For International Women's Day 2022, we decided to celebrate successful women in our business, get to know them and promote their achievements both inside and outside of the workplace.
How long have you worked in the Midwich Group?
I had to look this up on Select HR, but it will be 10 years on 2nd April 2022 since I joined True Colours Ltd, the first Midwich acquisition.
Can you give a summary of your job at Midwich?
My role involves hunting new technology for the Group, supporting every group company in increasing their vendor portfolio and providing Market Intelligence to our management teams across the globe. Given the knowledge, my role equips me with I also represent the Group as a public speaker at industry events.
What role did you start out in, at Midwich/in the AV industry?
My first role in the industry was at Sahara, another technology distributor, as a purchasing admin assistant. When I moved over to the Midwich Group, my first role was as a streaming media sales specialist looking after Exterity, BrightSign and eventually Mersive.
How did you work yourself up from where you started to Head of Technology for the Midwich Group?
It really started with a bit of jealousy! I loved the brands I was working with and got to work with some great end users, and they were growing well so I didn’t want to lose them, but my colleagues who were looking after processing and control systems were working on some really high-profile projects and the end results were huge eye-catching projection mapping or museums and experiential designed theme parks.
My colleague Martin who at that time was the Technical Manager for all True Colours brands handed in his notice to start his own business so I wrote a business plan on how I could incorporate my job and his to manage all the product specialists so I could span across all the tech. I pitched it to the Sales & Marketing Director at the time and he went for it. Gradually I took on more teams such as Video Conferencing and Solutions and started to work with some of the Group Companies before turning the role into a Group company support function in 2017.
Do you feel successful?
I think so, I love my job and the industry still excites and interests me daily. I still get nervous, especially when speaking in public on a panel debate, in a live interview, or when I host Midwich Live, but immediately after them is when I feel most successful having found an appropriate answer for whatever was thrown at me.
Where is the weirdest place you have worked from since Midwich have adopted hybrid working?
The Bath! So during the first lockdown Infocomm decided to go purely virtual but because of the time difference, the show content ran from 3pm to 10pm each day. We have one of the wooden trays that lay across the bath with a cup holder and a book/tablet holder, so I watched some of the seminar sessions from the bath in the evenings.
How would you say you’ve found navigating this industry as a woman, that you think would’ve been easier as a man?
The industry has changed significantly over my career. I didn’t notice any difficulties in my sales roles at Sahara there were a lot of females in sales roles, it was only as I progressed into technical roles that I felt more conscious of being in the minority.
I’ve had some interesting moments including being introduced to vendors or customers who automatically asked ‘do you work in marketing’ and the worst when a reseller called their external rep and asked if they were sure I was the right person to do a product demo as their customer was very technical (they had never met me before). There have been times when I’ve needed a thick skin, but it feels very different now and it has been a long time since I was miss-roled.
What is the most interesting project you have worked on since you joined the AV industry?
Probably our own experience centre at Innovation House!
If you weren’t in AV, what do you think you would be doing right now?
In my head, I would be a genetic engineer eliminating the risk of deadly illness through modifying DNA, but in reality, I think I would have been a veterinary nurse I had a taste of the job when I was younger and loved every minute.
If you could see the AV industry change in one way, how would you like to see it change?
It would all be around awareness. I would love to be able to tell non-work associates that I work in AV and them know what it meant in the same way they would recognise the term IT. This only happens by highlighting to secondary school and higher ed students that the sector exists.
International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements or rally for women's equality.
International Women's Day has occurred for well over a century with the first gathering held in 1911. The campaign theme for International Women's Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn't enough. Action is needed to level the playing field.