AES appoints first African-American president in 76-year history
January 9, 2024

AES appoints first African-American president in 76-year history

NEW YORK CITY — The Audio Engineering Society (AES) recently welcomed Leslie Gaston-Bird, CAS, MPSE, as president of the organization — effective January 1st. She is the first African-American president in the organization’s 76-year history.
An AES fellow, Gaston-Bird currently serves on the AES board of directors, and has served in the past on the board of governors - first as VP western region & Canada, and then as a governor-at-large. She co-founded the Diversity & Inclusion Committee alongside fellow AES member Piper Payne, and provided valuable expertise as part of the AES Technical Council’s Technical Committee for Broadcast and Online Delivery’s “Guidelines for Over-The-Top Television and Video Streaming.”
Gaston-Bird is the founder and director of Immersive and Inclusive Audio, CIC, which provides training in Avid Pro Tools and Dolby Atmos certification for underrepresented groups. She performs freelance work as a sound editor and re-recording mixer through her production company, Mix Messiah Productions. Gaston-Bird is also the author of Women in Audio (Routledge) and Math Fundamentals for Audio (A-R Editions). She is a Pro Tools|Dolby Professional Avid Certified Instructor and Dante Level 3 Certified audio engineer. In addition, she is a member of the Cinema Audio Society (CAS), Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE), and a voting member of the Recording Academy.
“Leslie Gaston-Bird has proven herself through her dedicated work for the Society and her impressive accomplishments in both the audio industry and academia,” says outgoing AES president Bruce Olson. “From the very start of her involvement in AES leadership, her path to the presidency seemed near inevitable. As a member of the board of directors for the past year, she’s lived up to all expectations and I’m delighted to hand over the presidency of our Society to her capable hands.”
Gaston-Bird’s vision as president includes broadening the AES community, in part by bringing greater visibility to affinity groups focused on supporting underrepresented groups, including women, minority, non-gender conforming, and gender-expansive audio engineers. 

“These members of our greater audio community are doing a lot of heavy lifting on their own, and I want to continue to grow AES support of their efforts within our wider network,” Gaston-Bird said of the 70-plus affinity groups documented around the world. “It begins with listening to what these groups need and understanding how we can be supportive of the value they bring to our industry.  I look forward to connecting with as many as possible. We are all stronger together.”