April 10, 2020 by AVIXA
Brandy Alvarado | AVIXA Brandy Alvarado

AVIXA: Tell us about your personal journey. Where did you grow up? Who were your role models?

I was a military brat and lived all over the U.S. and finally settled in Southern California. I graduated with a degree in Business Admin and minor in Art History. So, you could say I’ve always liked processes, but have a very creative artsy side as well. During college I worked in a floral décor shop that specialized in weddings and large events. I then took those talents and became Director of Marketing & Sales for an insurance broker. That was a great place, but after 13 years there, that company got acquired, and was never quite the same. I saw an ad for an AV manufacturer, and though I knew zilch about AV, I’ve always loved tech. That manufacturer gave me a great start in the industry, and now I’ve found a home with an amazing technology innovator, Mad Systems. I was lucky at the insurance agency and when I started in AV to find great mentors. I owe them so much for guiding me along my path. I can’t say it enough: Cory Schaeffer [Director of Strategic Industry Relations at QSC LLC] have changed my life and pushed me beyond what I thought possible of myself.

AVIXA: Have you previously volunteered for an AVIXA council before?

No, I’d never volunteered. I literally got thrown under the proverbial bus. My ex-boss volunteered me to help Cory Schaeffer create the first AVIXA Women’s Council group in Southern California. It’s been a 4-year journey to the position of Chair of the Women’s Council.

AVIXA: What attributes contribute to a successful council/council chair? Can you share with us your management philosophy?

I blame Cory Schaeffer and Gina Sansivero, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications at AtlasIED, totally (but in the best way). They both encouraged and supported me in becoming Council Chair. I attribute the council’s success to organic growth due to a grassroots regional movement in the local groups we created. By that I mean, we started regional groups and by word of mouth locally and via our social communities, we’ve experienced major growth in members and groups year over year. I’m a connector. I try to connect people to new opportunities, experiences, and technology as much as I possibly can. My organizational and communication skills are also a big part of my make-up. I believe in open communication and tackling tough situations head on. I’ve had to handle some very touchy subjects as Chair, and I think being genuine and honest has served my members well. I’m passionate about making a real difference for women in AV, and I ultimately want them to have an equal seat at the boardroom table.

AVIXA: What do you want AVIXA members/future volunteers to know about being a member of an AVIXA council?

I’ve found volunteering so rewarding. Helping others truly is my privilege. It feels good to give back. It’s exhilarating to hear that I’ve helped other women get a promotion, connect with other women in the AV community, and gain professional growth due to the council initiatives we’ve set forth. I’d tell anyone that’s considering volunteering to start by selecting one of the many AVIXA councils. There are many for different facets of our industry where you can make a difference and get involved. You won’t regret it and will gain so much from volunteering.

AVIXA: We live in an age of disruption, driven by fast technology cycles. How do you maintain a long-term vision and focus for the AVIXA Women’s Council in the face of constant change?

I’ve thought long and hard about this, and the legacy I want to leave behind for future council chairs is that you should fight for change. That’s the foundation I started upon initially as a leader in SoCal, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. I’ve seen a real need for mentoring, getting more young women into AV, and for creating a safe and successful environment for women in the industry. My goal is that at the end of my term I can say that I’ve helped move the needle and added and retained more women in AV, and that I’ve helped foster a safe environment for women attending trade shows and work events.

About AVIXA

AVIXA™ is the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, producer of InfoComm trade shows around the world, co-owner of Integrated Systems Europe, and the international trade association representing the audiovisual industry. 

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