Diversity Blooms into Creativity in the AV Industry

During women’s history month, Pro AV Today podcast host Ben Thomas welcomed Kelly Perkins, Marketing Director at Kinly, to discuss the lack of diversity in the AV industry and investigate ways in which the industry can expand its reach. One significant challenge the industry faces is the lack of awareness within the general population.

This first hurdle is illustrated by the way in which most people, including Perkins, find their way into the profession. Perkins fell into the industry after being laid off in 2008 with virtually no experience. Having been a journalism major in college with a bit of broadcasting experience from a summer job, she was hired in marketing at an AV company.

She wasn’t sure how it would go but she needed a job and decided to give it go. Fourteen years later, she’s still in the industry.

“I love it. I love AV, the people, the technology. I love the way it changes. I love that it’s like this weird group of nerds who also somehow fell into it in some fashion or another. And it just kinda grabbed a hold of me and I can’t quite leave,” said Perkins.

When speaking about the lack of diversity of background, race and gender within the industry, she spoke to the fact that today’s AV industry was historically founded by a lot of mom-and-pop shops such as tv repair and car audio shops.

“Our industry originated from a lot of male-dominated type interests,” she said.

And in speaking about the future, Perkins spoke to how the industry needs to be “pulling from other sectors, pulling from other lives and experience and bringing in that new blood.” To get people from different genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, and experiences, “we have to be proactive about getting new people into the industry.”

One way to do this is through networking at events outside of the industry to bring awareness to the many different types of AV job openings within the industry including technical, sales, marketing, and operations. So many different opportunities and so many different types of roles.

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