women’s history month 2023

During this Women’s History Month, we are reflecting on the advancement of women in lighting by celebrating some of the rockstars that make up our community. To kick things off, we’re sharing eight (8) short interviews with WILD women from around the country that we think you should know better. They are business owners, artistic entrepreneurs, diversity champaigns, working mothers, and environmental activists. We hope you are inspired by their stories as much as we are!

Of course, it was hard to pick from so many amazing women in the industry. We know the power of sharing each other’s stories: they can provide a spark of encouragement, create a new connection, and become the stepping stone for progress. So, if you’re sharing some amazing news or celebrating a friend’s accomplishments – tag us so we can celebrate too! We want to spread the word about how incredible all the members of our WILD community are.

LinkedIn: @women in lighting + design (WILD)
Instagram: @womeninlightinganddesign
#wildmembernews #womensupportingwomen

Name: Leela Shanker
Role(s): Founder, The Flint Collective NYC
Lighting Designer, Borealis Lighting Studio

What do you envision for the future of lighting?
In the future, we will focus as much on Day 2 and Day 0 decisions as Day 1 operations. We are practicing in a fascinating time, when all our training as designers (of experiences and products) has grown in scope. We continue to be consumed by the challenge and opportunity of deciding how to apply light to our environments for the health and wellbeing of our communities. Simultaneously, it has become a matter of professional integrity to understand the impact of our practice on energy and material systems. This takes time – to retrain and evolve our current practice – but it is needed, and in future will be part of the construction cycle rather than an optional exercise. I am proud to be part of a collaborative industry. Lighting is providing an example to other sectors of the construction industry on the potential we hold when we work together toward global approaches to measuring and reporting on life cycle impacts. With this information we will be better placed to return to critical investigations of designing based on luminance-based material interactions rather than focusing on the efficiency of the source. In future we will address Sufficiency rather than Efficiency and consider “What does less look like?”.

How did others help or create challenges in your career?
I have been fortunate to have mentors throughout academia and professional practice who have fueled an ongoing process of learning, knowledge sharing and professional growth. Brooke Silber, Head of Lighting at Borealis Lighting Studio (within BR+A) is a leading light I have been grateful to learn from in her generosity and vision to foster individual development and industry progress.

What advice would you give to other women in lighting now?
I would say, take a little time away from billable hours to define your values as a current practitioner, identify people who share those values, and work with them to put those values into play. For me, founding the Life Cycle Assessment Incubator of the GreenLight Alliance has been an opportunity to create community around areas of practice that were both unchartered and needing maps. It’s been hugely rewarding to find and collaborate with peers of the same ilk.

Name:  Terri Lux
Role(s): Co-Owner, Impact Architectural Lighting

How did you get involved in the lighting industry?
Like most people, my path was not straight. I was pre-med in college but decided not to pursue medical school. After graduation, I went to work for my next-door neighbor who owned an architectural salvage company and started making reproduction lighting when the historic preservation movement came into being. I worked for that company for 20 years, moving from incandescent, through metal halide and compact fluorescent, before striking out on my own with my business partner, Barry Scott, and starting Impact Architectural Lighting in 2005. We have been in business building Performance Architectural Lighting pendants and ceiling mounted fixtures ever since.

How did others help or create challenges in your career?
In my first job, I was very fortunate to have a boss who treated me as an equal. He listened and valued my opinions. He mentored me and helped me to grow. After my husband and I had our first child, he and his wife decided that I should bring the baby to work with me. I kept my son with me in my office. This arrangement actually made me MORE productive. As our family grew, I brought each child to work with me for his/her first year which allowed me to focus on my work.

Name: Faith Jewell
Role(s): Lighting Design, San Diego Studio Lead + Assistant Vice President | Property and Buildings, WSP

How did others help or create challenges in your career?
So many wonderful people have supported me through the years both helping and challenging. I am particularly thankful for all the challengers. Early on it was my managers at HLB who recognized my design talents but really pushed me to focus on getting my organizational skills on track. It took hard work on my part, but am always thankful for that early push that taught me the lesson that no matter what type of task you are working on approaching it with the mindset of a business owner is the path to success. 

