Women in AV/IT Forms With Goal Of Making Industries Safer And More Inclusive

January 17, 2023 by Dave Haynes

If you have spent any time in the pro AV industry, you’ll know that the gender mix is very much like it is in much of the tech sector – VERY male-dominant.

That’s been slowly changing, and while Sales and Marketing, HR and Finance still seem to be the main executive level jobs in this sector held by women, I also know or have met women working at manufacturers, integration and solutions companies in very senior technical and operations roles.

Some of the women already in those roles want to use their experience, insights and business ties to grow their overall numbers in AV and IT and make the industry look more like the general workforce, in terms of gender numbers. They’ve formed Women in AV/IT (WAVIT), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that says it will be dedicated to supporting and empowering women in the AV and IT industries through education, representation, and inclusion.

“The idea came to us a few years ago during a virtual happy hour. We were discussing how women make up a fraction of the ProAV industry and how we wanted to change that. So, we decided to do something about it,” says Brandy Alvarado-Miranda, one of the group’s co-founders and CEO of BAM! Marketing & PR Agency. “We need a firm headwind to grow those numbers, and we chose to be our own headwind through WAVIT. Our intention is to provide a space for all AV and IT professionals to band together to make this industry a safer and more inclusive space.”

The announcement says:

The new group will focus on education, recruiting and retaining women in the AV and IT industries, and opportunities for leadership and recognition. WAVIT is set to provide a plethora of mentorship opportunities, resources for sexual harassment, and will focus on creating more speaking and thought leadership opportunities for women. The organization’s leadership also has plans to work with STEM groups to recruit young women into the ProAV and IT industries.

“Our organization is going to focus on filling in the gap—complementing industry resources and offering tools to create strong and focused initiatives,” adds Gina Sansivero, co-founder of WAVIT and vice president of marketing and corporate communications at AtlasIED. “We want to be bold. We’re here to make ripples that create waves.”

The founding board members include:

Cory Schaeffer, who retired from QSC in June 2022, will serve as ex-officio advisor to the board.

“WAVIT grew from a group of like-minded women looking to move the needle towards more equity and representation in the AV/IT landscape. We know that women are looking for mentorship opportunities for both career and personal growth, as well as general support,” says Carroll, who will serve as president. “As president of WAVIT Board, my goal is to create programs and initiatives with an emphasis on education and establishing career pathways.”

“Join us in making waves,” adds Alvarado-Miranda. “Membership is open to all individuals—women, men, agender, cisgender, binary or nonbinary, transgender, or anyone who may identify with a gender not listed here. The term ‘women’s’ association should not sway you from joining as all are welcome regardless of gender.”

An annual individual membership to WAVIT is $50. Founding memberships are available for $29 until April 30, 2023. The organization’s founders believe in lowering the barriers to entry and scholarships are available to those who cannot afford the membership fee. For more information on joining WAVIT, visit womeninavit.org.

The group is also open to partner alliances with other trade associations, organizations, and media companies that want to champion women in the workplace. To learn more about partnerships with WAVIT, contact Susan Wilhite at Susan.Wilhite@snapone.com

Another organization called Women In AV has been active for several years. Its role appears quite similar to this new entity, but I am told WAVIT is its own thing. There is also the AVIXA Women’s Council, run by the pro AV trade association.

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