The Nine 2021: Erica Williams

Erica Williams, SCN: The Nine 2021
(Image credit: Future)

Title: Manager, AV and Collaboration

Company: Henderson Engineers

Location: Blue Springs, MO

Twitter: @haircutfw

Overtime: When not working, Williams enjoys smashing the patriarchy and watching films.

Why You Need to Know Her: Erica Williams, 31, is a technical force to be reckoned with … and has been for most of her life. “It was no surprise to anyone when I began working in technology—I’ve always had a knack for it.

“Communication is something I’ve always been interested in, and using technology to help people communicate effectively is the best of both worlds,” she added. “When done right, you’re not simply transferring data from Point A to Point B; you’re creating an environment where people have an experience. Getting to help curate that experience drew me in.”

AV and IT Collide: Williams began her career on the IT side of the fence as a user support analyst at the University of Missouri. From there, she joined her current employer, Henderson Engineers, as a help desk technician.

While working in IT, Williams found herself attracted to the AV side of the business because she saw AV’s power to bring people together. And when Henderson’s AV person left, she jumped at the chance to take on a new challenge. “I was the most curious and willing to step in and help,” she said.

When asked what she does in a typical day, Williams replied “Zoom,” which is a pretty accurate answer as she is Henderson’s Zoom account owner and resident expert.

“Every day is sprinkled with something different, though,” she added. In addition to her Zoom duties, she provides technical writing for user guides and company communications, produces and directs live company broadcasts, installs conference room and common area hardware, and other tasks.

Tech Support: One of the things Williams enjoys most about her work is helping people. “Whether it’s a conference room system, wireless presentation device, whiteboard in a collaboration area, or a new feature in Zoom or Teams, when people get that ‘aha!’ moment, that sense of them feeling empowered does it for me,” she said with a smile. “Technology changes so quickly these days, and I think it’s important to help people keep up so they don’t get intimidated or afraid to use the technology … especially in this new hybrid future we’re moving into.”

[ AV Network Nation Panel Talks Delivering Better AVoIP Systems, Dec. 14, 2020 ]

Imposter Syndrome: Williams admitted that she has struggled with imposter syndrome. While she hasn’t entirely overcome feelings of doubt about her own abilities, she has improved her confidence by creating what she calls a “council,” which she defines as a group of people with varying opinions and relations to her who can provide different perspectives about professional situations. “This helps calm down the ‘Well, what if...’ thoughts that have so often debilitated me,” she said.

Through her work and her council, she has learned that she cannot be afraid to speak up for herself or others. “If you feel like you’re not being heard, speak up,” she advised. “If you discover other people aren’t being heard, speak up. Life is too short, and we should be helping and lifting people up whenever we can.”

Get to know the rest of The Nine 2021.

Megan A. Dutta

Megan A. Dutta is a pro AV industry journalist, and the former content director for Systems Contractor News (SCN) and Digital Signage Magazine, both Future U.S. publications. Dutta previously served as the marketing communications manager at Peerless-AV, where she led the company’s marketing and communications department. Dutta is the recipient of AVIXA's 2017 Young AV Professional Award and Women in Consumer Technology's 2018 Woman to Watch Award. Dutta is co-founder of Women of Digital Signage, an organization designed to provide a pathway to promote networking, mentoring, and personal growth.