Commercial Integrator August 2023 - 12

MAKING WAVES
What AV Can Learn from Live Events
What happens when the female-dominated meeting and event-planning space collides with the
male-dominated AV industry? By Amanda Eberle
AS SOMEONE who has focused my career
within the technology space, I have come
to know, and unfortunately expect, that
there is a lack a female representation. It is
something that those of us who work in the
pro AV industry are pushing to change.
I work in, and am a leader within,
the live-events segment of the industry.
While systems integrators focus on fixed
installations, my team and I get to work
in the realm of the temporary. Working
in the short term, we utilize pro AV event
technology to build an event, execute the
vision, tear it down and do it all over again.
We thrive on the thrill and the rush of getting
everything built within a short amount
of time. We ride the high of executing the
vision of our clients, and we find solace
at the end of the event when we pack it
all up. To be able to do what we love, we
work with clients and partners in the meeting
and event-planner spaces.
The Polar Opposite
In terms of female representation, the
meeting and event-planner arena is the
opposite of where we are in pro AV. I
found the following statistic on Zippia:
Some 85.6% of meeting/event planners
are female, whereas 14.4% are male. The
primary people meeting planners must
work with when they partner with an AV
company represent a stark contrast. When
AV Chicago's co-owners, Andrew Brode
and Justin Frick, entered into conversations
with me to become their general manager,
I came to grips with this dichotomy for the
first time. Coming from the non-profit space
within the AV industry, I was hyper aware
of the gender disparity within our industry.
However, I had never thought of it from a
company-to-client perspective.
As the world began to open up postpandemic,
and as networking events started
to pick up again, I dove headfirst into
attending industry events. I was not only in a
new role, leading an organization, but also
in a new city. So, I wanted to get to know
the people in it and the potential/current
12
delivered. Every aspect of event planning
has its own expertise and specialties, and
every component - except AV - has
majority-female representation. Unfortunately,
technology fields in general have
the stigma of being a " boys club, " with the
underlying assumption that women just
don't understand.
In a recent ILEA Coffee & Conversation
Gender should never be a factor in how you
communicate with or treat an individual.
clients of my new organization. Based on
the majority of my career so far, I had grown
used to networking events where I was one
of the few females in attendance. But the
events I had the privilege of attending were
majority-female. It was like a breath of fresh
air. I felt honored that the industry peers I
met welcomed me, and I felt connected to
a different group of event professionals.
Addressing & Presenting Solutions
As I started prospecting and meeting new
people, I began to feel more comfortable
addressing and presenting solutions for
events from an AV perspective. We, as an
organization, have the opportunity to work
on an array of applications - everything
from intricate lighting designs that add
texture and atmosphere to a corporate
conference, to curated content on an LED
wall, to well-executed AV at elegant galas
to help raise money for important causes.
Our meeting and event-planner clients
are tasked with being experts in all elements
of their events, empowering them
to deliver for and delight their guests. With
that, they are responsible for transportation/parking
plans, arranging tablescapes
and d├ęcor, and catering for an array of
dietary needs. And because almost every
event involves presenting content, there's
my favorite: outfitting the AV so the event's
purpose and message can be successfully
Commercial Integrator AUGUST 2023
event in Chicago, I had the opportunity
to sit around the table with an esteemed
group of women. They happened to be
mostly meeting planners. As a group,
these women are responsible not only for
the budgets of their events but also for
which vendors are selected. All know what
they are looking for when it comes to their
events, as well as the AV outcomes that
their clients or they are looking for. They
have worked not only to educate themselves
on what various gear is but also to
understand what it does. The number of
times that they've felt talked down to by a
male AV salesperson is infuriating. To me,
it's also just sad.
Tool to Augment & Enhance
AV event technology is a tool to augment
and enhance attendee experiences. It is a
creative art of its own, and it's a critical part
of any event. A message to all industry professionals:
The gender of a partner should
never be a factor in how you communicate
with or treat an individual. We can only
succeed when we all work together to accomplish
event goals. As a female leader
for an event-production company, I look
for ways to carry the torch to be a trusted
partner with my meeting and eventplanner
peers. I also strive to enforce, and
educate on, a transparent model of pricing
and doing business.
Without trust between valued partners
and clients, we lose our ability to transform
AV into a meaningful event experience.
Amanda Eberle is general manager of
AV Chicago. In addition, she is treasurer
of WAVIT.
commercialintegrator.com
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Commercial Integrator August 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator August 2023

Commercial Integrator August 2023 - Cover1
Commercial Integrator August 2023 - Cover2
Commercial Integrator August 2023 - 1
Commercial Integrator August 2023 - 2
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