The AV industry clearly has a high regard for WAVE. Now a new Leadership Team has been announced, what are the next steps and expectations for the year ahead?

Launching the new Mentoring Programme in 2020 has been a key focus for WAVE and we are receiving great support from industry associations such as the AV User Group, who really understand the importance of advancing under-represented women in the ProAV industry. Abigail Brown, who administered and managed the group since 2014, was very passionate about getting this programme up and running. Since her passing last November, the Leadership Team has been working hard to ensure the group’s mission is upheld for all its members and followers and that her legacy prevails.

The Leadership Team is made up of men and women who have been closely involved in the group since its beginnings, all of whom were close to Abigail with a vested interest and purpose to build dynamic and ambitious opportunities for women’s professional advancement.

As a result, the Mentoring Programme has been revived and relaunched, and is now officially open for applications.

Who is the programme open to and how will it be run?

The AV sector is predominantly male, and little has changed over the past 10 years. At major ProAV tradeshows such as ISE and InfoComm, female representation is minimal and is not across all roles or levels of seniority. Therefore, the aim of the new WAVE Mentoring Programme is to support women as a minority and give them the chance to build a trusted network with fellow mentees and work their way up the career ladder.

Having said that, it’s important to stress that part of WAVE’s remit is to encourage inclusivity and diversity, so the mentor positions are open to both men and women. It’s then the choice of the mentee during the application process as to which they would prefer for their mentor role.

The women recruited onto the programme will be different age groups and at different levels within their careers, and can come from outside the audiovisual industry.

It’s also important to add that the programme is principally open to UK mentors and mentees only, but if a company is willing to support an employee from a European country in terms of travel time and expenses, WAVE would be open to having them join.

Our funds are raised through sponsorship and the AV User Group is very active in using its network to secure sponsors from all areas of the industry. We’re really pleased with the response and support from our sponsors who recognise that they will be part of an exciting development in our industry.

I am also the Managing Director of Bubble Agency, who will lead the programme with our Programme Manager, Carrie Wooten. The funds will be used to pay for professionals and specialists to come to WAVE events and provide experience coaching and quality training, including confidence building, presentation skills and so on.

What are the main strands of the programme?

Firstly, it’s most important that the mentee has sufficient time with their mentor. We propose a minimum of six one-hour sessions, the first of which will involve mentor and mentee training on guidelines and expectations. The match is carefully considered based on circumstances and goals of the mentee. It’s very important that the mentee comes into the programme with preconceived goals so that both parties can work towards achieving these. An essential element to forming that trusted and confidential relationship is that the mentors also make themselves available outside the one-hour sessions, either in person, online or phone. From experience, we do see reverse mentoring as well. As a mentor myself, I’ve learned a lot from my mentee through the open conversations we’ve had.

Secondly, we will hold monthly mentee meet ups during which every mentee will present on their position and responsibilities within their business so that all mentees can learn about the different job roles in the industry, across multiple sectors, for general knowledge sharing, confidence building, and perhaps career movement and progression. Also, during these monthly sessions, we will ask women in industry to come in and tell their career path story and lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Thirdly, there will be additional events throughout the year that mentees are encouraged to attend. As well as the WAVE networking events, these could be group meet-ups at tradeshows, where WAVE would also seek to secure a conference panel session or presentation slot where possible. It’s about raising the profile of WAVE and its mission while opening new opportunities for mentees expanding their network.

Read the full article in our latest issue below –