The Nine 2020: Chrissy Sara

Name: Chrissy Sara

Title: Staff Instructor

Company: AVIXA

Twitter: @AVTeach101

Location: Woodstock, IL

Overtime: Sara lives on a farm and spends a fair amount of her spare time managing animal care. She also thoroughly enjoys outdoor activities like camping, hiking, horseback riding, and target shooting.

Chrissy Sara, Sony

Chrissy Sara

Why You Need to Know Her: Chrissy Sara, CTS-I (née Spurlock), is both a teacher and a student. She is a staff instructor for AVIXA and spends her days traveling around the country preparing AV professionals to obtain their Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) designations. But she is also a master student—Sara says she takes something away from every class and every conversation. “If I’m not learning alongside them, why do I get to be up there teaching?”

Broadcasting Her Knowledge: Sara obtained a B.S. in broadcast journalism from Southeastern University. She began her professional career as a freelance live events and broadcast operator and eventually became a morning news producer for CBS News in Rockford, IL. “Learning how to network and move around the freelance field helped me gain ground and gave me a look at many, many different types of work,” said Sara. “The exposure to many types of jobs [in the broadcast field] help hone my curiosity and willingness to try new things and gave a focus to my passion.”

Knowing her broadcast skill set would translate, Sara made the move to pro AV in 2013 when she accepted a product integration specialist position with Click Effects. Using the skills she picked up in broadcast, Sara managed the training and installation for LED projects for the company—including the use of Click Effects systems, commissioning solutions, and troubleshooting technical issues.

From there, her teaching career blossomed. She spent nearly three years at Analog Way as a technology instructor and recently passed the year mark at AVIXA. (She onboarded in March 2019.)

The Joys of Teaching: Sara said she has found her home at AVIXA. “This position perfectly encapsulates what my last six years in the industry working for manufacturers and teaching technicians gave me,” she said. “I love to teach and facilitate conversation … and if I get to do this with AV technology, man, I’m set!”

The technology in this industry is personally exciting to Sara. She is “currently obsessed” with immersive technology. “Trends change daily,” she noted, “but the cool thing about this industry is that you can be successful in multiple ways. You can either fly with the wind and jump on the latest train, or hunker down in a niche and collaborate with peers in the industry.”

As thrilling as the technology is to Sara, it is not the highlight of her professional life. Sara's greatest joy comes from the conversation she has with students—and others in the industry. “We are such a diverse and entertaining bunch of nerds to take the AV journey with,” she said. “I find these little pockets of AV family hidden in the weirdest places. I still talk to people who started with me, people who helped me get my start, people who have since left the industry. The bond you can develop with people, whether on the road at a gig, long-term station work, or doing what I do now, it is fulfilling.”

Get to know the rest of The Nine. 

Learn more about Chrissy on this episode of AVNation.

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.