New CEDIA CEO Tells Strata-gee, ‘I Promise You Transparency’
The Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) announced today that it has named Daryl Friedman as its new Global President & CEO. Friedman’s appointment is effective as of November 27, 2021. Don’t know that name? I’m not surprised as Friedman, an experienced Association executive, comes from the Recording Academy…the folks who bring you the Grammy awards. In an interview this week, Friedman told me that he’s close to the engineers and producers – the highly technical folks in his current association – so he brings a clear technology appreciation to his new role.
Learn more about CEDIA selecting Daryl Friedman as CEO
Daryl Friedman has an extensive resume of trade association experience. Based in Washington, DC., he has personally been involved in efforts to lobby the U.S. Congress on behalf of his constituents of the past two-and-a-half decades – the music creators and technologists who are the members of the Recording Academy. Friedman takes his role as their advocate seriously, saying his charge is to champion their cause.
Prior to the Recording Academy, Friedman was the founding executive director of the Washington D.C. chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. According to his LinkedIn profile, this chapter grew at the fastest pace in the company’s history. He was named Executive of the Year in 1999 by the Washington Area Music Association.
We’ve found someone that I am confident will be the step-change in leadership that CEDIA needs and deserves. Daryl has decades of experience in trade association leadership and member advocacy. He exudes a humble nature that draws conversation and consensus, and he deeply values technical expertise and artistry. Daryl has a vision for what CEDIA can be – and will be – and he has the experience to realize it.”Jamie Briesemeister, CEDIA Board and Executive Search Committee member
I had the opportunity to meet with Friedman via Zoom for a brief introductory conversation earlier this week. With a quick and confident speaking cadence, Friedman comes off as intelligent, engaged, upbeat, and open to any and all ideas.
Perhaps most importantly, Friedman did not duck any of my questions. These types of interviews are often difficult as the person has not yet assumed the role, so there is so much that they just don’t or can’t know. But still, I like to get a sense of what knowledge they’ve gleaned from the homework they have done in vying for the appointment – as well as trying to get a sense of just how their mind works.
A Champion or Advocate; A Comprehensive Outreach
So I asked Friedman, how did he view this role (Global President and CEO). He said he likes to view himself as a champion or advocate for – in this case – the working integrator who is a member of CEDIA. The role has an internal and external component to it, he says. Internally, in order to be an effective advocate, Friedman really needs to get a comprehensive understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the CEDIA Community. This requires a lot of feedback from members.
As head of the Recording Academy, Friedman was proud of the research methods they use to gauge the effectiveness of the organization. He described a comprehensive effort that included research into both industry members and non-members with focus groups, anonymous surveys, and one-on-one in-depth interviews with no attribution “so people could really be honest.”
His First ‘Internal’ Priority
Daryl Friedman correctly (in my view) noted that only through this extensive outreach could the organization truly identify what he called the “stress points” of the association. Only by working hard to get “real” feedback, can an association make progress.
“So, internally, I think that’s my priority,” Friedman said convincingly.
Getting the Consumer or End-User to Think CEDIA When Seeking Residential Technology
Externally, CEDIA’s new CEO believes that the association needs to find a way to better get its message out to a broader audience.
“This is a moment in time when people are realizing the importance of their homes and the importance of residential technology,” Friedman noted. “I’m not sure yet that we’ve gotten to a point where CEDIA is something that the consumer thinks of…or the end-user.”
He believes that the association can use methods, largely through a smart application of technology, that will help spread the message and ensure the consumer gets the right impression. Basically, he believes that through savvy use of search engine optimization (SEO), CEDIA can ensure that its message is being served as a search result rather than a video of some DIY installation that fails to show the downsides of an amateur installation. He also believes that with targeted marketing, reach, impact, and engagement can improve.
First Up: Learning and Listening
But first up, Friedman says, is learning and listening. We talked about what he brings to the role, and then he stopped and said, “But I also know I need to listen first. So I think the first 60 days is really about listening. I want to travel a bit to meet some of the key integrators, some of the key manufacturers, some of our own board leaders. Ultimately the next strategic plan that CEDIA develops should be a strategic plan for the industry to grow it and to leverage this, as I said, once-in-a-generation opportunity to grow exponentially.”
As I pushed Friedman a little harder to offer some more insight into issues of focus, he offered a pretty smart list…about as smart as you could expect from someone not directly in our industry. His initial short list: workforce development, certifications, and consumer outreach. Were these given to him through his month’s long interview process with the CEDIA search team? Maybe…but he seemed to have genuinely given them all quite a bit of thought.
And that, in and of itself, is pretty refreshing from someone who is still a month-and-a-half away from starting the job.
Change is Scary
Change is a scary but necessary part of life. No matter whether you deliberately seek it, or it is thrust upon you by others…or by fate…the good news is that change also offers opportunity.
I welcome this change at CEDIA and hope it offers a more positive vector to growth and opportunity for us all. And if it doesn’t, you’ll read all about that here as well.
Learn more about CEDIA at: www.cedia.net.