Ericka Shumpert leads AVI-SPL’s participation in events like trade shows and conferences, and organizes many of our own educational/networking public events. She’s also an active member in the AVIXA’s Women’s Council, which recognized Shumpert with its Ultimate Team Player award at InfoComm 2019. In the Q&A below, Shumpert talks about the win and the valuable mission of the Women’s Council.
Q: When did you join the AVIXA Women’s Council?
Shumpert: I’ve been a member for over two years, since it was known as the Women of InfoComm. I attended my first session at ISE [Integrated Systems Europe), and then Coleen Sterns Leith and I started the Tampa chapter, which we continue to co-chair.
Q: When did you find out you were being recognized for your contributions to the council?
Shumpert: I knew I had been nominated, but I didn’t know I won until the Women’s Council breakfast on Thursday, when they showed my photo on the presentation display.
Q: What were your first thoughts?
Shumpert: I was shocked and honored. It helps that people at AVI-SPL voted. We have a large group representing the Tampa chapter.
Q: Talk about the mission of the Women’s Council and how the Tampa group supports that.
Shumpert: The purpose is to empower women in the AV industry. At the Tampa chapter, we do this by hosting tech tours, networking events, and activities where we give back to the community through events like Dress for Success and a Metropolitan Ministries program called Inside the Box. For our chapter’s events, Coleen and I handle all of the logistics like venue coordination and agenda creation.
Q: Do you think your win will affect your work on the council?
Shumpert: My attitude of being part of a team doesn’t change, because we accomplish more as a team than as individuals.
Q: What about the council made you want to join?
Shumpert: I believe so strongly in the women’s council and things we’re trying to accomplish. We’re on a mission to increase awareness and education and help women in the industry. And that’s easy to do because of the team working together.
Q: What’s it like working with the Tampa chapter?
Shumpert: We learn from others’ experiences. Coleen is a great co-chair and has a very active role in AVIXA. Other women in the group, like Heather Callaway from APG Electric, are great mentors. Sherri Beck, AVI-SPL’s director of learning and development, is on the committee, so we’re growing the group and involving our manufacturing partners.
Q: On the topic of growth — how has the group changed or improved since you joined?
Shumpert: Our group has grown from 15 members to over 100. We recently surveyed our members and asked, “What do you need from us?” We want to reach their goals, like hosting tech tours and offering specific training. That shows the group is dedicated to what it’s intended to be – helping women in the industry.