Creative Technology Celebrate Women in AV Worldwide!

As part of International Women’s Day, Creative Technology (CT), an NEP Live Events Company, are celebrating women’s achievements in the audiovisual (AV) industry around the world. Historically, the AV industry included few women due to the lack of active outreach by employers and the resulting lack of awareness among women about the types of roles that were available. Over the years, we have seen a rising movement of women taking on more roles in events; however, gender diversity within the industry is still low.

We at CT and across the entire NEP Worldwide Network know there are amazing professional opportunities and career paths for all, as evidenced by some of our inspiring female employees working in key roles ranging from General Managers and Project Managers to Engineers and Technicians. In this article, we look at a handful of these professionals to celebrate their successes, gain insight into their roles, and inspire more women to consider a career path in AV.

Sarah Wright- Video Engineer

Creative Technology North America

Sarah has over 9 years of experience in the events industry and has a strong video background. With a BA degree in cinema studies, Sarah has extensive AV technical knowledge and expertise in large video displays, camera systems, and event system engineering.

Drawing on her diverse experience, she has successfully delivered technical video production support across various projects for multiple high-profile dignitaries.

Can you see any signs that the historical gender imbalance in the industry may be starting to shift?

“Yes. My fellow employees have always accepted me as an equal and often seek my assistance with problems. As I interact with local contractors, they quickly realise that I know my job and handle it without issues.”

What is your advice for women who are looking to get into the industry?

“Go for it. This is by far the best experience I could have asked for with a job. There are so many times that I admire the final product of the show and am so proud to be a part of it.”

Emma Rössl – Project Manger

Creative Technology UK

Emma’s 11 years in the live events industry has given her a strong technical and managerial background. She is a highly qualified professional with a degree in Project Management and a Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS): Site Safety Plus qualification.

Within her career, Emma has enjoyed the challenge of successfully delivering AV technical management across multiple complex projects worldwide and further developing her technical knowledge across various event sectors.

Her role includes technical specification of equipment, budget and quote preparation, on-site project management, invoicing and managing client expectations.

Can you see any signs that the historical gender imbalance in the industry may be starting to shift?

“Yes, but sadly not quick enough. The major change has been on the production side, where there appear to be more female clients and Production Managers. Unfortunately, this is not replicated in the technical areas of the industry yet.”

What is your advice for women who are looking to get into the industry?

“Be yourself and don’t forget that you have as much right to be here as anyone else.”

Harriet Egbonimali – Audiovisual Technician Trainee

Creative Technology UK

Harriet is an enthusiastic and dedicated member of the team who has been working with CTUK for over a year. She is currently gaining experience setting up and connecting equipment for events, troubleshooting and repairing equipment and working on-site to ensure that content is broadcast consistently with no loss of signal and minimal latency.

What Sparked Your Interest in the industry?

“The opportunity for exposure to innovative technology and a chance to work with cutting-edge technologies.”

What is your advice for women who are looking to get into the industry?

“Confidence is key. Put yourself forward and accept new challenges.”

Joanna Byford – Audiovisual Technician

Creative Technology Ireland

Joanna is an experienced AV Technician based on-site at Microsoft Ireland. As an on-site AV technician, she is responsible for planning and implementing all internal live and virtual Microsoft events; from conferences to large-scale projects for high-profile dignitaries. Her role includes setting up events, maintaining equipment, helping with video productions, and all AV requirements.

Joanna’s passion for live music started from a young age, leading her to study Music Production and Sound Engineering at College, which eventually led her into the events industry.  

What are some of the positive actions that CT is taking to ensure gender equality?

“I love that CT Ireland has lots of female professionals, it was one of the reasons I was so excited to work there. It is very encouraging to walk into a company and see many inspiring women working alongside me, especially as I find AV is a very male-dominated workforce in Ireland. CT provide as much training and support as required to help you get to where you feel you can flourish the most in your career. There’s no limit to what you can achieve!.”

What is your advice for women who are looking to get into the industry?
“Just go for it. Explore your options. I started out with live sound then post-production, I even considered foley for a while. If you have a passion for the industry, people will take notice. I never thought I would be in the position I am today, and I could not be happier.” 

Alannah Hayes – Audiovisual Technician

Creative Technology Ireland

Alannah is a highly-qualified Audiovisual Technician with over 4 years of experience successfully delivering various large-scale events and conferences. An honours graduate in Audio and Music Production, Alannah has extensive AV technical knowledge and experience in operating graphics, cameras, lights, audio, show calling and virtual event elements.

