T his year for International Women’s Day, we wanted to shine a light collectively on 7 devoted female professionals in AV, Events, and Production. Women make up only 14% of the AV industry, so it's important to recognize the work that is being produced by females worldwide. Gender equality is essential for economies, communities, and businesses to thrive! We hope their stories inspire other women in these industries, as well as future generations who want to work in AV, Events or Production. Let’s celebrate women's achievements and increase their visibility, not only for International Women’s day, but every day #EachforEqual. Take a look at their stories below!
Anna Green | Managing Director
| London, UK
One of my fellow directors describes me as the ‘beating heart of Broadsword’ and in a practical sense I do keep things moving and flowing. But it has also been my ability to dream big, my empathy, my understanding of others and ability to build bridges and be a conduit between my colleagues that has led me to my role as Managing Director. With an innate ability to recognise emotions in myself and others, I care deeply about my team and their well-being, taking time to listen and foster open and communicative relationships.
I’ve always loved the buzz of bringing people together and creating something that they experience. I’m also a huge advocate of storytelling, it is such a powerful way to share a message and leave a legacy.
In 2014, my husband and I made the bold decision to branch out and build an event agency from scratch. The founders of Broadsword were friends from previous roles and they were looking to reimagine the company. So it made sense to join forces; we took responsibility for Sales and Marketing and the development of company culture with a strong set of values.
My roots are in technical theatre, I did my degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. I specialised in Stage Management and learned how to solve problems and produce a brilliant show. Being behind the scenes on a theatre production has so many similarities to working on a live event, so it was a fairly natural transition. I am also a trained primary school teacher and during my time in education, developed myself as a strong and capable leader and mentor with a deep respect for hard work and determination. I came to Broadsword with the knowledge and experience of how to build a team of really special people who truly care about the important work that we do and each other.
A natural multi-tasker, I wear many hats, at home (I am a proud mum of two teenagers and a whippet) and at work but always focus on the positive and am comfortable being me; I never try to be someone else. Over the next five years, I would like to maintain the cooperative and family-like environment we have created at Broadsword, while we grow and create extraordinary live events, alongside continuing to balance my professional and personal life.
Caroline Husa Bell | Owner
OnPoint Rigging and Staging
| North Carolina, US
My husband and I decided to start OnPoint 2 years ago, leveraging my husband’s 25 years of experience in rigging. We saw an opportunity to provide quality equipment, delivered with professional service, to the regional market.
My previous career was heavily female oriented, consulting to HR. This venture has definitely been a switch to be in a male dominated industry. When I can make a relationship connection and demonstrate I know how to deliver value, we seem to get past any gender issues.
First, I love being an entrepreneur. The constant opportunity to explore ways to serve our clients more efficiently and effectively keeps me engaged every day.
Second, as a B2B equipment rental company, our focus is building long term relationships with regional production companies. To serve our clients, we need to understand and match their vision for each and every project. And relationship building is one of the most fun aspects of my work.
Third, it’s exciting to build a business with my husband!
My background includes over 25 years in corporate consulting in senior client management roles. Despite success in the corporate world, I’ve always searched for something different. And when my health took a turn from the stress of the corporate world, we made the decision to act on the business idea my husband recognized years earlier. That’s when OnPoint was born.
In 5 years, we will have built a solid ongoing business, serving our clients and community with integrity.
Rebecca Alexander | Managing Partner
Corporate AV Services
| Auckland, NZ
I thrive on being surrounded by like minded people with a passion for ensuring event experiences are the best they can be, for both the client and attendee. I am always passionate about entertaining guests whether it’s a personal gathering right up through to a jam packed, tightly organised event with perfect production extravaganza! I get a real thrill from making sure people are having a great time.
My career has arrived within Audio Visual management from a creative background - graphic design and brand management. I initially entered the company as an Account Manager, and I now share joint ownership of the company. Business ownership means wearing multiple hats but my biggest two roles are heading the sales team, and the creative production and marketing side of the business.
