Charmaine Torruella puts the power in empower. For more than 18 years, this passionate problem solver has helped IT and AV clients collaborate and build community. As Verrex’s global services account manager, Torruella provides the structural and technological roadmaps to support global growth. Integral to her mission of delivering exceptional experiences is expanding opportunities for AV/IT professionals. Because diversity is both a cultural advantage and a business growth driver, Torruella is dedicated to cultivating a more inclusive AV industry.
To that end, Torruella serves as the chairperson for the AVIXA Diversity Council. With 150 dynamic members worldwide, this Council oversees the initiatives to increase the diversity of workers in AV and execute programs towards their development and accreditation.
AVNETWORK: What is your mission for the diversity council?
CHARMAINE TORRUELLA: The mission for the Diversity Council is to create more diversity with the AV sector by reaching out to diverse peoples interested in AV educational assistance and mentoring, AV information, and the continuous enrichment of their knowledge and careers and organizations to promote, of purposefully diverse.
AVN: How was the mission statement created?
CT: The mission stated was created collectively. It started with Rick Hoar, executive director, media and event technology services] for SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology cobbling a statement and posing it to the Council for feedback. In the feedback, we made some minor tweaks and formulated the mission statement of the Council. Although there was some debate as to how long or short it should be, I pushed to have us go with it, and in time we will continue to develop the statement as we take on more initiatives and new agendas are added.
AVN: How did you get involved in taking on the volunteer role of Diversity Council chair?
CT: I got involved in taking on the role of chairperson in a very understated manner. I was asked if I would like to do some volunteer work for AVIXA, and of course I said yes. Based on information the AVIXA team had received about me from people within the industry and knowing my passion for educating people about the importance of diversity in work culture, they felt I would be a good fit.
AVN: How did you get into the AV Industry, and what were your first impressions?
CT: I got into the AV industry while I was in the IT industry, partnering with a major AV integrator for a few Fortune 500 clients. My IT clients were looking to implement video solutions into their conference rooms to minimize spend and travel after the 9/11 attacks. Because the requests became more frequent, moving completely to the AV industry made sense.
AVN: What does diversity mean to you, and how do you see it in the AV industry?
CT: Diversity means allowing Black, Latin, Asian, women, LGBT, physically and mentally disabled, and others who are a small presence in a community to experience a more enriching work environment that includes their perspectives and gives accreditation for their performance and talents. In AV, that means allowing increased opportunities to these groups to grow into roles that will enable them to become leaders and impact advancement in their careers and respective companies.
AVN: What do you envision for the Diversity Council five years from now?
CT: Five years from now, I see the Council having a deeper presence globally in the AV industry. We are catching attention—people are taking notice. I also see a few co-chairs in that future, as well as a Diversity education program. I also see us brokering deeper relationships with other sectors such as IT, cybersecurity, and more.
AVN: How can people get involved with the AVIXA Diversity Council?
CT: To join the AVIXA Diversity Council or to learn more, visit https://www.avixa.org/about-avixa/membership/committees-councils/diversity-council.