Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 70

DEI
Taking Action
He also calls out the lack of HR departments
in other companies. " It is not an easy or
comfortable conversation, " Kaufmann
explains. " So, one of our goals is getting
others to participate in these initiatives. But
a lot of our members are small organizations
that don't have internal resources. " He
adds that the council, in essence, becomes
the go-to resource for such companies.
" We are not just saying, 'You need to pay
attention to this,' " Kaufman clarifies, " but
also saying, 'If you need help, here's the
help you can get.' "
This is where an organization like
livingHR has a major role to play. " Small
companies that don't have HR departments
are not able to hire [positions like] a chief
diversity officer, " Kaufmann continues.
" So, we brought in livingHR to work with
our members and be available to these
companies. "
Angelopulos, director of employee
relations and safety with AVI-SPL, echoes
Kaufmann's statements. " One of the
reasons we brought in livingHR is because
we wanted someone to show us the ropes,
build the architecture and be a leader for
our industry in this area, " she proclaims.
And, in fact, AVI-SPL has now been working
with the agency for more than 18 months.
According to LaSalata, director of brand
strategy with AVI-SPL, it emerged as the
" ...professional that provided the framework
and tools... " for the industry leader,
headquartered in Tampa, Fla.
A Guiding Force
Kaufmann adds that livingHR, along with
the NSCA DEI Action Council, provides
workshops and documentation to help
members develop different kinds of
engagement, which are customizable
depending on company size and complexity.
" The idea of our workshops is to
get people to understand the necessity of
those [tough] conversations, " he expounds.
Presently, NSCA members can participate
in a tiered " livingHR + NSCA Exclusive Partnership
Solutions " program that enables
them to take quantitative steps toward
transforming their company culture.
But, for Angelopulos, livingHR has
emerged as more than merely a consultant;
it is also a guiding force. She reveals that the
agency was heavily involved in the first stages
of building out the structure. However, as
AVI-SPL began to implement the workshops
and strategies, livingHR transitioned to
working according to the company's evolving
needs. " They do as much or as little as
you need, " Angelopulos emphasizes. When
asked how the partnership works, she cites
an example of when livingHR attended
a regional leadership meeting and held
workshops on DEI strategies, led the deep
conversations that matter most to diverse
employees and offered in-depth diversity-recruiting
training with regional leaders.
According to LaSalata, this collaborative
'DEI is a business
necessity, an ethical
necessity and an
employee-engagement
necessity.'
- Heidi LaSalata, AVI-SPL
70
partnership also helps the team prioritize
day-to-day responsibilities, without
minimizing efforts to achieve DEI. " It's a
challenge to make [DEI] a priority when you
have 'day job priorities,' and perhaps that
is why some companies are slow to adopt
it, " she notes. LaSalata then adds that,
regardless, making DEI a priority is the right
thing to do. " It also [positively] impacts our
employer brand, recruitment and retention, "
she declares.
Indeed, DEI helps boost businesses
whose prospective clients and employees
seek companies that value them and champion
their values. " Our customers want to
see it, and they're asking us to include it
in our proposals and bids, " LaSalata says,
" [DEI] is a business necessity, an ethical
necessity and an employee-engagement
necessity. " Angelopulos agrees, referring
to a recent sales team meeting during
Commercial Integrator SEPTEMBER 2022
'We hope that DEI
efforts in recruiting will
impact and increase
the diverse pool of
applicants for the
industry.'
- Stephanie
Angelopulos, AVI-SPL
which the client inquired about AVI-SPL's
DEI program. " It's important to us, and it's
important to our clients now more than
ever, " she states.
Overcoming Challenges
The NSCA DEI Action Council and livingHR,
along with NSCA members, have made
tremendous strides. But all three interviewees
recognize that certain challenges
remain, and they create roadblocks on the
path toward progress. Kaufmann alludes to
the lack of diversity in the talent pool as one
such challenge. This state of the workforce
is not a new one for the AV industry, which
has long been known for being a bubble-like
environment. Generally speaking,
nearly everyone in this vast industry has
discovered it by accident. To add to this,
white men over the age of 30 encompass a
substantial majority of the AV workforce.
" It has always been a historic problem, "
Kaufmann remarks. " That's why a lot of people
are asking us to address it at the gradeschool
level. " According to him, although
there are certainly several programs to
help companies be inclusive internally, the
toughest aspect centers on the efforts to
recruit talent with intentionality. " That sums
up our issues, " Angelopulos offers.
Angelopulos and LaSalata spotlight
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Commercial Integrator September 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator September 2022

Commercial Integrator September 2022 - Cover1
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Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 1
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