Wave Makers - Cheryl Walton and Carrie McKenzie-Bush

Introducing Wave-Makers, our member spotlight. Each month we ask some of our inspiring members to answer a few questions about themselves.  We are starting with our membership committee co-chairs Cheryl Walton and Carrie McKenzie-Bush, as we kick off our 2nd year of WAVIT. Here is a little more about the two of them, feel free to reach out if you need questions answered about membership or getting someone recruited. They are also at many industry events this year across the country , so if you see them, please say hi, they'd love to connect with you. 

If you have been in the industry a while, what are some of the biggest changes you have seen, if any?
The changes I have seen most are the collaboration to make this industry even better. I remember when people wouldn't even talk to each other to see growth, they were too stuck within their brand or region. You now see manufactures working together and integrators helping each other to get the job done, egos aside! The partnerships are making it even easier for our clients.

If you worked in another industry, what struck you when you first entered the AV industry?CMB: What struck me most about the AV industry verses other industries or the tech space in general, is just how important personal relationships are in securing the sale. Being in marketing this was especially noticeable because marketing resources in the AV space tend to be allocated more towards creating shared experiences and supporting the sales team members in their relationship development. And because of this, calculating ROI is a little more nuanced. Once in the industry for any length of time, it does make a lot of sense to focus on relationships because AV is so project driven.

CW: I realized that building relationships is key in this industry.  This industry never gets stale, the technology is always evolving and I'm continuously learning something new!

Do you have any recommendations for “must read” books relating to business; being a woman in business, business in general or motivational books?
CMB: One of my favorite books is ‘Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business’ by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia. The book (and the concept) focus on the idea that for a business to be truly successful for the long term, there has to be an intrinsic value beyond financial gains for the company. What value is the company bringing to their team members, their customers, their communities and for the environment. Another is ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins, especially for anyone in management and then ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ by Spencer Johnson.

CW: Two of my favorites are Dale Carnegie's Lifetime Plan for Success and Mark Scharenbroich’s Nice Bike, I recommend to everyone.  I also admire Simon Sinek..... I follow him on every platform I can!  

What do you do in your free time? 
This year I turn 50 and to celebrate I am participating in a 10K Spartan race in the Poconos in July, so a lot of my spare time is training for that.  I spend a good amount of time doing anything outdoors including hiking, biking, and never ending yard work. 

CW: I enjoy my 2 dogs, biking, kayaking, hiking, anything active in general and also have made reading/podcasts a priority for my down time. I'm not afraid to admit I also set time for social media, whether it is learning, inspiring, games or just plain thoughtless scrolling! I love a good tv series or movie too.

If you could give any advice to a young woman starting out in AV and may be facing challenges unique to being a female in a male-dominated industry, what would you tell her?CMB: To young women starting out in AV, or any male dominated industry, my biggest piece of advice is to start networking and making connections however you can including volunteering for industry organizations (like WAVIT), connect on LinkedIn people in the industry and engage with their posts and  read….educate yourself using industry magazines and blogs.

CW: My biggest advice to young women or anyone new to this industry is being open, voice your opinion but also gain knowledge; through education, being mentored by a female or veteran AV leader and getting involved in organizations within the industry. I am a firm believer in asking questions and making friends. 

When asked how they got into the industry, almost everyone states they “fell into AV”.  Now that some colleges are starting to offer tracks for AV, do you think that the industry will change?
I am one of those people that did "fall" into this industry. I believe that we are just tipping the scale on education through colleges, etc. We still need to be talking about it anytime we can and getting the word out there how great this industry is and how much there is to learn everyday! 

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