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How The Audio Visual Industry Can Start Talking About Diversity

The industry is moving toward a more inclusive & diverse workplace. These are a few easy things your company can do to catch up with audio visual diversity.

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I left AVEC 2019 — my first time covering a pro AV conference — encouraged by how many times speakers and panels mentioned company culture, inclusion, and audio visual diversity.

It’s clear that the industry wants (and needs) to move in the right direction, especially since hiring skilled, educated workers is becoming a challenge.

As we’ve highlighted before, the AV space is very male and very white, and there’s a clear need for some audio visual diversity initiatives. Luckily, we have AVIXA’s Women’s and Diversity Councils taking up that cause, but some might still be hesitant to talk about it.

According to a Harvard Business Review column penned by human capital executive Daisy Auger-Dominguez who has two decades of experience leading diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at several large companies, business leaders can take several easy steps and start the discussion about a more inclusive workplace.

  • Rather than focusing on metrics and closing the gap, leaders should ask questions that help them understand the challenges employees face every day, particularly practices and behaviors that bother them.
  • Auger-Dominguez also suggests educating yourself on the topic by reading about books about diversity, inclusion and bias.
  • Talking about these issues won’t be easy, the author suggests. It will be uncomfortable for a lot of people involved, and that’s something you’ll just have to accept. Apologize when you’re wrong, listen and commit to doing better.
  • There is no defining blueprint for doing better on these issues, so Auger-Dominguez says you should just get started. Start the conversation yourself—it could go a long way toward winning trust when a person in a position of power jump-starts the conversation.

I’m told some big names in the industry have taken note of these issues and industry veterans like AVIXA CEO David Labuskes even told me at AVEC that he won’t allow these topics to be treated as hot-button issues.

Related: The Lack of Diversity in Pro AV Causes This CEO So Much Disrespect

The industry seems like its on its way to a more inclusive workplace, but if your company is stuck or if you’re finding it difficult to start the conversation, consider taking the steps listed above.