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The Nine 2021: Leaders of Tomorrow, Today

SCN: The Nine Class of 2021
(Image credit: Future)

Each year in May, we are proud to highlight  young innovators with SCN: The Nine, and, this year, many of these new leaders are passionate advocates of diversity and inclusion—often due to having to personally overcome equality issues in the workplace. Read on to learn more about the 2021 class of SCN: The Nine.

The Nine 2021

Meet 2021's Class of SCN: The Nine

Amanda Boyer (opens in new tab)

Amanda Boyer

Amanda Boyer
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Title: General Manager

Company: AV Chicago

Why You Need to Know Her: Amanda Boyer, 34, is passionate about the business of AV—she’s a whiz at organizing things and turning big ideas into actionable plans.

“I love the tech and I love the people,” Boyer said when asked about why she loves AV. “There is always something new to explore and learn.”

Read Amanda Boyer's SCN: The Nine profile. (opens in new tab)

Gladys Marroquin (opens in new tab)

Gladys Marroquin

Gladys Marroquin
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Title: Audiovisual Consultant

Company: Newcomb & Boyd

Why You Need to Know Her: Gladys Marroquin, 27, has never shied away from learning something new. She has always rolled up her sleeves, consulted with mentors, and got down to business. She is now an up-and-coming leader in the AV consulting field. Her journey has not always been an easy one, however. For a time, she contemplated leaving the industry following some rough treatment she received based, she believes, on her gender. “Women and other marginalized folks often feel undesired by the industry, for different reasons. When you are trusted, supported, and given more responsibility, it makes a real difference in how you see the industry,” said Marroquin. 

Read Gladys Marroquin's SCN: The Nine profile. (opens in new tab)

Sarabeth Mullins (opens in new tab)

Sarabeth Mullins

Sarabeth Mullins
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Title: Doctoral Student

Company: Sorbonne Université

Why You Need to Know Her: Sarabeth Mullins, 27, has AV in her DNA. “I got started around the dinner table. My father is Thom Mullins, who was the chair of the AVIXA Standards Committee from 2017 to 2020,” she said. “I grew up hearing him talk about all facets of sound, and I guess it influenced me more than he planned. When I was 9 or 10, I drew an auditorium and designed a speaker system for it. My dad keeps that drawing hidden away somewhere as professional blackmail.”

Read Sarabeth Mullins' SCN: The Nine profile. (opens in new tab)

Narin Nara (opens in new tab)

Narin Nara

Narin Nara
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Title: Digital Media Producer

Company: AVIXA

Why You Need to Know Him: While you may not recognize his face, you will definitely recognize Narin Nara’s work. As a digital media producer at AVIXA, Nara, 32, is responsible for a large portion of the association’s social media and video content.

Nara, a member of AVIXA’s content delivery team, is focused on supporting the company’s content strategy and working with its technical team to optimize delivery methods through various digital channels.

Read Narin Nara's SCN: The Nine profile. (opens in new tab)

Paul Richards (opens in new tab)

Paul Richards

Paul Richards
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Title: Marketing Director, Business Development and Strategic Partnerships

Company: PTZOptics and HuddleCamHD

Why You Need to Know Him: Paul Richards, 33, demonstrates every day how modern marketing can elevate pro AV. Just ask the nearly 27,000 subscribers of PTZOptics’ YouTube channel. “I’m the closest person to a YouTuber that the AV industry has,” he said. “We’re empowering our customers through education. The customers don’t really care about the specs anymore. They want to know how a product will work for them.”

Read Paul Richards' SCN: The Nine profile. (opens in new tab)

Jess Rhoades, PMP, CTS (opens in new tab)

Jess Rhoades

Jess Rhoades
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Title: Project Manager

Company: AVI-SPL

Why You Need to Know Her: Jess Rhoades, 32, combines her skills in sales support and project management with her penchant for collaboration and active listening to help streamline processes and workflow for companies in and out of the AV sector. This equitable focus helps ensure her projects move forward successfully and exceed profit expectations. “My goal as a project manager is to create an environment of psychological safety in order to foster collaboration and creative problem-solving. We need all of our ideas to weather this industry’s rapid changes,” said Rhoades.

Read Jess Rhoades' SCN: The Nine profile. (opens in new tab)

Mike Slamer, CTS (opens in new tab)

Mike Slamer

Mike Slamer
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Title: Strategic AV Engineer

Company: Discovery Inc.

Why You Need to Know Him: Mike Slamer’s mission as strategic AV engineer at Discovery Inc. is to help people communicate more effectively. His biggest job challenge is with communications and standards, and how we use technology to connect with a digital handshake. He emphasizes the importance of people being able to clearly hear your message as foundational in creating a great user experience.

Read Mike Slamer's SCN: The Nine profile. (opens in new tab)

Jennifer Steinhardt (opens in new tab)

Jennifer Steinhardt

Jennifer Steinhardt
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Title: AV Account Manager and Marketing Specialist

Company: Audio Visual Associations

Why You Need to Know Her: Strong, beautiful, brave, candid, and open are words that have been used to describe Jennifer Steinhardt. The 33-year-old hopes to create opportunities for people and make the industry more welcoming for all. Some of you from Twitter, and others may recognize her from her podcast The Mental Mary Show, where she discusses mental health, diversity, and her personal struggles with autism, ADHD, and depression. 

Read Jennifer Steinhardt's SCN: The Nine profile. (opens in new tab)

Erica Williams (opens in new tab)

Erica Williams

Erica Williams
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Title: Manager, AV and Collaboration

Company: Henderson Engineers

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.”

Read Erica Williams' SCN: The Nine profile. (opens in new tab)

Former SCN: The Nine Inductees

Want more of SCN The Nine? 

Check out the complete list of SCN: The Nine inductees here (opens in new tab).

SCN: The Nine 2020 (opens in new tab)

SCN: The Nine 2019 (opens in new tab)

SCN: The Nine 2018 (opens in new tab)

SCN: The Nine 2016 (opens in new tab)

SCN: The Nine 2015 (opens in new tab)

SCN: The Nine 2014 (opens in new tab)

Click here to read more stories from the May 2021 issue of SCN (opens in new tab).

Megan A. Dutta
Megan A. Dutta

Megan A. Dutta is a pro AV industry journalist, and the former content director for Systems Contractor News (opens in new tab)(SCN) and Digital Signage Magazine (opens in new tab), both Future U.S. publications. Dutta previously served as the marketing communications manager at Peerless-AV (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab), an organization designed to provide a pathway to promote networking, mentoring, and personal growth.