Michaela (Mia) Kern
In the very large, rapidly expanding AV industry, Michaela (Mia) Kern, is dedicated to breaking new ground. The recent graduate, who visited the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) trade show and conference in Amsterdam this past February, has studied in the Applied Sciences programs at Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen in Germany while simultaneously working as a Project Manager for the past six years. This April she will begin an MBA program focusing on Strategic Live Communication.
I caught up with Mia after the show to get her thoughts on her experience as a first-timer at ISE and where she sees the AV industry headed for young professionals.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself – what’s your background?
A: I finished my bachelor of science a few days ago from Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen in Germany with a focus on Event Management and Technology and I will start my MBA in April focusing on Strategic Live Communication.
I learned to be a professional Event Manager working at a production company before I started to study Event Management Technology. I worked in that company as a Project Manager for different types of events such as roadshows, exhibitions, and corporate events for over 6 years.
Presently, I am working as a Freelancer/Project Manager in the event industry and as an assistant of the management board in a production company for brand movies.
Q: How did you discover the opportunity to win a trip to ISE 2019?
A: With my colleagues, I went to the AVIXA “AV MEETS FUTURE EXPERTS” event in Hamburg. It was a recruiting day for students who are interested in the AV industry. Some AV companies presented their business portfolio and provided jobs/internships. We also could participate in a lot of exciting presentations about the AV industry. At the closing, I won the trip to ISE in Amsterdam in a lottery – so, I had a lot of luck!
Q: What were you setting out to learn while there?
A: To be honest … in front of the trip I had little time to focus on ISE. On the day of the trip, I submitted my bachelor thesis and a few hours later I was on my way to Amsterdam. So … more or less, I visited the fair without any expectations and more as an explorer of the upcoming innovations. The AVIXA team organized some events and a guided tour at ISE for AV Career Day. For me it was the first time I was a participant of a guided tour and it was a very nice experience! The tour was well organized and focused on the interests of our course. The companies took their time explaining their ideas, products, and vision of the future. The AVIXA team also gave me some hints for which booths were best for me as a student in the event branch.
AVIXA CEO Dave Labuskes, ISE Managing Director Mike Blackman, and CEDIA CEO Tabatha O'Connor with students during AV Career Day at Integrated Systems Europe 2019
Q: What’s the coolest/most interesting thing you saw or learned?
A: It is very difficult to break it down – the lesson I learned is that the AV industry is more interesting and more creative than I thought, and I don`t want to highlight a product or a company. So, the most impressive thing is the vibe of change and departure in this branch.
Second, I realized that there are much more job perspectives with my Bachelor/Master in this industry than I thought.
Q: How did this experience compare to other AV-related events you might have attended?
A: I don`t have much experience with AV-related events. The “AV MEETS FUTURE EXPERTS” in Hamburg was my first official AV event. Normally I visit event management events or exhibitions with a focus on the whole event technology. So, I think my true awareness for that industry just started a few months ago in Hamburg. I realized how interesting and innovative the AV industry is and that it will shape the future more than many others will do. The branch also offers more interesting jobs than I expected. For me, with the view of an outsider, this industry hasn´t looked that creative and varied as it really is.
Q: What are your career goals?
A: In the short term, one of my goals is to finish my MBA and in parallel, handle innovative projects. In addition, I want to expand my network and get to know more about the transforming AV and event industry. Long term, I´d love to work in a company where I get involved in forward-looking topics and where I develop these sustainably and strategically.
Q: What perceptions do you think people in your age group have of the AV industry, if any?
A: In my opinion, there is so much variety in the AV industry of which I had been previously unaware. There are so much more interesting job perspectives than most people think. In addition, is it also possible to work creatively, because it’s a forward-looking and transforming industry.
Mia’s experience at ISE was made possible by the combined efforts of AVIXA, the AVIXA Foundation, Integrated Systems Europe, and CEDIA. To learn more about the AVIXA Foundation including available programs, scholarships, and upcoming Young AV events in your region, visit avixa.org/foundation.