Currently my biggest help is my four-year-old daughter. Right now she is working on “frustration management”.  I am always reminding her that frustration is one of the signs that you are learning something new. We often discuss that frustration isn’t a negative thing, the goal isn’t to eliminate it, we must learn to manage our frustration so we can continue growth 😊 One of the amazing things about being a parent is what we are often teaching are children are the same lessons we need to hear!

What do you envision for the future of lighting?
My hubby works at a large tech firm that keeps a futurist on staff. One of my recurring daydreams is what I would talk to the futurist about if we ever had dinner? I always go back to telling the story about the class I took at Wismar taught by Harald Hoffman (one of the original authors of the Erco Handbook of Lighting Design.) He told us that with great architectural lighting, you walk into the space, the first thing noticed should be how great the space feels and not the lighting fixtures or methods. The mission is timeless, quality lighting in our architectural environments that is visually comfortable, ideally makes people feel great, with least amount of negative environmental impact possible. To me the future of architectural lighting should be about using new and evolving technologies like smaller sources, cleaner sources, technical optics, to continue to achieve the mission.  I would love to start seeing more education around Luminance and Glare metrics for our industry partners like Engineers, Architects and Owners, so we can start to collaborate more wholistically to design healthy comfortable illumination in our environments.

What advice would you give to other women in lighting now?
Back to my 4 year old daughter, who is obviously an avid Paw Patrol fan.  Paw Patrol, usually drives me crazy, but recently they introduced a set of characters called the “Cat Pack”. The leader of the Cat Pack is none other than “Wild” Cat. The first episode I caught Wild Cat in she is on her motorcycle participating in an Evel Knievel stunt style moto-cross competition. Right before she goes for each trick or jump she gives herself a little self-talk routine and says “I can do this, I can do this, I CAN DO THIS!” and then she goes for it.  It has been a great tool for my daughter, times like going down a slide at the playground that is steep or even trying a new unfamiliar food we can often be heard chanting together “I can do this!” So I guess this is my advice, the challenges of being a woman in any business are real, positive self-talk is powerful (especially when shouted aloud), and “We can do this!!!”.

Name:  Lauren Dandridge
Role(s): Principal, Chromatic Inc
Adjunct Assistant Professor, USC School of Architecture

What advice would you give to other women in lighting?
My advice to women in the industry is to trust your instincts. Sometimes women get flack for being emotional or looking for things that aren’t there, but every time I have trusted myself and my gut, I have won. Now, I have also second guessed myself and allowed my fears to get the better of me after that decision (I’m still working on that), but, generally,  my instincts are undefeated. Trust yourself.

Do you have a female role model within our industry or in general?
My role model is Eileen Thomas. She hired me in a down economy with not a ton work experience but recognized a willingness to learn and get better. She is incredibly patient and may be the best lighting designer I have ever met. I completely want to be like her when I grow up.

Name:  Erin McDannald
Role(s): CEO, Lighting Environments
Environments INVENTOR of the Metaverse workplace Elevated Environments (patent pending)

How did you first get involved in the lighting industry?
I began my career as an interior designer and have always had a defined interest in lighting. After an internship with a lighting designer, I knew for sure that I had found my path. I have always been drawn to the experiential nature of lighting, and that very appreciation still drives me and my work.

What are you passionate about right now in lighting?
I believe that lighting is an essential part of our experience as humans and a key element of the digital layer. I am passionate about unlocking all that our industry can do. As our workforces and communities embrace digital and hybrid models, lighting design is ever-important. Wherever we create experiences, lighting plays a crucial role. The digital layer is creating incredible growth in every business sector, so digital lighting experiences should be top-of-mind.

What advice would you give to other women in lighting now?
I would encourage women to confidently unravel the social norms we’ve been told to follow. As we rewrite the narratives that ask us to be sorry, own who you are and what you deserve. Women bring a natural sense of compassion to our work, and with that, we have the power to transform.

Name:  Karen Jess-Lindsley
Role(s): CEO, Lindsley Lighting

What are you passionate about right now in lighting?
I believe that the lighting industry needs to embrace sustainable manufacturing as a standard. It should not be seen as exceptional or extraordinary. If the industry shifted to sourcing sustainable materials, including Red List Free wire, it would increase demand and drive down costs from suppliers.

