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Randy Vaughan Founder’s Award Recipients Reflect on NSCA’s BLC

Published: 2023-03-27

NSCA’s Business & Leadership Conference (BLC), held several weeks ago, brought together numerous Randy Vaughan Founder’s Award recipients. Each year, NSCA bestows these awards to industry members who represent the next generation of integration business and leadership. By attending NSCA’s BLC, these emerging leaders gain access to incredible thought-leadership content and invaluable peer networking. Notably, this year, several Randy Vaughan award recipients were also CI 40 Under 40 honorees from the ’22 class. Wanting to get some firsthand perspective from these developing leaders, we reached out to four award recipients and asked for their impressions of BLC 2023. Their responses appear below.

If either you or someone in your organization represents the next generation of commercial AV leadership, start thinking about applying for a Randy Vaughan Founder’s Award! NSCA will release the application form later this year.

Brittany DiCesare, CTS

Client Success Manager

Control Concepts

In February 2023, I had the immense honor of receiving the Randy Vaughan Founder’s Award as a first-time attendee of NSCA’s Business & Leadership Conference (BLC). The BLC is a conference I looked forward to attending since I joined Control Concepts in 2022. After all, the conference provides a unique opportunity to gain insight and perspective related to team and business leadership.

Being a first-time attendee, I valued the time together with both experienced and up-and-coming leaders in the AV industry. We networked, shared ideas, learned from each other’s experiences and heard from a great lineup of keynote speakers. Each speaker provided fresh perspectives on leadership concepts and was incredibly engaging. All these new insights, however, are worthless without action.

It’s a great thing to obtain the knowledge and insights to further your leadership skills. It’s an altogether greater thing to process the knowledge and identify a plan of action to utilize said knowledge. That is why I was so grateful to have the opportunity to attend the event with our founder and president, Steve Greenblatt. Having another person from our company helped provide a level of accountability to do something with the insights we gained. It also provided the timely opportunity to discuss, process and brainstorm potential actions from the information we heard.

Implementable Takeaways

Of all the takeaways, we’re beginning to implement a few in our business.

  • Identifying our most valuable activities and making room in our calendars to devote time and effort to those tasks. [Dave Crenshaw]
  • Team debriefs regardless of the outcome, ensuring we learn from our actions and decisions. [Robert “Cujo” Teschner]
  • Identifying actions to repeat or areas to make decisions differently to work toward successful outcomes. [Robert “Cujo” Teschner]
  • The concept of the sales quadrant to help aid in our sales conversations to ensure we’re identifying the issues our clients are facing, the impact and importance of these issues, and the desired results from the solution provided. [Ian Altman]

Even with all the amazing content and conversations, I have to say that one thing stuck out to me: the lack of young leaders in attendance. I know there are those within my generation who are entering leadership positions within our industry. They would greatly benefit from attending such an informative conference. My desire is that more companies take advantage of the opportunity presented to them to train their up-and-coming leaders early on in their careers. Encourage them to apply for the Randy Vaughan Founder’s Award, giving them the chance to attend the conference for free. Let’s invest in our new leaders early and often to afford them the privilege of learning these leadership concepts, allowing them to be better leaders than we were.

I hope that, as I continue to attend this annual “can’t miss” event, I see newer and younger minds and voices, all eager to learn and move our industry forward in new and brighter ways.

Daniel Shatzkes

President

Harmony Studios Inc.

As a first-time attendee of the NSCA’s 2023 Business & Leadership Conference, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I’ve been to countless trade shows, expos, conferences and seminars. However, as BLC approached, I started to get the feeling that this was going to be a higher-level experience. Leading up to the conference, I had ongoing conversations with the wonderful people at NSCA. (I must add, they were incredibly giving with their time. With humility, I thank them for selecting me to be one of this year’s Randy Vaughan Founder’s Award winners.) I kept hearing that there will be so much information and content to digest that it would be better to select just a couple of important ideas or strategies to focus on. They weren’t kidding! This proved to be sage advice.

The caliber of the speakers, breakout sessions, content and discussion topics went above and beyond anything I could’ve imagined. Each day, I found myself looking more and more forward to hearing each and every speaker or presenter. And none of them let me down. It was an absolute onslaught of invaluable information and inspiration.

The absolute best part of BLC, however, was by far the people. The other attendees I was able to meet and speak with made this a conference that all of us should consider a “do not miss” experience. Every person I met was there to share, listen and offer advice. Having the opportunity to connect with such wonderful and knowledgeable people, in person, for three days, was the most valuable component of BLC. I want to thank the NSCA for creating and fostering such an outstanding environment. I will surely be back next year.

Xzavia Killikelly

Design Consultant

Conference Technologies Inc. (CTI)

I feel grateful for the opportunity to share my experience at the Business & Leadership Conference, which was my first ever. I was humbled to receive the Randy Vaughan Founder’s Award. Since my colleagues believed that I would benefit from the experience, I was determined to take the event seriously. I was unsure of what to expect and a bit nervous to be in the same room as C-suite executives with decades of experience. As someone who is currently not in a leadership role, but who has always aspired to be a leader, it was easy to think I would feel out of place. However, to my delight, I found that they welcomed me with open arms. The informal chats and networking aspects were just as valuable as the formal breakout sessions and keynote speeches were. I met numerous industry experts and made many new friendships and connections that I’m certain will endure throughout my career.

Changing Our Mindset

I must say that the keynote speeches completely changed my mindset. Dave Crenshaw’s presentation opened my eyes to the actual costs of multitasking. Vince Poscente’s talk was both entertaining and impactful in terms of how to overcome obstacles. However, it was Robert “Cujo” Teschner’s keynote session that I found truly transformative. I have never been more inspired by a speaker — either personally or professionally — than I was after listening to Cujo. His presentation made me switch my mindset to think like a CEO, not just like a top performer. It made me consider my team and their expectations of me. It also made me take accountability both at work and at home. I immediately altered my approach to my role, set up one-on-one meetings with key members of my team, scheduled time for project debriefs and revamped the way I look at my day-to-day responsibilities.

Overall, the Business & Leadership Conference was a fantastic event for industry veterans and an excellent opportunity for future leaders. I’m thankful for the chance to participate in 2023, grateful for the award and appreciative of all the new friendships I made. I am already looking forward to attending future BLCs!

Katelyn Kazanowski

Director of Sales

PTG

The Business & Leadership Conference was such a cool experience, and I was so thankful to be part of it!

The strength of the AV community really stood out. Although, in so many ways, we are still a “cottage” industry, it was clear, through attending BLC, that so many members of our community are extremely invested in the long-term success and development of those coming up through the ranks. I had no idea about the work that NSCA is doing in in the background to lobby for bills and laws that favor our position as an industry and that guarantee our growth. Additionally, I saw competitors come together to talk about best practices and help each other with common struggles. This was another example of the dedication that happens behind the scenes to make sure commercial AV is relevant for generations to come.

I personally loved the breakout session in which we discussed increasing profit margin, and, specifically, adding the 1% to quotes and the impact that can have on yearly numbers.

Thank you again for the opportunity to be a part of such a special event!

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