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Q-SYS’ Tammy Fuqua: AV Living Legends #51

Published: May 20, 2024
Photo courtesy of Tammy Fuqua.

Q-SYS’ Tammy Fuqua is a natural choice to join Commercial Integrator’s #AVLivingLegends series. As our 51st inductee into this distinguished group, Fuqua joins fellow industry members whose career accomplishments truly distinguish them.

Currently serving as developer partner manager, alliances and ecosystem at Q-SYS, Fuqua has more than 20 years of experience working with C-suite executives, including CEOs and VPs, in various sales and marketing roles. Alongside this, Fuqua is a powerful advocate for women and other under-represented groups in our industry. Indeed, she provides opportunities for women and others through her good work as co-chair of the AVIXA Women’s Council.

In this interview, Fuqua reflects on the valuable relationships established with her AV family, while also recounting a hilarious anecdote about shooting videos with Susan Wilhite, her AV bestie. Fuqua also imparts evergreen advice on always breaking out of our comfort zone and putting ourselves out there in order to be successful in any career path.

And if you’d like to read even more coverage relating to our #AVLivingLegends, like Q-SYS’ Tammy Fuqua, check out our hub page. It includes direct links to every living legend!

Commercial Integrator: What motivated you to join the commercial AV industry?

Tammy Fuqua: When I have asked this question of others, quite often I have heard, “I fell into it.” Well, that is exactly how I came to be here, as well. It was the best-paying job at the time I was looking, years ago, so why not? I can even date myself by the first product I sold — a CD and DVD duplicator. Do those even exist anymore? But I quickly found a passion for it, especially when I came to work for projector companies like Christie and Epson. I still find myself walking the show floor and geeking out on displays of any kind.

Commercial Integrator: What has kept you motivated and engaged in the decades that followed?

Tammy Fuqua: By far the amazing relationships I have built in the AV industry. My AV family and tribe is what has kept me in the industry all these years. With each year that has passed, those relationships have strengthened and deepened to the point I could not imagine working anywhere else. Besides, I think some of those friends would not allow me to leave now. I have teased a few times saying I might try something new. They usually reply, “don’t you dare!”

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? How have you tried to help shape others’ careers?

Tammy Fuqua: A couple of things come to mind here. First, I had a manager that was great at pushing me out of my comfort zone to promote growth. She came into my life at a pivotal time. I happen to be going through some major changes in my personal life and my confidence just was not there. Without her direction I would not have found the courage to excel in my professional life. Thank you, Kristan Rudloff, for believing in me!

Second, when I started in the industry there was never any talk of DEIB and I rarely saw a woman in executive roles. Eight years ago I joined a newly formed women’s group, AVIXA Women’s Council — Southern California, under the leadership of Brandy Alvarado-Miranda and Cory Schaeffer. I was given so much in the way amazing women role models, and I wanted to give back what I was given. In turn, I wanted to be a strong female role model to other women in this industry. I hope I have done that in some small way. To any women reading this, join a women’s group, any group that speaks to you! It truly was the turning point in my career.

Commercial Integrator: What’s the most memorable story/anecdote of your career in commercial AV?

Tammy Fuqua: One of my most memorable moments was filming short, funny, pre-InfoComm videos with my AV bestie, Susan Wilhite. One had us running around a CVS in Phoenix trying to find items we deemed “you can’t live without” to get our viewers through the show. Mine was simply one item. Susan had an arm full and distracted by others!  Each item in her arms we discussed for its comedic value. We were laughing so hard putting that video together that I am not sure how we got it finished. We still have people asking when will our next video come out.

Commercial Integrator: What has been your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Tammy Fuqua: My greatest professional accomplishment is my work with the AVIXA Women’s Council. The work started when I was made co-leader to the Los Angeles/Orange County group in 2020 with “my tribe” Brandy Alvarado-Miranda, Cory Schaeffer and Susan Wilhite — the greatest leaders to learn from and grow with, and simply have fun with while we were doing it. Then, I was approached by Brandy to become the chair of the council when her term ended.

My first year of the term, starting in 2022, was a tough one — we were still dealing with a pandemic, declining group leadership and uninspired members. There were many moments I thought to myself, “how can I rebuild this?” But I was so passionate about women’s initiatives in the industry that I pressed on. I listened to anyone with ideas on how to get things back on track. Now, as my term is nearing its end, the council is experiencing a resurgence of new leaders and membership. I contribute that to hours of hard work and dedication to the council and its members. My goal was always to give back what I received from my amazing mentors by bringing it to the council. I feel I have done that and will continue long after my term ends.

Commercial Integrator: What has been your biggest professional regret to date?

Tammy Fuqua: I try not to linger with regrets. They are in the past which is out of my control. What they are good for is learning lessons. I am a firm believer of everything happens for a reason. I could have stayed at that comfortable job, not learning anything new and not being challenged; or I can take a risk of moving to something new and learning new skills. With this I also ran the risk of it not working out. Well, sometimes it didn’t work out, but I did not look at it as a regret. It set me on a path to where I am professionally today while learning a lot about myself in the process.

Commercial Integrator: What’s the best advice or pearl of wisdom you either received during your career or came to realize on your own?

Tammy Fuqua: The single best thing I came to realize regarding career growth was to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Only there would I find the ability to grow. Is it scary? ABSOLUTELY! Those “firsts” can be terrifying. Then you do it again…again…and it becomes part of you. The first time I did a podcast, the first time I got on that stage at the AWC breakfast, the first time I applied for a job that I felt was “too big,” the first time I did a panel discussion, the first time I did a presentation in front of company executives, they were all nerve wrecking. But my advice is to sign up for it all!  And to add to this, be properly prepared for it. Do your research, practice the speech, know your facts. It will certainly help with the successful execution.


Would you also like to nominate a peer or colleague — or perhaps yourself!  in this #AVLivingLegends series just like Q-SYS’ Tammy Fuqua was? If so, just email Dan Ferrisi, group editor, commercial and security, Emerald, at dan.ferrisi@emeraldx.com.

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