A new Mentoring Programme designed to help retain, support and raise the profiles of women working in the AV industry has been announced this evening (July 26).
A year in the making, the new programme is the brainchild of Sadie Groom (standing, right), who is the MD of PR, marketing and events firm Bubble Agency and a passionate advocate for supporting and encouraging women to succeed in the AV industry.
Following a similar model to Rise – a programme also launched by Groom advocating diversity within the broadcast manufacturing sector – the new Mentoring Programme will offer members (mentees) access to a group of (as yet named) advisors (mentors) as and when they need it. Membership will be free.
“The scheme will have a network of advisors that people can tap into if required.” explained Groom, who launched the scheme during tonight’s quarterly WAVE event at London’s 1 Wimpole Street venue in front of 80-plus people.
“This will range from simple advice about a current work situation to interview training and legal support if need be. It will also be up to the mentor to come to us if he or she feels any additional support is required that they can’t help with."
Raising your profile
Another key focus will to help raise the profile of individuals, not only within their pwn company, but to the industry as a whole, something Groom says will help to create more female role models.
Groom, who will work alongside Carrie Wootten (programme director at Rise), labelled its key objectives, as follows:
- AV sector is predominantly male – especially at the end user level
- Raise the profile of women in the AV sector through promotion of the scheme and participants
- Support women either mid-career or wanting to get into the sector
- Mentees to learn more about other parts of the sector and increase network
- Give mentees the confidence and tools needed to rise up the career ladder
- Encourage women to join the sector
- Stop women from leaving the sector
- Encourage reverse mentoring
AVTE, alongside other AV titles and groups (see image) – including the AV User Group – has become an official supporter for the programme, and will work closely with Groom and her team to help achieve its goals.
“We will be promoting them through what we do with the scheme in traditional marketing terms – website, articles, social etc. Secondly we will be encouraging them all to speak on panels, at events and to do more networking. For some women this can bring on nightmares however for certain women they are going to need to do it if they want to go further up the career path.
“The impact for the programme for me would be to have a group of women that feel confident in their career path with the tools to know how to grow professionally and be excited about the sector they work in.”
What to expect
Communications between mentors and mentees will be provided through a series of methods.
These include monthly meetups between mentors and mentees, events (including guest speakers), and a dedicated WhatsApp Group, speaking directly to either Carrie (group leader) or directly to their mentor.
The first event is scheduled to take place in December – with Groom alongside support from the AV User Group, seeking out potential sponsors and recommended mentors. An event/meeting is also expected to take place during ISE in Amsterdam during February.
“We feel that manufacturers, distributors, service companies and dealers will all benefit from sponsoring the mentoring programme,” explained Groom. “In today’s world companies need to get involved in the diversity and inclusion issue – it is a real one and they need to not only drive the issue forward but be part of the change that is happening.
“The sponsors will be part of the programme and invited to meet with the mentees and mentors at many events throughout the programme. Their branding will be prominent throughout the marketing and it will provide a big tick in the box for any companies CSR requirements.”
Groom concluded: “Coming into the AV sector six years ago I hardly knew anyone and a WAVE meeting was the first thing I went to meet people. Since then I have met many of my industry contacts through these meetings and learnt a whole lot of things from the sessions that they host. For me boosting the amount of women in the AV sector is crucial to the future of the industry. As women we are half of the audience of customers for these companies and that needs to be reflected in the people working in the sector.
“I truly believe in Geena Davis mantra that if you can see it you can be it – so the more women we have in senior positions will encourage women to join the sector – it’s a great one full of fun people, involving lots of travel if you want it and great technology so why wouldn’t you want to join?"