2019 was a historic year for women across the United States. For the first time in U.S. history, women now make up half of the college-educated workforce, and a record number of women were elected to the house of representatives.
The AVIXA Women’s Council (AWC) also contributed to the significant advancements women made this year. I had the privilege of speaking with AVIXA Women’s Council chair, Brandy Alvarado, and as we discussed her favorite moments from 2019, she reflected on the monumental turnout for the annual AWC Infocomm Breakfast and her new role for the council.
“For me, a highlight of the year had to be standing in front of 350-plus women and men at our annual Women’s Council Breakfast at InfoComm," said Alvarado. "We weren’t anticipating quite that many, and seeing folks standing in the back waiting for seats is a great problem to have. Proud, humbled, and grateful for the experience and opportunity to remain the Chair of this extraordinary council this year.”
Every year, the United Nation’s Women Organization announces a theme for International Women’s Day, and in 2019 that theme was, “Think Equal, Build smart, Innovate for Change.” With advancements made to the AWC mentoring programs, almost 200 members added, and new local groups started in eight new cities across the U.S., AWC held true to the theme’s promises for 2019.
As we strive forward into 2020, we will be marking 100 years since women won the right to vote. Appropriately, the theme will be “Each for Equal: an Equal World is an Enabled World ”. The AWC has already begun brainstorming and planning events around the globe to celebrate, but we also have the intent to make 2020 a monumental year for the council.
“Adding new groups and leaders in areas where we are currently deficient, working with the AVIXA Foundation on our STEM initiative to bring awareness to our industry for young women, and continuing ongoing efforts for mentoring women in our industry to help them achieve professional growth opportunities are a focus for 2020," said Alvarado.
"Another area of major importance for me is working with AVIXA to develop a safety plan that will give women—and men—in our industry tools, education and resources to combat harassment, especially when at tradeshows and events. This is a tough subject, but one I feel much needed for women to feel safe to participate in events,” she added.
The AWC is not only looking forward to a successful International Women’s Day, but we are also implementing measures to make positive changes for women in our industry. Alvarado elaborated: “I’d like to see more attention being paid to creating a more diverse work environment that includes more women in executive level positions. The Women’s and Diversity Councils will be collaborating together on that. Additionally, I’d like to see a plan and strategy for women to feel safe in the workplace, and at work events particularly. I often hear women saying that they’d like more opportunities to network, but feel uncomfortable because they fear attending events where people can over consume alcohol, and potentially put them in situations that can lead to being harassed or uncomfortable. It distresses me to think of the lost business and missed professional opportunities for women as a consequence of not attending, or leaving the event early. I want to give us the tools and resources to help keep us safe and successful.”
All of us at the AVIXA Women’s Council are proud of the work that we have done in 2019 to make our industry more diverse and creating a strong network of AV and technology professionals sharing a common goal of equality. With our sights set on the horizon, we look forward to many more opportunities in 2020 and beyond.
To find an AWC International Women’s day event near you, or to get involved with the council, please visit : AVIXA Women's Council Local Groups .