The once Young AV Professionals Council will be unveiling its new name—the Rising Professionals Council—at InfoComm 2022. While the name is different, the end goal remains the same: Elevating and supporting the needs of rising professionals by providing effective resources to help them connect to the Pro AV world.
What has changed is who those rising professionals are. As with many across the industry, the pandemic forced the then-Young AV Professionals Council to reexamine—and refocus—where it was headed. Many new AV professionals were young in industry experience, but not necessarily in age.
“A few years ago, in conjunction with AVIXA’s inclusion and diversity initiatives, we realigned the mission statement to what the council’s goals were and what our members’ goals were,” said Gregory Rushton, CTS-D and Vice President at Mulvey & Banani Audio Visual, as well as co-chair of the council. “As part of that, and what was highlighted in the pandemic, is that the membership should not be limited to young in age. There are people who are middle management that are still rising, too. We wanted to make it an inclusive home that goes through all of their career and skills progression.”
“We took a closer eye to where our people are coming from when joining this industry,” added Matt Eckstein, CTS-D and Senior Engineer at CENSEO AV+Acoustics, and along with Rushton, co-chair of the council. “Many times, it’s not from high school, college or trade school; it’s maybe a second or third career. That’s important—to be able to bring in these people regardless of their age and equally support their career development.”
While the Rising Professionals Council is expanding its advocacy to not just the young people in the industry but also people that are new to the industry, there is a third part to the equation: the employer.
“First, because there’s no formal or school training programming in AV, our council really seeks to help build and support the careers of rising professionals,” said Eckstein. “Be that through mentorship or continuing education or networking—all of those are very important, but it also lets you know you’re not alone on this island as you are developing your career in AV.
“From an employer perspective, we’re opening hiring managers’ eyes to what a rising professional needs to feel fulfilled in their career and to feel like they are growing and learning more. It’s important to come at it from both those perspectives.”
Along with the name change, there are several other resources the council will be sharing at InfoComm 2022. One is the ‘Keys to Success’ document that, according to Rushton includes some “cool little tips or tricks that will help [job candidates] stand out over others.” This year, the Rising Professionals Council will also host the All-Council Summit.
In the end, it is about making the AV industry a welcoming and successful place for the future, and helping those on the rise succeed.
“I really hope to see companies stepping up and investing in their rising stars,” Rushton said. “That’s why we are taking the stance that we are with ‘Keys to Success’ and the topics we’re tackling at the Summit. We’re really trying to spread the word that companies shouldn’t overlook the newer demographic in the industry. There is opportunity for them to gain that can make their organization stronger.”