I just wrapped up my two-year term on CEDIA’s Board Of Directors and decided to share my experiences to give a glimpse into our industry’s trade association, including where it’s been and where it’s heading.
Why did I decide to serve? I’m a home technology professional, just like you, and wanted to have a hand in shaping where we’re heading instead of sitting on the sidelines and spectating. I wasn’t happy with where we were as an industry two years ago, so I threw my hat in the ring.
I stepped into my role January 2017 just as CEDIA became a global board with members from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Egypt, and South Africa. We dove immediately into a strategic planning initiative that is just wrapping up now. The process began by questioning everything CEDIA thought it was and by taking into account perspectives from myriad industry players big and small. What’s emerged will set our industry on a course toward growing membership and helping CEDIA members improve their businesses. We distilled the message down to a few simple battles:
- Improving education: Watch for more trainings aimed at new employees along with roadshows where CEDIA comes to you. One of the reasons I joined the board sprung from not having enough training for our employees.
- Increasing professionalism through standards, guidelines, and best practices: New accreditations, certifications, and marks of excellence will be announced, allowing members to set themselves apart from the competition.
- Deeper engagement and partnership with the design and build community: If you’re like us, a lot of your business comes from the specifier community. CEDIA is hyper-focused on helping you reach these folks through continuing education and marketing. Watch for more on this in 2019.
One key takeaway from my time at CEDIA is the staff (led by CEO Tabatha O’Connor) and board (led by Dave Humphries) are some of the most incredibly dedicated and passionate people I’ve ever met. It’s an honor to have served alongside them. They work long hours and log thousands of miles in travel each year trying their best to push the industry forward. It’s humbling. I look back at my pre-CEDIA volunteer years with a bit of guilt. This quote sums it up nicely:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic" delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on April 23, 1910 by Theodore Roosevelt
It’s easy for us to criticize and take potshots at the efforts of others, but much harder to lean in and contribute. Imagine if we all signed up to help CEDIA in some small way. What if you helped out a fellow integrator across the country once a month? We’re benefitting right now from the efforts of a few passionate volunteers and paid staff. We need to realize that CEDIA is for all of us, and for every nickel you invest, a dollar comes back.
Are you a critic or the man (or woman) in the arena?
Stay frosty and see you in the field.