AVIXA chief global officer Sarah Joyce hasn’t quite made it to all 10 of AVIXA’s worldwide shows after joining the association in May, but she’s been to enough of them both in her new role and during her 20-plus years in AV to know she definitely followed the right career path.
Joyce, who turned 50 in 2019, says she got into AV almost by accident, like many others who’ve made a career out of it. She was working for an entrepreneur, who identified videoconferencing as an emerging market more than two decades ago and the company become a videoconferencing gear reseller.
From there, she’s had several jobs in the AV space in different parts of the world. Before joining AVIXA, Joyce was at 2014 CI Integrator of the Year Electrosonic for almost eight years, most recently managing director of the company’s EMEA operations.
“AV is one of those secrets we fall into,” says Joyce. “Once you’re in it, you don’t get out. That’s what I love about the industry.
“I’ve always been passionate about why we use the technology, what it does for us. I’m a strategist by nature. How do you give that very, vey best experience? You make lifelong friends in this industry. You can’t help but get swept up in the fun and buzz and excitement. It’s an ever-changing market,” she says.
Sarah Joyce see her role at AVIXA as “ensuring we’re doing everything we can for our members in an ever-changing market, particularly reflecting that in the community worldwide with trade shows.”
Before joining AVIXA, Joyce had served on the then-InfoComm International board of directors in 2014 and 2015 and hosted the first Women of InfoComm breakfast at ISE several years ago as well as serving on a handful of InfoComm councils.
Whether it’s ISE in Amsterdam in February or the show in Bogota, Colombia in October or any of the other shows in between, Joyce says her mission and that of her staff and the partners with whom they work remains the same.
“There are different markets, different needs and different requirements, but the essence at the heart of everything we do is connection,” she says.
Let’s go Back Stage with AVIXA chief global officer Sarah Joyce.
Commercial Integrator: What do you bring to AVIXA in your role as chief global officer?
Sarah Joyce: “I hope the strength that I bring is that depth of industry knowledge and customer focus. I know the challenges. I also have the international experience to know how we grow shows and how to keep them relevant. It’s not so much a learning experience. It’s more of a listening experience.
“It’s a deep honor and privilege to meet members and understand what opportunities they have and what challenges they see. There are different audiences at all of these shows but there’s so much commonality as well.”
CI: How do you make sure the show you’re planning meets the audience’s needs?
SJ: “It’s up to us to make sure the services we provide up are up-to-date and relevant and meet their current needs. It’s such a fast-paced, fast-moving industry. It’s lovely to see things that are happening in one area that we can make use of in other areas as well.
“You’re always anticipating what’s next. You have to be those few years in advance—what are the challenges coming? How’s the market going to change? What’s going to be relevant for the shows? We have a three-year strategy for every area. Obviously, for [ISE 2021 in] Barcelona, there’s a little extra emphasis on that.
CI: How much overlap is there among the different worldwide events? Do you try to keep them completely different?
SJ: “The content for the regions is relevant for the regions. When you can start to see content that’s being developed in one region that can be applicable in another, you can certainly use that in a variety of places and in different ways.”
Usually, Joyce or AVIXA CEO David Labuskes do introductions at the shows that highlight the latest AVIXA market research and focus on the applicable market. Recently, there’s been a concerted focus at shows for thought leadership and introducing AV to people who might not know about it.
CI: What’s the sign of a good show?
SJ: “You can always get a temperature of a show when you walk around it. You get an energy and can tell the amount of investment people are putting into it. It’s not just about, ‘can I walk down the corridor without having to swerve through a lot of people?’
“The people who are coming have a need to do business, I’m delighted we can create these business hubs.”
Sarah Joyce wants to increase the number of end users coming to the shows and diversify audience to include more creative partners, content providers and consultants to “spark a different view of our world.” The women’s group and young AV group events are typically the best-attended at all worldwide shows.
When Joyce isn’t traveling for work, chances are you’ll find her at a live performance of some kind, whether it’s a concert or theater production. But don’t expect to see her get up on the stage.
“At heart, I wish I was a singer or performer,” she says. “It depends who I’m watching on stage whether my inner diva comes out. In a parallel universe, there’s a Sarah who gets out and does that. She doesn’t do it in this one.”
Sarah Joyce particularly enjoyed visiting Mumbai for InfoComm India last year and is looking forward to the Integrated Systems Russia show in Moscow this year.
“Whether I’m on a beach somewhere, trekking or walking, it’s the experience you get from the people you meet,” she says.