In the 31st edition of Commercial Integrator’s #AVLivingLegends series, we spotlight Jason Ward from Involve Visual Collaboration Ltd. Now serving as sales director, Ward has been part of the Involve family since February 2000, a remarkable tenure. In this exclusive Q&A, Ward reflects on more than 30 years working in the commercial AV community and the lasting memories he carries with him.
During the conversation, Ward explores how AV found him, rather than him having found AV. He discusses his time in education environments, followed by rental and staging, followed finally by the videoconferencing space. And he touches on how, nearly 24 years on, his work at Involve continues to inspire and motivate him.
Plus, Ward offers a glimpse at some of his most memorable moments, the accomplishment he’s proudest of and why he has few, if any regrets. He closes with a discussion of “Imposter Syndrome,” which, he argues, is quite prevalent in commercial AV circles.
Jason Ward from Involve Visual Collaboration is the ideal next inductee into our #AVLivingLegends series. Enjoy the interview below. And, if you’d like to hear more from Jason, check him out on X, formerly known as Twitter, and on LinkedIn!
And if you’d like to read even more coverage relating to our #AVLivingLegends, check out our hub page, which includes direct links to every living legend!
Commercial Integrator: What motivated you to join the commercial AV industry?
Jason Ward: Like many others, my decision to join the commercial AV industry was probably never a conscious one. AV found me! I went from being so focused on my music that my career was an afterthought to joining the AV department in further education (FE) and, so, the journey started.
Commercial Integrator: What has kept you motivated and engaged in the decades that followed?
Jason Ward: Keeping it interesting helps me to remain motivated and engaged. From working in FE, as mentioned in the previous question, I unsuccessfully applied to the more competitive higher education (HE) sector. This drove me to rental and staging — a period that I loved. I felt valued, and I learned a tremendous amount of AV/life skills.
During this time in rental and staging, I was asked to join a videoconference startup team in the early integrated services digital network (ISDN) days. That kickstarted my sales career.
Again, even after 23 years at Involve, multiple roles and challenges have helped to keep things interesting.
Commercial Integrator: Reflect on your role as both a mentee early in your career and as a mentor later in your career. Who helped shape the trajectory of your professional life, and how have you tried to help shape others’ careers?
Jason Ward: Career mentors are names that stick with you for life, so I have always aspired to be like them.
But, across all managers, organizations and periods, the consistent mantra has been to focus on the strengths of the individuals. In our industry, micromanagers will not get long-term, scalable results.
Commercial Integrator: What’s the most memorable story/anecdote of your career in commercial AV?
Jason Ward: Working 30-plus years in commercial AV, I have plenty of memories. One is running a proof-of-concept for my biggest sales project ever where it went so close to the wire — from nothing working to eventual success — that I had an emotional breakdown the evening before the presentation. (All was good in the end.) I’ve also had moments of wanting to be “more than AV.”
I have also enjoyed creating and joining industry podcasts, as well as getting to know everyone. Thank you.
Commercial Integrator: What has been your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
Jason Ward: To quote Elton John, “I’m still standing!”
Commercial Integrator: What has been your biggest professional regret to date?
Jason Ward: I’m not quoting Robbie Williams here, but I have no regrets.
I have experienced some HR mistakes, which I have learned from, and I maybe wish a few situations could have turned out differently. But that’s it.
Commercial Integrator: What’s the best advice or pearl of wisdom you either received during your career or came to realize on your own?
Jason Ward: Imposter Syndrome seems to be rife in commercial AV. Most people who think they are not good enough are better than good enough — and many who think they are actually aren’t.
Would you like to nominate a peer or colleague — or perhaps yourself! — to be featured in this #AVLivingLegends series, just like Jason Ward from Involve Visual Collaboration was? If so, just email Dan Ferrisi, group editor, commercial and security, Emerald, at [email protected].
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