Keep the door open
In the AV industry we have discussed how to get young people in the door, trained, and rising up through the ranks. NSCA has initiated their Ignite program and hosted a panel on working across generations at their annual business leadership conference. Mark Coxon wrote on rAVe about the issue being more of an issue of those on the older end of the spectrum not getting out. Then I attend a comic convention.
Stay with me for a second. C2E2 is a comic convention in Chicago. Held every year at McCormick place, it is a chance for about 60,000 Midwesterners to get their fill of sci-fi, comics, and all things geeky. I sat in a session called “Mentoring the Next Geek Generation.” It was a fascinating look at how these four authors and editors in the sci-fi and comics space looked at the issue of not only raising up another generation of geeks but welcoming them in.
The discussion wound around to the topic of access. Meaning, those who are not a part of a homogeneous segment may find breaking into this geek culture, or technology, daunting. On the panel was three women and one man. Of those, only one was white. Even as a white woman, Ms. Lynne Thomas began to talk about access and opening the door to others.
Diversity is not something we talk about in the industry very much. We do talk about expanding the number of women in AV. What about those who aren’t white, or straight, or you? Doing a cursory search, I could not find an African-American AV organization, nor one for other ethnic backgrounds. That is the point of diversity is to get people on your team who are not you, or from your background.
The way we do that is to make certain the door is open and communicate to interested parties that the door is open. Talk with high schools, trade schools, or community groups. Actively reach out to areas where the majority of the constituency does not look like you. In doing so you will not only give your organization different perspectives but also infuse your company some much needed youth and enthusiasm.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.
Keep the door open