Fostering longstanding and meaningful relationships with our clients and partnering business. It is my superpower!
By combining my background together with skills in the editing department, multimedia design and production design I can be involved with an event in many different creative capacities.
Sara Sinclair | PA to MD and Event Sales
| Surrey, UK
I fell into it to be honest - I lost my job quite suddenly in the finance firm I worked in previously; found out about the office manager role going at Clownfish; interviewed the next day and was offered the job that same day!
It’s always changing; being able to build relationships with clients and see how happy our service makes them.
I trained as a PA for 6 months when I was 19; worked in a private equity firm looking after 5 people for 1.5 years and then joined Clownfish in August 2017.
Massively! Being in a large corporate firm, you stick very much so to your job role - this was managing 5 diaries, booking travel and doing admin. Since being at Clownfish in a small team, you have to learn how to do everything - I came in as the office manager, quickly became Matt’s PA and have since learnt about sales, marketing, social media, finance and even working on the events team, whilst still putting the skills I had into practice - it’s a rollercoaster!
Jessica Robinson | Staffing Coordinator
L & M Sound
| New York, US
I have always been interested in the human element and the development of the employee/employer relationship. I have Human Resource experience and I was able to apply that experience to this role and develop it within my company.
What’s not to love?! I get to play a vital role in live event production for a plethora of different events. From private parties, to large corporate galas, and celebrity performances this industry is exceptionally exciting and will always keep you on your toes. It is such a deeply people-oriented field and I constantly feel fulfilled. The growth possibilities are seemingly never-ending.
After I graduated from college with my bachelor’s degree in Political Science I aimed to work in Public Policy or pursue a career in law. The year I graduated was one of the largest groups to ever be released into the job market armed with a Bachelor’s degree. This made every application and interview almost cut throat in a way. I decided to go on to Graduate School and quickly realized I needed to get into the workforce to pay my mounting tuition bills. Taking any income I could, I found myself in retail and slowly moved my way up to an instore HR position. Here I found my love for logistical planning and interpersonal relationships with colleagues. From there I stayed in retail for another couple of years and moved into varying management positions. The inconsistency in my schedule and the intense demands of dealing with unrealistic expectations was grueling and something I couldn’t do anymore.
I found myself in an interview at a very large international construction company where I rocked the interview and found myself in a corporate environment for the first time. Here I also “climbed the ladder” but also experienced my first hit on the glass ceiling. The construction industry is another heavily male-dominated industry and it became apparent that the only capacity they would allow women to work within that company was in administrative and support roles. Despite constantly going above and beyond, cross-training and taking advantage of every tool available to help my professional growth, my superiors actually straight-up refused to move me into a bigger role. I was also very underpaid. Upon my leaving the company for my current job, they hired a male to replace me. They changed the name of the position (he still worked in the same capacity as I did and title change was something I proposed for a year for myself) and paid him a very significant amount more than I was ever paid despite my years of dedication to the company and experience.
I found my current role while job hunting. I was offered many other administrative positions during this period with considerably better pay than my position at the construction company. I wanted to move out of that support type of role. With a stroke of luck I found this company. It was immediately clear that their values and practices here aligned with mine. The role was meant to be one that grew with me and my development. Almost 3 years later I have moved into managing logistical planning, human resources, personnel management and I’ve been given the space to lead. I’ve developed a sense of autonomy, confidence and validation of my skill set. Here I found that I am treated as an equal and our team leans on one another equally which knits together our strong culture and performance.
I’ve learned that company culture is more important than anything else a job can offer. Having a transparent, honest and supportive work environment changes your mentality of having just a job to having your career. Working with a team that communicates well, respects one another and works toward the success of our company is so important to me. 5 years ago I honestly only considered pay exclusively in deciding where I would work. While pay is important, it is no longer my sole deciding factor. All of these factors have played a major role in my career development and professional portfolio.
