and forward thinking.  Let alone the kindest and most helpful people I am honored to work with.

So, here’s a run-down of what we accomplished in 2012 for WAVE and what I hope you are as proud of as I am to be part of your team.

AV/IT Convergence:  This is a continuing theme for the future of our industry and we will only continue to have to position ourselves so we can dominate this sector.  We have to stay abreast of the changes, the new technologies, and standards that are evolving (BICSI,ITU-T, video standards, Cat-??).  Let’s face it, we have always and will always care more and must know more about how our technologies play with each other.  IT doesn’t have to nor do they need to know our business.  Their core business is not going anywhere (data, security, and packets).  Unless you are Cisco, whom I personally wish would stay out of places they don’t know.  Think UMI VTC, Altitude Audio/Web Conferencing (now MeetingPlace x.x), and the Flip camera.

That said, the Women in AV understand the importance and the value of what our industries bring to each other and how we can partner together to make a difference in the world.  That’s the thing: when you do it for all the right reasons, amazing things happen with little trying on your part.

WAVE is an original and ongoing partner with CompTIA’s Advancement of Women in IT (AWIT).  Our organizations share the same mission and I’ve been working closely with the director since its inception in February 2012, Cathy Alper, about how women in AV and IT can help each other to lead the convergence and teach each other about our industries.  Expect to see more from us in 2013 and if you have not signed up for (AWIT), do so here.

Second, and most unexpected, was the collaboration between the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) and the AV industry.  It was through the heartbreak and heart-felt desire to help with Hurricane Sandy that I saw the greatest of AV/IT convergence come together and will continue in the future.  Through social media, I saw JD SystemsAccess Networks, and others who just wanted to help people get solutions that would help them to recover and rebuild.  All said and done, WAVE, rAVeDISH Networks, and so many came together to form a long-term relationship where we will bring all our resources to bear to help those whose lives are torn apart by natural disaster.  I was and am awed to see our industry step up selflessly for those who need our help.  We now have a database of both AV/IT skills for everyone to sign up if you can help in the future – it’s not if, but, when a natural disaster strikes.  Get involved here.

This is where I think women may have an understanding about how to create business that men may not because we are not trying to.  I was never looking for a payout or thinking what will this do to help my business or me.  I just wanted to help and saw others that did, too.  Through that, though, we have accomplished an AV/IT collaboration that no one else has and I know it will continue to grow in 2013 and beyond.  Which just reinforces to me, do what you love and the rest will take care of itself.

There’s so much more I have to tell you about 2012 and what we accomplished.  Stay tuned!!!  According to my notes, we have about eight more areas to elaborate on!  And, we’ve been started on what our goals are for 2013 since last year as well!

We could not have done or continue to support the Women in AV without our sponsors, rAVe [Publications], FSR, Inc., and AlmoPro A/V.  Our amazing planning board works crazy volunteer hours all year — Laureen Jones, Kelly Perkins, Jan Sandri, and CorySchaeffer.  And, our trade organizations NSCA and InfoComm International are big contributors to our success.

Thank you to everyone; we are such an amazing team.  We stand out hands down because both the women and men in our industry support and encourage the involvement and advancement of women in our industry.  I want to call it STEAM.  Personally, I think we deserve our own acronym.  Don’t you?

Here are some facts for you to take with you into 2013:

  • We doubled our numbers in 2012 for WAVE and are now 514 members worldwide on LinkedIn from 248 at this time last year
  • We launched the rAVe RADIO WAVEcast and had seven episodes of amazing women;
  • We traveled to 4 cities nationwide with AlmoPro A/V E4 Tour to support the regional and local outreach to inspire WAVE;
  • We launched the industry’s first Women in AV demographic survey to capture who exactly WAVE are and had a 15 year-old take and ask if we are ready for her?! – take it here;
  • We sold out both our InfoComm and NSCA events at InfoComm12 for the number of people who attended;
  • We had our first industry-wide AV Holiday Party and second annual WAVE Tweet-Up with over 13 cities participate – more to come next year;
  • We awarded our first ever WAVE Mentor of the Year Award to Alexis LaBroi from AVI-SPL;
  • We launched the first industry-wide mentoring program for WAVE;
  • We raised over $2.5K for Southern Nevada Children First supporting youth and homeless women in the Las Vegas area;
  • We launched our website WAVEPinterestFacebook, and saw our Twitter account grow to over 1,600 followers;
  • And, we launched the industry’s first ever WAVE demographic survey.  Please take it and share if you have not here!

A few things we are working on for 2013 that we are very proud of and you should watch for!!!

Here are some new initiatives for you to take with you into 2013 beyond all of what we will continue to:

  • We are thrilled to announce Kramer Electronics will be sponsoring a monthly Women in AV webinar series to bring you both cutting edge technical knowledge and career advancement information;
  • And, we will be offering local WAVE chapter opportunities for the WAVE who are interested in starting their own initiatives and goals!!

Thank you for everything you do and I am both excited and a ..little… overwhelmed… for what we will set out on our journey for 2013!!  We truly are WAVEmazing!!