Most of you know Margot Douaihy—and if you don't, you're missing out. Today is, unfortunately, her last day as Content Director of AVTechnology Magazine. I can't be too sad about it because she's staying on as Editor-at-Large, and is pursuing her dreams of being an independent storyteller.
Margot has come to be more than a co-worker to me: she's a friend, work wife, and mentor. Basically, when I grow up, I want to be her. So, on her last day as a full-time Future plc employee, here is a tribute to Miss Margot Douaihy and her many amazing qualities.
Passion Margot is one of the most passionate people I know. And she's not passionate about just one thing—she puts her heart and soul into every single thing she does. It's evident in her work. She can talk for hours about AV-over-IP, blockchain and bitcoins...all the things most people would find mundane. Not only does Margot make herself an expert, she is genuinely interested in all of those subjects. Her passion is evident in her writing. Want to see for yourself? Click here to read articles she's authored for AVTechnology Magazine.
Kindness You will not find a kinder soul than Margot's. She is genuinely interested in helping people. When I first started at Systems Contractor News, I called Margot nearly every hour on the hour with a question. She never made me feel stupid (and, trust me, some of my questions were stupid); she patiently took the time to answer each and every question I had. She's the best friend you'll ever have—one of the few people I know I can call any day, any time when I am in need of an ear to bend.
Mentor Margot is a mentor to many. She never fails to pass along her wisdom. She doesn't hold her lessons learn close to her chest; she shares them with the world so others can learn from her experiences. Margot has shown me what it truly means to be a journalist, and how to be vulnerable, honest, and inclusive. She's helped me handle the tough stories and showed me how to report the truth in difficult situations. And I know for a fact that she's helped others because she just won the 2018 Mattera Mentorship Award; this award honors "leaders who excel in mentoring and helping to shape the careers of less experienced colleagues."
Educator Educator and mentor go hand-in-hand. You can't be one without the other, and Margot is the epitome of both. Fun fact: Margot serves as a Lecturer and Advisor at Franklin Piece University in Rindge, NH. With her new found free time, I have no doubt we will see Margot teaching many AV classes at shows like InfoComm and Integrated Systems Europe (ISE). She will definitely be dropping all kinds of knowledge bombs at the SCN Think Tank and AV/IT Summit in San Jose on April 19th. And, yes, that is a semi-shameless plug.
#RESIST No matter what side of the political fence you fall on, you have to appreciate someone who fights for what they believe in...and actively works toward making the world a better place. Combine Margot's sense of social justice with her innate passion, and, as The Killers would say, "She's got soul but she's not a soldier."
So, cheers to you, Margot. Looking forward to watching where you go with life's next adventure!
Why are you so obsessed with me? Stop talking about the Millennial generation like it’s not a vital part of the AV world
#AVTweeps – ENOUGH WITH THE MILLENNIAL TALK! All day, every day, I hear Millennials this, Millennials that, and it almost always comes with a negative connotation. Some say I fall into the Millennial generation. I say I’m in the much forgotten and commercially irrelevant Gen Y—a hybrid of Gen X and Millennials. I’ve picked up some cool qualities from both groups. I can selfie like nobody’s business…and if you think the selfie is irrelevant in the workplace, you’re dead wrong; people have created million dollar brands with selfies. At the same time, I’m Gen X-ish when it comes to a work/life balance. I’m not a 9-5 clock-in kinda gal, but, at the same time, you’re not going to catch me working 16-hour days just because you have a stocked kitchen and a game room.
I recently had the pleasure of attending AVIXA’s AV Executive Conference. The networking was wonderful but the presentations? Extremely frustrating. Nearly every presenter/panel brought up some issue with the Millennial generation. NEWSFLASH: Millennials now make up the majority of the labor force and have since Q1 2015, according to the Pew Research Center.
Then why is everybody still complaining about them? Because change is hard. Millennials may have different way of doing things and, as I’ve discovered, lots of us are having trouble accepting that our way may not be the best way. Marci Rossell, PhD, and former Chief Economist at CNBC, could not stop talking about younger generations constantly using their phones, and her belief that it was hindering productivity.
Well, is it actually hindering productivity? I don’t think so. Sometimes smart devices are a big distraction, but they can also be a source of inspiration, creativity, and, most importantly, productivity. I spent a lot of the conference live-tweeting for SCN Magazine. The presenters still had my attention, perhaps even more so because I had to listen closely to get their quotes exactly right for social. Know what this did? It allowed those who couldn’t attend to feel like they were in the room and pick up some new knowledge. Sharing is caring, people!
Please stop telling me Millennials are special snowflakes who are afraid to leave their parents’ homes. First of all, if an entire generation needs a safe space, guess what? IT’S OUR FAULT! We’re the ones who raised them in a bubble and everyone-gets-a-trophy environment. Also, who crashed the economy? If you’re over age 40, raise your hand. It’s you. It wasn’t the Millennials. So, yeah, they have to stay at home a bit longer…because nobody is employing them.
