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Setting the AV Stage, Part 2

Aug 9, 2011 12:18 PM, with Bennett Liles

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Well I guess the best thing is just to concentrate on doing your job right and let the accolades fall where they may.
Right and I'm very appreciative too. I don't want to…I want to make sure that is clear. It's a lot of gratitude. [Timestamp: 9:45]

And so we've got management and then we've got technical jobs—the nuts-and-bolts people. So in which of these AV areas do you see that women are playing the most prominent roles?
I think that probably traditionally they've been placed in more of the communications roles—maybe some of the more creative positions but honestly more and more I'm…I really…even just in the last…gosh, I think even just the last year, and I don't know if it's because of the economy or a shift in labor markets, but now when I go out on jobs it seems like I am seeing two maybe three technicians who are female who are either general laborer, set strike and it's been fun for me to see this transition. I know on LinkedIn there's a group of women in AV that's just been started and is picking up traction constantly so maybe it's the conversation that needed to be started ,but I have heard some horror stories of women in the industry—veteran professionals who have been told, "Oh sweetie you'll never do that." or "Oh that's not for women, you should be in the office." So maybe it's changing which is very encouraging I think. [Timestamp: 11:01]

Well I was going to ask as far as staging and AV company, how do you attract women into the tech side of the business? Do you find if they're interesting in that or do they have to be sort of persuaded that that may be the way to go?
Yeah and I think that this stems from just maybe…bigger issues. There have been many studies done that have shown obviously the aversion of females to math and science because they were generally told that math and science is for boys and I know Microsoft has done quite a bit of work encouraging young women. There are some…I have…I know of at least four organizations that are for young women in technology so my part and what I try to do is to go out and educate and that's part of that "AV girl" message of its…this technology is for everybody. You don't have to be a science whiz to get this. If you like technology—if there's something about it that appeals to you, there's no reason not to pursue it and so my message is really about, "Don't be intimidated—don't be afraid," and it's OK to go out and ask the questions even if you look dumb because I do it all the time so it works and if this is something that a young woman was interested in and wanted to pursue there's no reason not to do it. So for me it's really about going out and spreading that message, educating young women—my ultimate goal is to set up scholarships for…maybe through Infocom, I'm really not for sure yet how to do that, but I would love to set up scholarships for young women who wanted to pursue this career path and so at least enabling them that way. [Timestamp: 12:47]

So were there any specific tech jobs in your experience which is considerable…where you find that women just tend to naturally excel or be better at it?
Well I think we can be grateful to the theater industry for pulling in more women onto the tech side and I don't know…honestly I don't think there is any one area. I think that in my experience it's just wherever their passion lies whether it be lighting or sound. Truly you're starting to see some diversity—I know some incredible video engineers who are women so it's really across the board I would just say. Maybe it's…they do say I guess women tend to be better communicators so maybe that's where the fit is. I'm not really sure. [Timestamp: 13:32]

Well, I would think that one factor may be that they tend to learn faster because maybe they don't have quite the ego thing in there where they would be afraid to ask what they think might be dumb questions.
Yeah I've heard that before and so maybe that's where all of my dumb questioning is coming from. [Timestamp: 13:49]

Well Midori, it's certainly has been great having you here. This has been a real treat. I'm sorry we didn't connect at Infocomm, but I'm sure we'll get you back for the podcast very soon—Midori Connolly from Pulse Staging and Events in San Diego.
Absolutely, thank you so much for having me. This actually was really fun even though I was very nervous so thank you everyone for listening.

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