What are some of the positive actions that CT is taking to ensure gender equality?

“One particularly positive action CT is taking is offering training to technology students of The Lir College in Dublin, a large portion of which are female. These young techs-in-the-making are getting valuable hands-on experience, working alongside and training with some of our top staff. Although the number of female employees in the live department is still a bit low, we hope to see some of these students joining the team in the years ahead. We also have a number of regular female freelancers who are some of the top professionals in the industry, and I believe I have learned a lot from working alongside them.”

What is your advice for women who are looking to get into the industry?
“The best advice I could give would be to never underestimate yourself. Always be confident in your skillset and abilities. Never be afraid to put yourself forward for anything, if you work hard and are passionate about what you do, success will come your way in many different forms!”

Cecilia Rydberg – Warehouse Manager

Creative Technology Sweden

Cecilia has over 16 years of experience in the live events industry. Her exceptional organisational and leadership skills saw her take on the role of Warehouse Manager at CT Sweden 4 years ago. Cecilia’s role includes operational support, overseeing deliveries, inventory, transportation, maintaining safety procedures in the warehouse and much more.

Can you see any signs that the historical gender imbalance in the industry may be starting to shift?

“I see more and more female technicians and stagehands entering the industry compared to 5-10 years ago. I feel that it is going in the right direction.”

What is your advice for women who are looking to get into the industry?

“Even if you initially don’t have the skills, but you have the passion and interest, you can go a long way. Gather your courage, and you can do it. Don’t be afraid to start from scratch and believe in yourself.”

Helena Figueras – Finance and HR Director  

Creative Technology Spain

Helena is an experienced Finance and HR Director with a history of working for multiple global corporations. She is highly-qualified in her field, with a Masters in Financial Management at EADA and a Degree in Economics. Her role includes corporate finance, strategic planning, budgeting, financial reporting and accounting.

What are some of the positive actions that CT is taking to ensure gender equality?

“Creative Technology does not discriminate and offers everyone the same opportunities and encourages active participation.”

What is your advice for women who are looking to get into the industry?

“Have a lot of passion and enthusiasm for the role you want to do.”

Irum Ashraf – General Manager  

Creative Technology Middle East – Qatar

Irum is an industry veteran with over 20 years’ experience in the Live Events, Arts and Sports industry. In her time, she has worked with high-profile clients across the world, managing key accounts and business relationships. Irum oversees the day-to-day operation of CT’s Qatar branch, drives sales and expands market share. Her communication with clients and in-depth knowledge of the industry is an essential part of CT being a leading supplier in the Qatar market.

What are some of the positive actions that CT is taking to ensure gender equality?

“NEP are not only looking at gender equality but diversity and inclusion as a whole. It’s a global commitment towards how we, as a company, manage issues such as employment, gender, race, sexual orientation and religion, without any bias. I am appointed as the Diversity and Inclusion Champion for Creative Technology across UK, Europe and the Middle East, and we are taking great steps towards identifying what our challenges are around diversity and equality. Our global Inclusion policy which expands over 2021/ 2022, offers various education and inclusion workshops for senior management, addresses our communication strategy and looks at how we can ensure a non-bias recruitment process.”

What is your advice for women who are looking to get into the industry?

“If you have the passion, drive and ability to work hard, then there are roles out there for you. I believe gaining experience across all event sectors is certainly key in moving up the ranks but also to help someone new to the industry decide what area of events they want to move into.”

Virginia Tong – Senior Project Manager   

Creative Technology Asia Pacific – Hong Kong

Virginia is a highly-skilled senior event Project Manager with over 8 years’ experience in successfully planning and executing AV technical management across multiple high-profile projects. Her client management skills have helped build strong relationships and trust, which has resulted in her working on several large scale projects.

Virginia leads a team of engineers and has outstanding leadership, organisation, communication and proactivity skills. She prides herself on delivering the right solution for her clients while ensuring exceptional events are delivered. 

Can you see any signs that the historical gender imbalance in the industry may be starting to shift?

“In Asia, the AV industry is not popular amongst female professionals, but I have noticed more women joining the event industry over the past few years. My experience within the industry at CT has been very positive. I have never felt any gender bias within CT, and they are very active in encouraging and helping all staff further their career with additional training and courses.”  

What is your advice for women who are looking to get into the industry?

“The AV industry can require heavy lifting, pushing flight cases and overnight setups so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty but find the balance. You don’t need to change who you are to fit into this industry. Embrace your femininity and show your worth as a female in this industry.”

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