image border bottom

Women in Event Production: Nancy Hart, Zoom.7 Meetings and Events

May 29, 2018 Author: admin Category: Event Planner Tips, Event Production Tips, Slide, Women in Event Technology  0 Comments

Nancy Hart works as a Producer with Zoom7, a nationwide event production company. Nancy began her career in the world of theatre then transitioned into live events as a project manager, producer, and stage manager during the 1980’s. With 30 years of experience in event production and management, Nancy is a true professional that brings a keen sense of storytelling to event production. She was kind enough to sit down with us between shows for a little chat.

How did you get started in the industry?

If my mother were here, she would tell you I was born knowing what I was supposed to do.

The theater is where I started. It’s been in my bones since I was a small child, and I’ve been able to make that into a career. It’s stayed with me all this time, even getting past the childhood ideas of being a ballerina and a firefighter and all of that.

I was the high school theater geek in a great high school theater program, and I’ve been a very fortunate woman to have had an opportunity to have people mentor me along the way. Each of them pushed me along and guided me to the next place and the next person.

In college, I was actually the sound intern at one of the regional theaters in Minneapolis, where I discovered I have a good ear but I’m a lousy technician. I think you’re born with that DNA to be able to make that sort of thing happen. My real passion was directing, coaching and leadership.

My kindergarten teacher wrote to my mother and said, “She will be a leader.” What did I do, organize Legos? I don’t know. I have no earthly idea, but she saw something. So, the passion to create and direct, all of that, has been onboard since the get-go. And I found a way to channel it. It just happened to start with theater, progressed to theme park work, and then with my current company, into corporate business theater and special events.

What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in technology?

 In my early days, being taken seriously as a woman was definitely a challenge. We were assigned, often, to the softer side. I tried to play the game as a young woman very early, and discovered I wasn’t very good at it because I didn’t like it. I realized where my skillsets were, in seeing the bigger picture, and developing that, and bringing the right professionals who loved what they did, who were great at the technology, could not only create but also loved the technology side.

When I discovered the ability to do that, and have that kind of relationship, the world opened up, because I played to my strengths, and they were allowed to play to theirs. We developed mutual respect that way.  I have, over time, developed quite an understanding of the nuts and bolts and the core of things, but I don’t demand that I know every plug and widget. I appreciate that there are people who do it better than I do. And that’s a gift, I think: knowing what you’re good at, focusing on it and then bringing in the right professionals to support that initiative, to create. We are here to create a story. Whether it’s a corporate client or the ground breaking for a giant bridge for the city. First, I ask, “What’s the story and how does the technology help us support that story?” and then I hire the right professionals.

I got a lot of pushback early on. I eventually earned respect. “Oh, she knows how to deal with this, she knows how to talk with us.”  “Yes, I do.”

How do you think women have an advantage in the technical world of events?

I feel that many women have a greater understanding of the ways that technology in all forms needs to support the story. It goes into the creation of the event but also how we operate. And when it comes to my partnership with Heidi at Technisch, it’s wonderful to have a partner that understands the bigger picture and can bring great skill to serving the story with their technology.

What is your favorite tech tool?

My favorite tech tools are my measuring devices: a small high-end laser measure, a 25’ tape and a pocket-sized tape measure. There’s nothing like a good laser measure on a site survey. The small size is a great asset particularly when traveling to multiple venues and hopping on and off planes. The 25’ tape measure is invaluable to me for all of those tight spots where the laser won’t work. The pocket-size lives in my purse. I can’t tell you how many times it’s saved my bacon when nothing else was available. I am also exploring new show calling tools and am currently enjoying working with Shoflo.

What advice can you give to young women considering a career in technical production?

Develop and maintain strong partnerships as they are the key to success on any project (client focused or personal). Be generous. Stay curious. Step out and try new things.

A Newbie Behind the Scenes: My First Time on Headset!

May 22, 2018 Author: admin Category: Getting Technical with Event A/V, Slide, Technisch Creative Behind the Scenes  0 Comments

I’ve worked as an event planner since the early 1990’s, producing fundraising, corporate and social events, but the technical production side has always been a mystery to me. When venues asked me about my a/v requirements, I never quite knew what I needed, and I definitely had no idea what those wizards in black in the tech booth were up to!

Since I’m always up to learn new things, I was thrilled when Heidi said I could listen in on comm at an awards dinner Technisch was producing with their partner, Zoom.7. I got there early to meet all the players so I could put a face with a voice at showtime. Keith was manning the audio backstage and showed me the Voice of God mic that the announcer uses to let everyone know what’s coming next. He had all the lavalier mics lined up and numbered so he’d be ready to get people mic’d up at the right time before they hit the stage.

Jim was in his usual position at the main sound board, playing peppy tunes to get everyone pumped up while the team put finishing touches on the setup. He explained how he mixes in the microphone audio with music to keep the show flowing. Under the direction of producer, Scott Thompson of Zoom.7, the team got to know the players pretty well, and matched music to fit their personalities.