Sometimes we make it too hard for manufacturers to make a positive contribution. Declare labels, EPDs and HPDs are wonderful standard, but daunting. If all lighting specifiers demanded, and manufacturers adopted RoHS as a sustainability standard, we could make an immediate and significant contribution toward reducing toxic chemicals and embodied carbon in luminaires.

End users should not have to pay a premium for sustainably-made products. There are a lot of innovations in sustainable building materials and lighting needs to contribute to buildings that are healthy for people and the plant. We owe it to the next generations.

What advice would you give to other women in lighting now?
1. Find your voice-and use it to make a difference.
2. Find ways to support and elevate other women in the lighting world.

Do you have a female role model within our industry or in general?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a beacon for me. Throughout her life she demonstrated passion, intelligence, professionalism, compassion and an unwavering commitment to elevating women. Her personal relationships were also inspiring. She juggled being an equal partner in her marriage, a loving mother and a supportive friend, even with people she didn’t agree with. And, she had a great sense of humor! I think we all have the capacity to make a difference. Justice Ginsburg showed how one person can make a difference, and inspired subsequent generations of women. I aspire to find small ways to do the same.

Name:  Paula Martinez-Nobles
Role(s): Studio Director & Principal, Fisher Marantz Stone

How did others help or create challenges in your career?
I’m extremely motivated by a tough challenge, some people would call that stubborn, I have grown to think of it as dedication.  

I am a first generation Colombian-American. My parents came to this country, to New York and Philadelphia in their 20’s. They confronted more obstacles than we could ever imagine – nothing I face can compare. How can I not take on a challenge with the same passion and long term view that they did in the 70’s? Of course I do.

Challenges, obstacles, hurdles, are all about your perspective. I try to focus on the ”thing” beyond the hurdle…

My fears and doubts when I started my career circled around “I don’t sound professional enough”,  “am I smart enough to work with this crowd?”, “is my Philly showing”. of In my quiet-determination stage in my career, I was hungry; I needed to convince myself I was smart enough, so I observed, asked questions, listened with intent, and worked hard.  

Being curious and authentic is infectious and magnetic – and fortunately for me it attracted mentors (they didn’t necessarily know it at the time) but they were building me up little by little – helping me clear my personal hurdles. 

I started to discover my super power when I ramped up my  site visits, managing contractors meant that being bilingual and one of the “señoritas” helped tremendously… so did my “Jenny from the block” attitude. What I thought were my hurdles became an asset.  

I have three daughters. I never could have predicted the clarity and decisiveness that one begins to develop in the workplace as a result of being a parent.  It didn’t start that way though – I was riding high with my latina super powers and discovered I actually couldn’t do it all.  There’s no such thing as being a perfect parent, a perfect wife and a perfect employee. When one takes the other two gave way. 

Early commitment to my team, dedication to working alongside of them meant that we built a foundation together to support the clients, support the projects, and support my maternity leave. There is tremendous pride that comes from supporting and then watching strong women you coached come into their own and do your job even better than you can.  The clarity to let go comes from parenting fundamentals; you can’t tell if your kid can walk on their own until you let go of their hand. And when they fall, you help dust them off and try again – you continue to watch every step, quietly celebrating every accomplishment. 

Trusting in my team, having the clarity to see what they were good at and what they still needed support on made it easier to juggle two things in my life that make me feel fulfilled: my family and my career.  It is important for me, as a professional and a woman, to have my now teenage daughters read articles about projects their mom worked on and watch be throw my cape on…ahem – my hard hard and vest on.   

What motivates you to be involved in WILD?
From quiet determination to assertive perseverance – this current stage of my career, 18 years later, has come with a platform.  One that I don’t always love to stand on with a mic, but am honored to hold; I am motivated by my peers to continue a reputation of developing diverse talent, and a legacy of illuminating beautiful, timeless projects, I am motivated by young designers, they need to see that self confidence can be nurtured, and everything mocked up for their own edification, and most of all I’m motivated by my three daughters, they need to see women succeed.  Pass the mic.  

