AVIXA will continue to demonstrate its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at InfoComm 2023 this June 10-16 (exhibits 14-16) in Orlando, Florida.
At the show, the AV community will experience more of the manifestation of AVIXA’s dedication to DEI through powerful conversations, diverse voices on stage, and programs to reach diverse youth.
AVIXA is very proud of the work we are doing with the AV community to bring discussions on DEI out in the open and support programs that are making a positive impact. We want everyone to feel welcome to this exciting industry, because everyone deserves to belong and for their story to be heard. In addition, it’s critical that the environment where we host InfoComm is inclusive to everyone. Laws that adversely affect women, LGBTQ+, Black, Latino, Asian, Indigenous, disabled persons, and others are not in line with AVIXA’s values. Orange County, Florida, the home for InfoComm 2023, shares our dedication to DEI and takes deliberate action to support diverse communities, said David Labuskes, CTS, CAE, RCDD, Chief Executive Officer of AVIXA.
Conversations to implement change
AVIXA is intentional about bringing new and diverse voices to the classrooms, panel discussions, and InfoComm stages. In 2021, AVIXA began the “pass the mic” initiative, where speakers are asked to include and support colleagues to present sessions at InfoComm to amplify more diverse voices and points of view. This program is yielding positive results – the InfoComm 2023 current speaker lineup is 26% female or non-binary and 25% minorities.
In addition, InfoComm 2023 will present sessions on how organizations can go beyond conversations about race and take action for racial and gender equity and the importance of leadership being purposeful about implementing DEI practices.
The session Diversity & Equity in the Modern Workplace: Intentional Leadership will feature industry DEI experts sharing their experiences and success stories on how belonging is a powerful sentiment that needs to be understood by leaders and ingrained into an organization's DNA.
The discussion An Ethical Revolution in Tech: Creating DEI Accountability and Psychologically Safe Workplaces will bring together a cross-section of the industry to share insights for change at every level. From the perspectives of workplace leadership, management allyship, or passionate outspoken employee perspective, this session will provide real-world examples.
InfoComm 2023 will also host the annual AVIXA Women’s Council Breakfast featuring keynote speaker Dr. Tarika Barrett, CEO of Girls Who Code, who is on a mission to close the gender gap in tech and change the image of what a computer programmer looks like. Dr. Barrett will shine a light on the transformative power of learning spaces where women can collaborate to problem-solve, innovate, and envision themselves as leaders and equals in their fields.
Paving the way for a future of diversity
InfoComm will also host students from The Loop Lab and Diverse Media Institute, organizations that provide audiovisual education with a particular focus on DEI. The students will tour the trade show, attend seminars and workshops, and attend special AVIXA events.
On Friday, June 16, HETMA (Higher Education Technology Managers Alliance) and AVIXA will announce the recipients of the Prism Scholarships. Now in its second year, the scholarship program was created to encourage women, LGBTQ+, Black, Latino, Asian, Indigenous, disabled persons, and others to become active leaders and role models for technology managers in the higher education space. Recipients receive a one-year Elite Membership to AVIXA, inclusive of the entire online catalog of education, access to a virtual CTS prep course, course materials, the coverage of exam fees for the Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) exam...
In addition, the AVIXA Foundation is currently accepting applications for its elAVate Scholarship and Mosaic Scholarship, which encourage and enable students from diverse backgrounds who show great potential to pursue careers in the audiovisual field. Applications will be accepted through September 3, 2023.
An environment for everyone
At the Orange County Convention Center, attendees will have access to wellness rooms for lactation, medical needs, and prayer, in addition to gender-neutral restrooms. InfoComm is ADA compliant. For visual, auditory, mobility or other accommodations, attendees can note their needs when registering for the show.
DEI support in Orlando and Orange County, Florida
The Orange County Convention Center is owned and operated by the Orange County Government. Elected in 2018, the mission of Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings has been to build a community that works for everyone, one where no one is left behind. The Orange County Government takes deliberate action to affirm and uplift the region’s LGBTQ+ community.
- In 2021-2022, Orange County Government was the largest funder of mental health services for The LGBT+ Center Orlando.
- Orange County Government led the development of a strategic relationship between the Department of Health and Come Out With Pride Orlando which resulted in several mobile vaccination sites during Orlando’s 2022 pride-week events and its pride parade and festival.
- Orange County Government participated in peer-to-peer transgender support/education groups with Bliss Cares.
- Orange County Government funded community-based programs for vulnerable LGBTQ+ youth through Zebra Coalition and Orlando Youth Alliance.
- Orange County Government is proud to invest in its employee resources groups (ERGs), earmarking annual funds to support community initiatives. Current ERGs include (1) African American Employee Network, (2) Hispanic Heritage Network and (3) Orange County Asian Committee. Orange County employees are currently working on building the LGBTQ+ and Ally group for the next fiscal year.
In 2022, the City of Orlando received the highest rating by the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI) for the ninth consecutive year. The MEI evaluates 506 cities across the United States on how inclusive their municipal laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ+ residents and visitors utilizing 49 different criteria including non-discrimination laws and municipal employment policies, inclusiveness of city services, and law enforcement and municipal leadership on matters of equality.
We understand the AV community’s concerns about the current divided culture we are experiencing. AVIXA’s values are strong in fostering an industry that supports and uplifts everyone, and we are proud that Orange County shares those values. Shows like InfoComm impact more than 25,500 individuals that are employed either directly or indirectly by the activity generated by the Orange County Convention Center. We are proud to play a role in supporting jobs and the economy in Orange County, says Labuskes.