CEDIA: Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can Do More, Volunteer

CEDIA Column_Volunteer

CEDIA and the home technology industry are currently thriving, but for this momentum to continue, we need the support of volunteers.

We currently have a volunteer base of nearly 100 members, all dedicating some of their time and expertise to raise awareness of the industry. We value the time and effort that these members put into supporting CEDIA, and are looking to continue the collaborative relationship it has with existing volunteers, as well as welcome new members to the team.

CEDIA volunteers have the opportunity to meet great people, collaborate and work with fellow volunteers and industry experts, learn more about home technology and be at the frontline of this fast-paced industry. As well as working with the industry’s best and brightest talent, CEDIA volunteers get the opportunity to support CEDIA at exhibitions, either on the show stand or presenting education and CPD sessions.

There are a number of different ways volunteers can support the industry, which can develop existing personal skills or unearth new ones. CEDIA has three core volunteering types: Shapers, Creators, and Educators. Shapers are known as those who help all levels volunteer of activities and become involved in CEDIA’s Committees and Advisory Groups.  We currently have five committees, focussing on membership, education, standards, industry relations and marketing. Creators are volunteers who dedicate time to writing and reviewing professional papers and serve as subject matter experts, bloggers, and content writers. Finally, Educators help mentor, provide advice, and disseminate knowledge as facilitators, instructors, or presenters.

As part of the programme, volunteers are given complete control over the amount of time they dedicate to the organisation. This can start from less than a day (known as a ‘quick task’), one day or more (a short task), or a yearlong commitment.

Volunteers are an integral part of the CEDIA team and play a big role in shaping the future of the association.  Members who get involved with the volunteering programme are offered the great opportunity to put their stamp on new initiatives, develop resources, implement standards and present training courses. We fully encourage all CEDIA members to volunteering and experience the opportunities available to them.

Stuart Burgess, Just Add Popcorn
I am the volunteer chairman of the CEDIA Outreach Committee, so have put myself forward to take advantage of this opportunity, and have benefitted greatly from it. I do feel that if CEDIA members aren’t getting involved in these committees, then they aren’t taking full advantage of their membership.

By being a CEDIA volunteer, I have the opportunity to host CPD sessions, which I really enjoy. These sessions have helped me build relationships with other industry parties. My aim is to get our industry known as a profession that is as familiar as architects, M&E Consultants and electricians. To do this, we need to be getting the message across to ‘get us involved in projects from the word go, as we can work hand in hand with the other professionals.’

It has taken a while to get architects up to speed on the technology side of things, but we are starting to notice that some of them are understanding that they need to build relationships with us, and get us involved in the project at the build stage.

 This highlights that being a CEDIA volunteer is both rewarding and enjoyable on a personal level, but is of also huge benefit to the wider industry. I would encourage all CEDIA members to get involved as a volunteer.

Marc-Etienne Huneau, Dark Side of the Room
In 2005, we joined CEDIA. The reason for this was that a CEDIA volunteer encouraged us to do so.

Professionally, being involved with CEDIA events and sitting on the board for two years was a great opportunity for me to network with my peers. The biggest benefit to this, was that it actually led to us getting the biggest job we have ever had.

As a volunteer, I also do outreach to interior designers schools every year, and while it’s hard to measure how many opportunities this brings, we are confident that it’s the right thing to do. The benefit of this being that it probably helps establishing us as the go-to company for home automation in the area.

For more information on becoming a CEDIA volunteer please visit www.cedia.co.uk/Volunteer.

Wendy Griffiths is the Executive Director of CEDIA Region 1.