Do you have a female role model within our industry or in general?
There is an Architect that is a woman and the owner of her firm.  She is not afraid to seek and demand perfection in every finish, every detail, and every light fixture. Her demand for excellence from the newest member of the project team and consultants thru the highest levels of the client team is infectious.  It raises the bar across the board. She has taught me by example, that it takes a team to build an excellent project; everyone has a critical role to play.  I relish in the challenge.  I carry that mantra with me through design, training, and leading. 

Name:  Rachel Fitzgerald
Role(s): Principal, Discipline Lead, Lighting, Stantec
Adjunct Lecturer with the University of Colorado at Boulder

How did you first get involved in the lighting industry?
I wanted to be an architect and my dad (an engineer) wanted me to be an engineer… so we compromised, and I studied Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado.  Through the curriculum and tutelage of my great professors (Bob Davis and David DiLaura), you could say, that I found the light!  Ha!  But in all honesty, I loved the blending of the science with the art and creativity of lighting design. 

What are you passionate about right now in lighting?
The future of our industry is what excites me the most right now.  There are always cool design challenges, and I love those.  But I’m most passionate about growth – both the growth of our industry but also of the individuals that are emerging and finding their way into our field. 

What advice would you give to other women in lighting now?
Find your own way.  Follow the path that feels true to you.  The road that I took likely won’t be the same road that you take.  Connect with mentors and a peer group; as the saying goes, it takes a village, and the support of those people can go a long way.  Whichever road you follow, know that there is a whole network of women (and men) in front of you that want to help pull you up to be successful and find your way within lighting.  

Do you have a female role model within our industry or in general?
My role models are my peers and my friends.  The other women doing the grind with me day after day.  Wearing multiple hats (lighting designer, professional, volunteer, wife or significant other, mother, friend) and striving every day to be the best that they can be in life for all the people that they touch… and trying to maintain balance and sanity while doing it.

Celebrating Black History Month with Bernadette Boudreaux

Dear Lighting Community,

As we celebrate Black History Month, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the contributions of Black individuals who have shaped our industry. One such person is Lewis Latimer, an inventor and draftsman who helped improve the design of the light bulb and made it more accessible for everyone.

Latimer, who was born into slavery in 1848, rose to become a prominent figure in the field of electrical engineering. He worked with Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, and his inventions and innovations helped pave the way for the widespread use of electric lighting.

It is important for us to acknowledge the continued need for diversity and representation in our industry. Organizations like WILD prove the benefits of these efforts with the amazing work it has done for women in the lighting industry. Support and promotion of organizations who are committed to diversity as well as Black affinity groups, such as BUILD Up are critical to the advancement of DEIR (Diversity Equity Inclusion and Respect).

BUILD Up is an affinity space for Black professionals to connect, network, and support each other in their careers and on an ongoing basis, not just during Black History Month. Like Lewis Latimer we strive to improve the lighting industry and make it more accessible for everyone. As Co-Chair for BUILD Up we are excited for the growth of the group and more programs in 2023.

These groups play a crucial role in promoting diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, and they serve as a reminder that we must continue to strive for a more equitable and inclusive society. By coming together, we can help to ensure that Black voices and perspectives are respected, heard and valued, and that future generations of Black individuals are able to achieve their full potential in the lighting community and beyond.

In conclusion, I hope that this Black History Month, we can all come together to celebrate the achievements of Lewis Latimer and other Black trailblazers, and to continue to recommit ourselves to creating a more diverse and inclusive industry for everyone. Over the last couple of years there has been a focus on DEIR, and we should use what we have learned and be able to apply it to our daily lives and our careers.

Lets Light the Way to a more Diverse Equitable Inclusive and Respectful Industry and continue to brighten the future for generations to come.

Bernadette Boudreaux
CEO of Light or Dark Consulting and Emerging Lighting Professional IES  
Co-Chair BUILD Up

Contact Bernadette on LinkedIN or at LightorDarkConsulting@gmail.com
For more information on BuildUP visit LinkedIN or builduplighting.com/
To learn more about efforts in support of Lewis Latimer visit https://www.lewislatimerhouse.org/

meet the women behind the Lighting Advocacy Letter!

We think women working together will change the world – and the work Alex, Reiko, Melissa, Margie, and Sarah are putting into sustainability may also help save it. As an industry, we have made a significant impact on energy consumption through the shift to predominantly LED specification. But sustainability goes well beyond this and the lighting community has an obligation to understand how else we can improve our impact on the environment. We fully support the conversation mindful Materials is driving. Learn more below about the amazing women leading the charge!