Nancy Hart from Zoom.7 was calling the show on this night, which means she’s the big boss. All of the tech crew have headsets on, and she leads them through the show using a run of show document, which details every moment of the plan. This role takes lots of precision and calm, and intimate knowledge of each part of the process.

I watched as the team set up lights, cameras, microphones, and the row of sparkling trophies for the awards. Once everything in the room was in perfect order, Jim cued up the party music and the hotel team drew back the curtains to welcome the excited crowd, all decked in their finest and ready to celebrate. For the first hour, the tech crew’s job was just to keep the music playing and watch the progress of dinner, to determine if the timing would coincide with the awards ceremony plan. Nancy kept everyone apprised of the plan over comm, so the team was ready to go when the show began!

Nancy smoothly orchestrated each element of the awards. Even a relatively simple show like this required so many little details and instructions, and everyone had to be on point. Nancy told Keith when to have the announcer begin speaking, when to mic people up, and when to send people out onto the stage.

The video team got their cues to keep the slides moving, and they had to stay on the ball to make sure the right names came up on the screen for each award. Jim and Nancy worked together like a well-oiled machine, having rehearsed the show several times. Jim kept the music going, switching it up when he felt the room needed a bit more energy, and fading it out when people were talking.

My biggest takeaway from my first time on comm was how many details, technical elements and instructions go into what seems like a simple awards show. It was so evident that this team enjoyed working together, and the conversation on comm was friendly, fun and professional, but always focused on getting the job done right. Usually at an awards show, I’m only thinking about what people are wearing and who wins what award, and only give thought to the tech team when something goes wrong. Now that I know more about the extraordinarily complex dance that goes on behind the scenes, I’ll never watch the Gala Awards in the same way again!


Written by Sunshine Woodyard

Women in Event Production: Janet Taylor

May 15, 2018 Author: admin Category: Event Production Tips, Slide, Women in Event Technology  0 Comments

Janet Taylor is a powerhouse Event Producer, traveling the world to put on shows for corporations, associations, and nonprofits. Here at Technisch, we’ve loved working with her on a touring show for a cosmetics company over the last five years, and we look forward to many more projects together! Let’s get to know a little bit more about Janet.

Back in the day…

How did you get started in the industry?

I have been in theatre since I was a teenager, but I promised my father that I would get a degree “to fall back on” – so I got a B.S. (how appropriate) in Journalism with an emphasis in Radio/TV/Film.  I’ve essentially outlived the radio industry and have been able to make a living in business theatre.  I tell my friends who are still in “legit” that I usually have the advantage of much bigger budgets and the challenge of much shorter rehearsal schedules.    I’m still performing, but in a different function.  My lines are “yes, let me check on that,” and “of course, I’ll update you on the budget impact as soon as possible.”

I began my life in business theatre in 1984 when I came off the road from a tour with a professional theatre for young audiences based in Boston and took a temp secretarial job to keep the bills paid at home in Chicago.  My boss for this assignment was a national Director of Corporate Programs for Arthur Andersen & Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).  When she discovered that I had been touring as a Company Stage Manager, her eyes widened, her smile got very big and she informed me, “Your temp job ends Friday.”  Before I could ask her why she continued, “If you give me first option on your time, I’ll give you 20 hours a week at $20 an hour (I was being paid $12 by the agency), a phone, a desk and a computer.”  She taught me corporate production and I never looked back.

I’ve always seen myself saving the day.

What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in technology?

My biggest personal challenge was to respond with humor and a smile when the inevitable on-site issues/muck ups/snafus occur. I was very lucky to learn those coping mechanisms early in my career.  Now, I pride myself on that skill set.  Practicing yoga helps.

How do you think women have an advantage in the technical world?

Because we are trained from childhood to be fearless, save the day and enjoy multitasking. My internal soundtrack is often the William Tell Overture or the Sabre Dance.

What is your favorite tech tool?

Either my smartphone or my netbook – I don’t know how I did my job for ten years without them in my hands at all times and I can’t really separate them – especially when the phone is my only source of wifi.

On the job!

What advice can you give to young women who would like to begin a career in production?

Keep doing it.  No matter what.  Now especially is a terrific time to join the industry and ride the upswing in business and jump in with both feet.  Find a company: an agency, a supplier of gear or services, an association, a corporate events department and begin to learn the business by doing the job.  As far as I know, the only training available is either through university theatre departments or for-profit technical schools, neither of which really teach you corporate production.  My industry-specific training was all OTJ.  I bring a great deal of added value to my projects because I have been a stagehand & technician, an event manager for a venue, and a producer/technical director/stage manager for experiential marketing agencies so I know all sides of the business.  I love mentoring with new PA’s.  My number one goal with them is the same as any show I take on — work to foster collaboration for the best show product.



Women in Event Production: Stephanie Jayko

May 08, 2018 Author: admin Category: Slide, Women in Event Technology  0 Comments


Stephanie Jayko is a passionate creative and an accomplished event operations/production manager who is well known for her leadership of theatrical productions and live events. She specializes in corporate event management and high-profile productions.

