DSF Hands Out Women Scholarship And Educator Awards, And The Names Have Familiar Rings

April 3, 2018 by Dave Haynes

There were a couple of particularly nice little moments last week at the post-day one awards event at Digital Signage Expo – when a couple of people were recognized.

The Digital Signage Federation awarded the DSF Geri Wolff Scholarship for the 2017-18 year to Sonia Darlison, a student at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario. The scholarship, named after the woman who has done communications in this industry forever (she was in the press room, as always, last week) was started to raise awareness of digital signage as a career choice among qualified young women.

The women must be committed to a professional career in computer sciences and related technology and digital design fields. This award is also intended to help broaden employment diversity, by encouraging employers to hire qualified women in a variety of IT capacities.

DSF board member and High Street Collective co-founder Laura Davis-Taylor led the selection committee for the scholarship, and noted in her announcement that the already low percentage of women in the industry is actually down.

“We are so proud to have had so many strong candidates this year,” said Davis-Taylor. “Ms. Darlison represents the type of candidate we know will represent our industry in the future and she is clearly a wonderful example of the professional diversity we celebrate.”

Darlison is studying in the global business and digital arts program, working in multimedia development, UX and UI design, marketing, and business analysis. She gets an award of $2,000 to be applied to her academic fees for her senior year of study.

She is on academic exchange in Madrid and could not attend the awards. When the name was announced it took me a couple of minutes, and then I asked, “Is she Byron Darlison’s daughter?”

Yup. Digital signage runs in the family, as her Dad is a founder and lead propeller-head at the Canadian CMS software company Rise Vision.

Wolff matches donations out of her own pocket, and the DSF is steadily looking for contributors.

Alan Brawn

At the same event, the DSF named its first Educator of the Year as Alan C. Brawn, principal of Brawn Consulting. The award was handed out by Vice Chairman Spencer Graham, and at the same time, announced that it will be named after Brawn.

Future nominees for the DSF Alan C. Brawn Educator of the Year award, says the DSF, will have a proven track record of regularly presenting courses, seminars, educational sessions, articles, white papers, webinars and or other learning opportunities which promote a professional industry. 

“Alan has exemplified dedication to the craft of professional teaching and sharing of knowledge,” Graham said. “Through structured instruction to thoughtful white papers he exemplifies what it means to give of oneself to others.”

Just about anyone who has been in the industry for a bit knows Alan or has been in one of his courses. He has taught 1,000s of people at DSE, InfoComm and other trade shows and conferences. Brawn Consulting develops and runs the Digital Signage Experts Group’s certification programs. He was there last week, doing his thing to a full room.

Nice man who could be retired and slowed way down. But teaching is his passion.

Perfect guy to name the award after, and because I was sitting beside him after he went up to get the award, I know he was deeply touched by the recognition.

The funny thing is … after Alan, there’s his son, who also does a ton of teaching at trade shows, and then it drops right off in terms of people really focused on teaching in this sector. Tons of people talk regularly at conferences, but they’re not only doing so to educate, but also, understandably, for profile.

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