The Lighting Advocacy Letter is an initiative by lighting specifiers to accelerate the sustainability of lighting products. Inspired by the AIA Materials Pledge, the letter is intended to inspire a collective dialogue with the lighting manufacturing community about how to align intent and action around a common framework for material transparency. If you are a lighting designer or specifier, this letter is your opportunity to publicly commit to making more informed material choices and specification changes and supporting an ongoing dialogue with manufacturers to reduce the impacts of the built environment. 

This letter and its signatories are posted on mindful MATERIALS (mM), a neutral space supporting the action behind these public commitments. 

Are you a manufacturer, interested in responding to these letters, being a part of the Pledge dialogue or supporting these efforts generally? Send us a note at outreach@mindfulmaterials.com with the subject line “Manufacturer Materials Pledge” to learn how you can get involved in our efforts to connect the dots with mindful MATERIALS.

Progress that has been made

  • Over 80 signatories from lighting design firms, architectural firms, & rep agencies since it launched in July of 2021;
  • Toolkit V1 launched in March 2022 at a webinar hosted by mM and the authors of the letter to explain the tools available in the free download to signatories and other interested parties;
  • Toolkit V1.1 launched July 2022 featuring additional resources; 
  • Follow-up Round Table held Oct. 18 for signatories to talk across the table and share their experiences implementing their commitment.

Where we’re going

It’s not too late to take action. Even if you weren’t able to join the first webinars, we encourage you to watch past recordings and join our conversations to advocate for holistic sustainability and health in lighting design. Connect and learn with us at one of our upcoming events!

Together, we’re creating a new future for the industry and elevating the impact of sustainable design practices through the power of transparency.

Name:  Alexandra McDowell Gadawski 
Title:  Associate 
Company:  HMFH Architects

What made you get involved (with the Lighting Advocacy Letter)? 
Collaboration is required to reach the level of change we will need in the built environment and to reach our sustainability goals. The Lighting Advocacy Letter allows specifiers to rally around shared goals and align behind a standard request to manufacturers for increased material transparency.  The letter is a demonstration of strength in numbers, and the number of firms who have signed on to the letter so far is truly inspiring!

Why is this important to you?
I believe we have tremendous power as specifiers, and that every decision is a chance to select a product that can improve the overall sustainability of a project.  Our firm primarily designs public K-12 schools, and we think a great deal about how to ensure that these formative environments are safe, healthy, and conducive to learning. Material transparency is the foundation that allows us to select healthy materials for the buildings we are designing.  

What do you want to see this achieve in the future?
I hope that in the future material transparency documentation will be available for all architectural products, including lighting. This will allow designers to select products that align with both firm values and project sustainability goals. 

Name:  Reiko Kagawa
Title:  Principal
LC, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, WELL Faculty, Fitwel Ambassador
Company:  Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting 

What made you get involved (with the Lighting Advocacy Letter)? 
We always approached wholistic sustainable design with all of the tools available.  However, information on material transparency was always in the shadow of the complex assembly of lighting products.  When we realized this is a big part of the puzzle to address well-rounded sustainable design, we thought it was our responsibility to advocate for the importance of material transparency.  This missing piece of information will become a powerful tool to make informative decisions.

Why is this important to you?
The word ‘Sustainability’ implies keeping the state at a certain level.  This means we have to maintain resources for the next generation.  We must make choices that are thoughtful for the next generation.  The LAL is a first step to make responsible choices regarding your design selection, in this case our lighting specification.  This is my choice to help sustain our resources for our children.   

What do you want to see this achieve in the future?
I hope to see all lighting products use responsible materials and disclose what materials are used in the products.  I cannot wait to see this as a standard practice!  

Name:  Melissa Mattes
Title:  Senior Lighting Designer & Sustainability Specialist
LC, LFA, Living Future Ambassador, LEED Green Assoc., Assoc. IALD
Company:  Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting 

What made you get involved (with the Lighting Advocacy Letter)?
In September of 2020, Sladen Feinstein wrote a letter from our office to lighting manufacturers expressing our desire for greater insight into the human, climate, and social impacts of the products we were specifying.  Simultaneously, we collected data back from the manufacturers on their current level of knowledge and understanding of the existing labels available for products on the market today as well as manufacturers’ projected product development goals related to human, climate, and social impacts with a special focus on material transparency. 