It’s time to get off your high horse and figure out that Millennials are business professionals, just like you and me. We can all work together, because we already are. Just stop the bad mouthing and making every class, conference, anecdote, etc. about how terrible the next generation is. And remember, they’re going to be your boss soon.
P.S. For those of you who are interested, I’m happy to teach a class on how to work with Baby Boomers and Gen X. Time to exploit the weaknesses of other generations and tell Millennials how they can deal with co-workers over age 40 who are fiscally irresponsible (remember, they created the 2008 financial crisis and crashed the housing market), selfish (who’s draining social security without caring if there’s anything left for the rest of us?), and refuse to acknowledge their privilege (higher education was way more affordable and they entered a rapidly expanding job market). InfoComm 2018, anyone?
Stressed? Overworked? Odds are your team is, too.
I'm a big believer in downtime. Does that mean the team takes a week to slack off? Nope. But it means they get a break so their brains aren't in overdrive 24/7/365. Here are three quick tips on how to create effective "time off" for your team.
1. Don't Overschedule
Have a huge tradeshow? Don't schedule a project kick-off or critical meetings the next week. Giving the team time to breathe replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation. This downtime is essential to achieving high performance levels.
2. Lead by Example
If you're asking your team to have a light week, don't be "that guy". Don't send them e-mails at midnight or stay in the office until 8 pm each night. By doing so, you're showing them it's not okay to take a break. Even if you are sending those late night e-mails, schedule them to go out first thing in the morning (trust me, they'll never know the difference).
3. Plan Something Fun
Everyone loves an out-of-the-ordinary experience. Do something your team will enjoy and show them you appreciate their hard work. Take them for a hibachi lunch, do an escape room or even plan a mid-day Zumba session! Whatever it is, make sure it's something that will create a bonding opportunity and doesn't place any additional stress on them (aka don't make mandatory fun after-hours).
After a big event, tradeshow, project, etc. the team NEEDS some time to slow down. A continual high-stress workplace leads to a team that is less focused and less creative. As Tony Schwartz says "human beings perform best and are most productive when they alternate between periods of intense focus and intermittent renewal.”
Have any tips for creating effective downtime? Share them in the comments below.
Did you know today is International Mentoring Day? Well, I just found out about it, too, so don't feel so bad.
When I started to think about the subject of mentoring, the first thing that came to mind was a phrase from Sheryl Sandberg in her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. The phrase is "Are you my mentor?" It equates a young woman's search to finding a mentor to the much-loved children's book Are You My Mother? where a young bird searches for its mother asking anything and everything that same question.
So often those of us in our career make the mistake of endlessly searching for a mentor. Thinking you will find the perfect mentor who will let you hitch their star to yours and take you to the corner office is not the answer. You're allowing yourself to believe your entire career can be based off the success of someone else's. You don't need to (and shouldn't) depend on others for your success. As Sandberg said, "I believe we have sent the wrong message to young women. We need to stop telling them, 'Get a mentor and you will excel.' Instead, we need to tell them, 'Excel and you will get a mentor.
I've had many great mentors throughout my life and my career. Some have come into my life for a small amount of time while others have seen me through it all. While very important to me, none of these have been a formal mentorship. We don't have scheduled meetings and, frankly, the word mentor has never been uttered. I've always had an unspoken knowledge that these people were there to guide me through it all. They were ready and willing to let me pick their brains. It was a mutual relationship. I was able to look up to someone who had "been there, done that," while they were able to gain a new perspective and introduced to new ways of looking at the world.
Thinking back, one of my first mentors was Hope Atuel, my manager at my first "real" job. She taught me the importance of doing what you say you will and when you say you will. I'll never forget what she said to me on my first day "I believe when you stop learning, you start dying." From that moment on, I knew she was someone I would want to emulate in my career. She was passionate, making ranks in the boys' clubs and she knew her stuff. I worked for Hope for about a year, a relatively short amount of time, but she taught me so much. In case I've never said it, thank you, Hope.
Another one of my mentors is Nick Belcore. Nick and I have worked together for over 10 years and I began officially reporting to him about a year ago. Again, I never formally asked Nick to become my mentor but he is and he knows it. Nick came from a very different industry so his perspective on conducting business is quite different than mine. He is very formal, wearing suits every day; the audio-visual industry is the complete opposite but his systematic way of doing business has taught me invaluable lessons. His door is always open to me, whether it's personal of business advice. He's spent countless hours answering questions, weighing in on issues and giving me general guidance. For that , I am thankful.
The list of people (to whom I am immensely thankful) who have provided guidance in my career is long. I am grateful that I am now able to mentor younger women in our industry and I hope they are finding our relationship as fulfilling as I am.
P.S. Check out the Women in Consumer Technology's Connect Circle. This formal program is FREE to join and is made up of small groups of women looking to connect, learn and grow together.
Megan A. Dutta