How did you get started in the industry?

I actually came to the events industry from having worked in theater. I went to school for, and later worked in, production technologies and management for theater. I was mostly working as a Stage and Production Manager for different companies. While I was working as the Production Coordinator for a regional theater company, I was given the task of handling the production for their annual fundraising Gala. I got to be a part of the process all the way through from design to execution. It dawned on me after my second year doing this event, that of all the productions I was working on every year, the Gala was the one I enjoyed working on the most…and it wasn’t actually a theater production, it was an EVENT. I soon after decided to leave the theater world, and have been working in the events industry ever since.

What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in technology?

I’ve found the biggest challenge is getting people to take me seriously. Not only am I a woman, but I am also on the younger side. These two things put together make the uphill climb even steeper. Despite my education and extensive experience (which can be proven by my resume and portfolio at any time) getting the people around me to recognize my expertise is not as easy a task as it should be. I constantly get second-guessed, fact-checked, taught how “how things work”, or completely cut out of technical conversations altogether. It’s frustrating because I’ve spent so much time and energy learning and perfecting my craft, it would be great to be able to do the job without such hurdles.

How do you think women have an advantage in the technical world?

Women are (generally) better at multitasking and handling stress. And this is the ultimate advantage in the technical world, especially where events are concerned. There’s no telling when something might go wrong or change mid-show or any number of “oh crap” moments might happen. Being able to keep your cool, think on your feet and track changes through, all in the same breath makes you an invaluable asset to a tech team!

What is your favorite tech tool?

I’m a BIG fan of Show Flow! It’s a production software that keeps changes in event documents in one place and accessible to your entire team in real time. No more having to print 30 copies of the Run of Show or wondering if you have the most current version. Can you say lifesaver?!

What advice can you give to young women who would like to begin a career in production?

My biggest advice would be to get out there and DO! No matter what discipline you’re looking to get into, whether it’s specific like Audio, Lighting or Projection, or more broad like Production Management, get your hands dirty in every department. The more you know about all the different equipment, needs and uses for it all and how things work, the more valuable you will be to any tech team. Also, remember that any experience is good experience! Whether it’s a paying job or you’re volunteering, your resume lists where you’ve worked, not what you got paid.

Women in Event Production: Jamie Jacobs

April 30, 2018 Author: admin Category: Slide, Women in Event Technology  0 Comments

Our series on powerhouse women working in event technology continues with Jamie Jacobs, a Video Engineer based in Orlando, Florida. Jamie taught show production and live audio production courses at Full Sail for two years, and now works independently producing corporate, academic, and music shows in the Orlando area. We caught up with her to learn a bit more about her experience.

How did you get started in the industry?

I’ve been playing music my whole life, since I was a little kid. At 17 I taught myself the guitar and started writing songs. It was a natural progression to move into production when I decided to attend Full Sail to become a producer. While in my recording arts degree I met Gregg Mandigo. He took me under his wing in live sound reinforcement and I caught a bug for live events. I’d spend Friday and Saturday nights downtown on Wall Street with him, and Sunday mornings at a church where he was the audio director. My first professionally paid gig while still in college was as a stagehand for Beyoncé with Black Onyx Event Services. Now I specialize in both audio and video disciplines as I’ve expanded my career and knowledge base.

What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in production?

The obvious stigmas. I’ll still get the “hey honey can I help you lift that?” Mostly it’s a factor of men not taking me seriously. I also look pretty young so people assume I don’t know what I’m doing, but I usually win them over by asking the right questions. Eventually I get the respect I deserve for my experience level. I don’t let those stigmas affect me. When I was starting out, I messaged Sylvia Massey, a well-known audio engineer and asked her advice. She said “Just ignore the stigma and do your job and show that you know what you’re doing.”

How do you think women have an advantage in the technical world?

The fact that we don’t have that typical male bravado. We don’t come in there straight out with an ego like a lot of men do. As women we help each other a lot. We counteract our physical weaknesses in comparison to men by sticking together and working as a team. We see more details than men do sometimes, that comes from a woman’s psyche in general. We tend to clean up those little details, the minute things that most people seem to overlook. We’re more able to talk to clients and convey what they’re trying to do through our technical skills.

What is your favorite tech tool?

For video, measuring tapes, laser distance measuring tools, and a multi-tool are my ultimate go-to’s.  I also rely on vector scopes and waveform monitors. We don’t always get chroma charts on show site, but it’s a treat when we do. And for audio, I like to use Tweaker, Q-box, adapters, and headphones.

What advice can you give to young women who would like to begin a career in production?

Ignore the stigmas, put your pants on one leg at a time like everyone else and do your job to the best of your ability. Know what you’re worth. Ask questions when you’re unsure of something you’re doing. Work safely. Walk with purpose, and hustle! Don’t try to lift anything more than you’re capable of just to prove something to the men around you, and always lift with your legs!