In February of 2021, we publicly shared the story of our letter along with the results of the manufacturer survey at a webinar co-hosted by our local IES chapter and Built Environments +.  Following the webinar, a handful of industry designers approached us about rolling out a national version of the letter showing the collective voice of the industry to build upon this momentum.  Mindful Materials was engaged and together in July of 2021, the Lighting Advocacy Letter was written and launched as a national initiative.

Why is this important to you?
From the inception of this movement, the motive has always been very personal for me.  In 2019, I was going through a process of aligning my perceived values with my practiced values, carefully combing through my personal life to evaluate where there was room for greater alignment and authenticity between what I believed and how I lived in my day-to-day life.  After a sweep through my personal life at home, this naturally evolved into the same evaluation of my professional practices in the workplace.  Approaching our leadership team about how we were specifying product and writing a letter to manufacturers stating our values as a firm was a logical continuation of the journey I was on.  As my personal and professional story continue to evolve, watching this bloom into a collective community movement has been a great source of joy for me over the last several years.  

What do you want to see this achieve in the future?
I hope to see our collective voice as a design community trigger a revolution in supply chain innovation, awareness, and transparency.  I hope manufacturers are inspired by our collective cooperation to find their own unified voice amongst the manufacturing community and put pressure back on supply chain niche industries to create a major shift in the status quo of material ingredient reporting.  Ultimately, I hope our challenge to “business as usual” is a piece of the puzzle that inspires untapped potential for circularity within the practice of lighting design and manufacturing.  

Name: Margie McNally
Title: Interior Designer
Company: Interior Elements

What made you get involved (with the Lighting Advocacy Letter)?
As an interior designer, educator, and consultant, I have been committed to sustainable design for over 30 years. I am dedicated to education on healthy living, indoor environmental quality, universal design, and safety. I wish to stay informed and contribute whatever is helpful to the team in moving this issue awareness forward.

Why is this important to you?
I have had experience with negative health effects in both family members and personally. I believe that toxic materials contribute to the proliferation of human illness in our world and that education and advocacy are the keys to informing others about making better choices in materials and lighting products. Other factors including pollution and climate change are consequences as well. 

What do you want to see this achieve in the future?
Industry awareness and change, as well as manufacturers taking responsibility for harmful materials that may be in their products which affect human health. Also, circularity and disposal issues need to be addressed. I would like to see choices being made available to designers and consumers with cost not being a barrier. 

Name:  Sara Schonour
Title:  Lighting Cheerleader
Company:  Lytei

What made you get involved (with the Lighting Advocacy Letter)?
I believe designers have both a professional responsibility and an enormous opportunity to help slow (and hopefully reverse) climate change. Designers of the built environment sit in a powerful role, and the decisions they make have profound ripple effects. Building awareness around the ways choices about lighting affect people and the planet resonates deeply with me on multiple levels.

Why is this important to you?
Because the climate crisis is one of the most important issues of our time.

What do you want to see this achieve in the future?
I’d like owners, designers, reps, and manufacturers to understand what choices are available to advance more sustainable lighting practices, and to embrace progress and start prioritizing products and practices that move towards a more sustainable future.

Statement in Support of the Women of Iran

Women in Lighting + Design supports the women and allies in Iran fighting for their rights, fighting against oppression, and showing immense courage in the pursuit of gender equality.

In September, protests erupted across Iran concerning Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died under suspicious circumstances while in the custody of Iran’s “morality police.” This group enforces the laws requiring women to cover their head and body. Religious freedom is the choice to wear these garments, repression is requiring it, and oppression is the fear that noncompliance is a death sentence. This enforcement is only one of the many ways that life for Iranians is controlled. The required wearing of the hijab has become a symbol of the totalitarian system controlling the daily lives of the people and more so the women of Iran.

