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Interview: Bridget Cline of FAVE

06 · 11 · 09

@geekgirls

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Geek Girls Network: Tell me about receiving the AV Woman of the Year Award. Has receiving this award helped your bridgetclinebusiness or FAVE?

Bridget Cline: Winning the inaugural Women in AV award was huge for me!  Although I joked that it was a “one horse race”, there are so many incredibly talented women in our field, and I was shocked to find-out that I had won!  My assistant and mentee Kristen Jeffries nominated me, based on the criteria of professional achievement in the AV field as well as a commitment to helping other women succeed in our industry. 

I’m not sure if this has helped my company grow (I think my current clients already know they’re with the best *grin*), but it has certainly helped give FAVE more credibility and press.  That’s my passion, and it was just perfect timing – total synchronicity!

GGN: What specifically drew your interest to become involved in the AV field?

BC: I came from the Event Planning and Fundraising field, and AV was always a portion of what I did.  I had the opportunity to purchase a small Rental & Staging company, and partnered-up with an established firm and my current partner, Dugg Hadden.  I was hooked from the first show.  There’s nothing like it!  Folks in the industry say that it gets in your blood, and it’s true!  I’d rather be on show site, living on Cheetos and Mountain Dew, sleeping 3 hours a night than pretty much anywhere else in the world!  Working with our clients is my favorite part – I love the creative process, and watching our dreams come to fruition on a VERY large scale!  It’s so much fun to do production work in a studio, and then see it 20’ high and 80’ wide, being watched by 1000’s of eyes! 

GGN: Have you worked on any projects that you feel were exceptionally exciting for you?

BC: Not to be cheesy, but most of the projects are exciting!  The best times for me are taking a client’s budget and really stretching ourselves to make something wonderful happen!  I love to create magic, and it’s even better if I can do that AND save someone money!  It’s like a double challenge! 

We also do some pretty large-scale projects, and of course those are amazing!  We did a 360-degree surround screen, over 400’ long and 24’ tall, with 24+ enormous projectors hanging from truss.  It was INCREDIBLE!  I knew I was a true “Geek Girl” when everyone else was taking photos of the screen, and I was focused on the rig on the ceiling! 

GGN: What skills/tools do you feel are vital to succeed in this industry?

BC: Pretty much the same skills that are vital to success in any industry – the willingness to work hard and listen to the folks who have been doing it for years; the drive to push yourself to learn and be the best; and flexibility.  There are so many different career paths within the AV field, from production to live events to studio work to sales – there’s a place for anyone who wants to get involved! 

GGN: Do you feel there are any pressures in the industry because you are a woman?

BC: Sure!  This is one of the most male-dominated industries I’ve ever encountered.  Most industry functions are maybe 2% – 5% female professionals.  It’s tough to go to a tradeshow and the only other women you see are those in bikinis or push-up bras “modeling” for a product line.  It certainly doesn’t help our self-esteem as professionals!  Grrrrrr… 

GGN: Tell me about FAVE. When did you start this organization? What factor(s) lead to you decision to create FAVE?

BC: FAVE has been on my mind for years – I’m always on the look-out for female colleagues to share with, and it got pretty lonely!  It also bothered me that we would do a call for technicians paying $300 – $400 per day and get only men, and then do a call for models or hostesses paying $100 per day and get hundreds of resumes from women.  Why on earth would anyone stand in high heels for 12 hours to make $100, when they could wear comfy clothes and learn a skill and make 3 or 4 times that amount?  I just didn’t get it!  And so I decided to change it, or do the best I could!

GGN: What is your ultimate goal for FAVE and the women involved?

BC: To take over the world!  (Sorry!  Just kidding…)  Ultimate goal?  To introduce as many women as possible to the AV industry, and get as many as possible involved professionally.  To provide a place where novices and pros can share ideas and information, find job opportunities, and earn scholarships for education and certification purposes. 

GGN: What has been a defining moment in your life? Your career?

BC: Wow!  Well, the defining moments in life and career happened almost simultaneously!  Almost 11 years ago to the day, I discovered I was going to have a baby.  While I’m told that this almost always triggers the “nesting” instinct in women, I was a bit different.  Pregnancy triggered my “workaholic” instinct.  I wanted to be able to provide well for my little boy, and I really kicked-it into high gear at that point.  Fortunately I had some incredible professional mentors throughout those years, who helped me balance grad school, career, and motherhood. 

I really want Marshall to grow-up in a world where career paths aren’t based on gender.  He loves to tease me now about my work – hopefully someday he’ll say “wow – this really rocks!”

GGN: What message would you give to geek girls just starting out in the AV industry?

BC: First, I suppose, would be HAVE FUN!  This is an incredible industry to work in, and the journey should be savored!  After that, I would advise anyone to push the pride down and ask as many questions as possible.  Ask questions until people tell you to shut-up, and then keep asking questions!  It’s an On-The-Job Training type of work environment, and you have to just dig-in, admit you don’t know a lot, and go for it!  Also, STICK WITH IT!  You’ll have that “A-Ha” moment when everything around you just “clicks” – give it time!  Additionally, I’d suggest finding a mentor (I’ll help as many girls/women as I can, locally or remotely!) and listening to what she has to say!  It’ll be worth it in the long run!  Finally, don’t charge too little for your services – if you know your stuff, you’re worth it! 
FAVE is an international, non-profit trade association designed to mentor and encourage young women to join the ever-expanding AV field while providing support, scholarships, and networking opportunities to novices and seasoned AV professionals.

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