Mad About AV: Why Mad Is Glad about the Women in AV

Whoever said AV was a man’s world never met these five thought leaders. Tricia Rodriguez, CEO of Mad Systems, Toni Losier, Business Development Manager at Mad Systems, Lisa Jey Schanley, Director of Global Business Development for Technomedia, Jenni Ogden, President & Exec Producer, Eye Q Productions and COO and Co-founder, at 4D Fun, and Cybelle Jones, CEO of the Society for Experiential Graphic Design took over the Mad About AV podcast for a lively and enlightened discussion on the state of AV in 2021 from the female perspective.

It was apparent to the group that the pandemic was the overarching factor shaping AV in 2021. With most concerts and events moving from live to virtual, online AV solutions have gained a lot of ground in the past year. But some of the trends and shifts Jones saw as inevitable.

“This is an evolution of how technology has been interfacing with the physical environment, and now we’ve had to pivot even more quickly,” Jones said.

Schanley said remote work was already coming to light in business but now is an everyday norm.

“People were starting to do that. At my former job, in 2019, we worked from home one day a week,” Schanley said. “But everybody’s remote now. And how that impacted AV was in how companies ramped up their capabilities to be able to allow their employees to work from home with secure networks and things like that.”

Rodriguez pointed out the consequences of businesses moving workers to remote situations. Cameras for virtual meetings are hard to come by.

“It’s been a challenge for us out in the AV field to get a hold of some products. A lot of computers, too, and screens and monitors. These are all shorthanded, because they are being purchased in large quantities to make sure everyone has what they need to work from home,” Rodriguez said.

Ogden mentioned the dynamic possibilities to reach large audiences through virtual experiences never before tried before the pandemic. Now, musical acts that once performed for thousands are reaching millions.

“I think these kinds of experiences are not going to go away,” Ogden said.

And as for the AV industry as a whole, how are women impacting things in 2021? The panel agreed that, while there are plenty of women involved in AV’s business side, there is a lack of women pursuing the technology side, and they’d love to see that change.

“I think women out there don’t understand or know there’s an opportunity to do that,” Losier said. “Yes, there are plenty of business development and marketing women out there, but actual technicians and programmers and engineers that are women are very few.”

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