One of the benefits of being a CEDIA member is the chance for direct and concrete interaction with business peers in a non-competitive manner — a concept called CEDIA Groups.
And of those small thought committees, one of the more unique is “Group 9,” an informal gathering of women who’d originally found common ground at CEDIA 2007 in Denver. Longtime member Lynda Polk explains, “Four of us met in a class, and hit it off right away.”
Polk — who’s with Audio Video Guys in Houston — notes that the women found they had something pretty unique in common: They were all combination business partners and spouses. “A man in the discussion group knew that his wife would want to be a part of it,” Polk continues. The group stayed in touch via phone and email until CEDIA’s Dave Chic (Senior Director of Industry Relations) suggested that the women become an “official” CEDIA Group after a conversation with Lynda at CEDIA 2015.
The women soon discovered the over-arching benefit experienced by members of all the groups: “The fact that we weren’t in overlapping markets allowed us to speak freely about problems, solutions, detailed processes, and numbers.” In that setting, no one’s afraid to reveal proprietary information to a competitor as a result of anything that’s said during the course of a discussion.
“Also — and every bit as important — our personalities created a unique friendship,” says Polk.
And that sense of trust allowed the group to cover ground unique to the members: “The underlying commonality of the group was the husband-wife/business partner dynamic — and the somewhat unplanned roles we’ve found ourselves in as a result of our husbands’ passions for AV,” says Polk. “We have the unique challenge of sometimes spending all day with our business partner, then spending all off-hours with them too. This affects how we deal with workplace issues in an entirely different way than more common business partnerships.”
The group, currently led by Valerie Johnson of UltraMedia (an integration firm serving the Dallas area), boasts five members — a size everyone’s quite comfortable with. “We’ve got a diverse mix of strengths and personalities, and the small group allows each of us an opportunity to be heard when we get together,” says Polk. The group engages in monthly video chats, says Polk.
“If one of us has a pressing issue, that will be our discussion topic. Short that, the group leader will offer ideas for discussion,” Polk continues. “Our video conferences usually run about two hours, and we’ve always had more subject matter than time. We also have email conversations about things that can’t wait for the monthly meeting.”
“CEDIA Group 9’s purpose is simple — it provides an intimate atmosphere where the five of us can speak freely, knowing we’re among kindred spirits,” says Polk.
“The discussion and tone vary a lot, as does life and business. It’s really not more complicated than that.”
Learn more about CEDIA Groups — and get involved — here.
About the author:
Ed Wenck is CEDIA's Content Marketing Manager. Reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org