Audiovisual industry trade shows like InfoComm, ISE, and the upcoming CEDIA Expo provide a whirlwind of enticing glimpses into the future of technology, the ever-present Internet of Things, and the current status of the industry.

In the course of a regular day at KMB Communications, our hard-working PR, content marketing, social media, and SEO team scour the ‘net, reading articles, listening to podcasts and searching social media posts to find common threads. Following InfoComm, we asked industry veterans, peers, and members of the media for their InfoComm15 highlights. We got many fun and fascinating responses, but out of all of them, this one really got my attention.

And who am I? My name is LaRae and I’m a newbie on the KMB team, coming to the industry by way of video games. Not playing them — helping to create them. I’m a producer, developer, and a keen manager that keeps people and projects on schedule. I started working with KMB a few months ago, bringing my rather compulsive need for organization and my ability to “efficientize” process to the talented team of strategists, writers, and industry veterans already working for KMB Communications. I also, occasionally, write.

When I first began working with KMB, I was impressed by the number of women I was interacting with. With the country’s focus on women’s rights, the drive to get a woman on our paper currency, and the recognition of the need for equal pay for equal work, I felt that the AV industry was miles ahead of where I came from. The video game industry can sometimes be a hostile place for women (although that is changing) and I was so pleased to see that didn’t seem to be the case here. Look at the Commercial Integrator 40-under-40 Class of 2015 and you’ll see a lot of women gracing the page, standing alongside some equally talented men.

There are Women in AV,  Women in CE, and even Women in Home Automation organizations that offer education, insight, career development opportunities, and mentorship to help women feel confident and capable in the workplace. However, we all know looks can often be deceiving.

The AV industry has made incredible strides with regard to the equality of men and women in the workplace (hooray!), but it has a way to go, as Johnny Mota shared with us when asked what he found to be the most inspiring thing he took away from InfoComm15. We can’t wait to see how it compares to CEDIA Expo, taking place in October.

We were so moved by his response, we asked him if we could publish it here.

Johnny Mota’s Femme-prediction

Like so many trade shows do, InfoComm 2015 had lots to showcase and offer, from new and interesting technology to “more of the same” & “me too(s).”

I could easily say that brand X is superior to brand Y because “boring nerd speak” and provide “technical jargon” data to prove why that scenario would be true. However, I feel that that my top pick, or most promising thing that I saw at InfoComm was some of the people; more specifically, a lot of the women I was able to meet and speak with at the show.

From the women who are leading top companies, to some of our industry’s Rising Stars, to some brand new faces, I saw a glimpse into the future of where our industry is headed, and who will lead it.

As an industry led by men stuck in their ways, we don’t typically see a lot of women working with us. When we do, I’m told that pay isn’t equal, and therefore unfair. So why would there be women in this old-school mentality driven industry?

There has been a lot of growth with regard to the women in technology over the last few years, and it was rather refreshing to see it. In case you’re unaware, women are just as smart as men, they’re just as skilled, and they are just as inspirational, too.

There are two women, in particular, who inspired me at the show.

One is a programmer (far more intelligent than I) who spoke at the “Women of InfoComm” council and told me how she was able to get others on the brink of leaving the industry–just quitting!–to reconsider, get CTS-certified, and move forward.

The other is a young woman who is graduating from college (again smarter than yours truly), who’s received multiple job offers out west and was weighing her options. She asked me for my opinion (not that it matters), so she could make her best informed decision. Both women were so excited to be at Infocomm, and both attendees were there for the first time.

So, what did they both have in common? They have drive and ambition, with no sense of entitlement. And we spoke on equal footing, no one “better” or “worse” than the other.

They are our unsung heroines. They are the leaders not only of tomorrow, but of today. True thought leaders, although that phrase is often over-used.

I am truly excited to see where they will take the industry, how they will shape the next leaders, and what they will create for the future.

Meeting these women was my top InfoComm15 experience.

Also, R2D2 was cool.”

– Johnny Mota
rAVe Publications / AV InsiderPodcast Host / Integrator /Blogger

So, what do you think? Has the AV industry progressed to a point where men and women are on more equal ground? Could it be the AV community is more seamlessly integrated than we think? How will CEDIA Expo compare?

Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.