I hope to continue growing in my role with my company. Here my title is less important to me than it was previously. I feel that titles are usually how we define where we would like to be in the future. Here, that doesn’t necessarily matter to me.
Olivia Clephane | Business Support Manager
| Peterborough, UK
I was lucky enough to meet Peter roughly 11 years ago when we were in a local theatre group together. We became good friends and stayed in touch through our college and uni years. A couple of years ago I was ready for a change, and was so in awe of the business and lifestyle Peter had created for himself, so I reached out to him to see if he wanted to employ me, and the rest is history!
I love how creative this industry is! It is such a great feeling when a client comes to us with ideas for their events and be able to make it a reality for them. This industry continues to experiment with different concepts, and everyone wants the next best thing for their event. It is brilliant to be able to create that. There is always something new to learn and that is what keeps it so refreshing. It constantly keeps us on our toes!
I am still reasonably new to this industry; I have only been with LUX for 18 months. I can absolutely see myself staying within the event production world. My 2020 goal is to complete a Project Management course and start focussing more on that side of my role. I love being at the events and seeing them come to life, it gives you a true sense of job satisfaction. I also intend to continue to learn as much as I can about our equipment so I have a better overall understanding. It can often be a tricky task as it is so broad, but knowing this is priceless.
Samantha Owens | Associate Production Manager
Pink Monkey Solutions
| Colorado, US
I moved to Colorado from New York City almost a year ago. My background is in dance administration, theater production management, and catering. Through a connection with another former New Yorker that moved to Colorado, a good friend and lighting designer, I was offered a seasonal position as Associate Logistics Manager at Pink Monkey. That position turned permanent after a few quick months. The majority of our company’s employees have a background in theater whether it’s stage management, lighting design, international tour management, or theater carpentry.
I love producing, planning and learning from my experiences. What keeps me hooked is that the event industry is ever-evolving and also inherently encourages growth. Working at a project-based organization gives my team immediate opportunities to implement lessons we’ve just learned on the last job and broaden possibilities a little more with each event. I never get bored.
In college, I studied dance and business management. I lived in New York City for 6 years after school where I gained more experience than I could have imagined in producing events and developing processes. I worked with a few dance companies and dance centers including the Mark Morris Dance Group and Gibney Dance. Most of my theater production experience was learned through apprenticeships and diving headfirst into producing performances, music videos, and film screenings from the ground up. For the second half of my NYC career, I was the Director of Catering for Sweet Chick, a fried chicken and waffles restaurant owned by Nas, which had 5 locations at the time, four in NYC and one in LA, and has since expanded to London. My skills from being a Theater Production Manager translated surprisingly well to managing catering at weddings, music festivals, album listening parties and so much more.
I decided to make a move to Colorado in early 2019 and found Pink Monkey Solutions!
When Pink Monkey decided to change our Management System to Current it opened up many doors for us. Starting fresh gave us an opportunity to step back, reassess, and improve the systems and processes we use day-to-day. Implementing an inventory management system has provided our designers with more readily available photos, dimensions, and quantities, allowed production to easily check product availability, and provided the warehouse with a way to trace product usage to the specific job or renter. This new direction also provided me with a platform to prove my personal strengths to Pink Monkey. As a processes junkie, I was excited to delve into Current. After four months of working with the software, I have been dubbed the ‘Current Guru’ in the office and am still expanding our use of the features available and creating new SOPs for the company.
In five years I will still be producing events in some fashion. The end goal is to have my own venue one day although I haven’t decided on a location yet.
Check out the other great women that work for Pink Monkey celebrating International Women’s day!
Wow! Our team have been overwhelmed by the response of this feature and have absolutely loved reading and being inspired by these stories. We’re so proud to support everyone in this incredible industry of ours, every single day of the year. Do you have a story to share? Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org - we would love to hear from you!