 Mahsa Amini’s tragic death, and the protests that followed, have brought international attention to the oppression and disenfranchisement of women in Iran. After decades of injustice, these women-led protests condemn current practices in Iran and call for an end to the current facist regime. Many women are risking arrest by publicly waving or burning their veils and cutting off their own hair. The demand is that ALL the people of Iran have the right to basic human dignity, political and civic liberty. This message moves across the lines of gender, class, religion or ethnicity, calling for freedom and justice for all people, regardless of those differences. Protests have been met with internet shutdowns, arrests, and violent crackdowns, leaving more than 5,000 protestors, journalists, and activists arrested, hundreds injured, and more than 200 dead.

These protesters are our sisters. As they sacrifice everything in the struggle for dignity, we urge WILD members and the lighting community to support women’s rights in Iran through the following means:

LEARN more about the Iranian protests. Start by watching an explanation of the protest by Al Jazeera English (AJE) correspondent Dorsa Jabbari, and continue with the additional resources found below.

SIGN the Amnesty International petition calling on the United Nations Human Rights Council to end the violence against protestors in Iran.

DONATE to the Iran American Women’s Foundation, a platform for empowerment and networking among Iranian American women, and currently working to bring attention to the Iranian protests and keep this fight for justice in the headlines.

SHARE this information and spread awareness on social media platforms to keep the spotlight on the brave protesters. 

Zan, Zendegi, Azadi   |  Woman, Life, Freedom

#MahsaAmini #IranianWomen #WomenLifeFreedom #StandWithIranianProtesters 

Additional Resources:

Statement on the Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade

On June 24th the US Supreme Court struck down the long-standing ruling of Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, eliminating the constitutionally protected right to abortion. Women in Lighting + Design (WILD), the North American Coalition of Lighting Industry Queers (NACLIQ), and Equity in Lighting (EIL) believe this polarizing decision must lead to a conversation about how self-determination over our own bodies is fundamentally aligned with equity.

We acknowledge that our members hold a range of political and religious beliefs, and believe that our industry must be diverse and inclusive so that all our members can thrive. This decision by the Supreme Court harms the lighting industry and our greater society by restricting access to healthcare, expanding gender inequality, and jeopardizing the right for our members to choose the path that is personally best for them and their families. Without the right to bodily autonomy and privacy, the rights of women, LGBTQIA+, and people of color are denied. When historically marginalized people have agency over their own lives, diversity thrives. Without it, the diversity problem that plagues this industry will only worsen. When bodily autonomy is denied we lose control over our own future—both personally and professionally. It is the mission of WILD, NACLIQ, and EIL to help the lighting industry understand and counteract the obstacles that our members and other marginalized communities face.

WILD, NACLIQ, and EIL call on the lighting community to join us in supporting the right of all lighting professionals to make informed, private, healthcare-related decisions and to understand that the greatest impact will be on those without the ease, means, or ability to travel. We call on companies in the lighting industry to offer expanded healthcare and travel benefits where state laws ban or severely restrict abortion access. We call on our colleagues and other lighting organizations to acknowledge the impact of this ruling on professionals in the industry and to amplify our call. As always, we call on the industry to mindfully support pregnant colleagues and working parents on their journey.

While we recognize this topic is polarizing on a deeply personal and political level, the core of the issue is not. This is not about abortion, it is about all individuals having personal dignity and autonomy and the freedom to make intimate and personal choices. Now is the time to find support in our community, have tough discussions, and demand more of employers and industry advocates. It is imperative that we come together in pursuit of equity for all lighting professionals and create a more diverse and inclusive community of which we can all be proud.

the mocktail initiative


With the return of in-person corporate and networking events, Women in Lighting + Design (WILD) invites you to help implement an industry-wide Mocktail Initiative. With this initiative, WILD aims to create more inclusive events, allowing all persons to fully participate in the cultivated event experience. We call for event hosts to offer fun alcohol-free options at all in person social events where alcohol will be served, and to show the same level of care and consideration for non-drinkers as they do for other guests.

What is the benefit to offering mocktails or non-alcoholic beverage alternatives?

  1. It creates an Inclusive environment. Whether they dislike the taste, are abstaining, or just want to avoid the extra calories and carbohydrates, non-drinkers shouldn’t be excluded from the fun. When you promote non-alcoholic options at your events, you’re communicating to your guests that their comfort and enjoyment is important to you.
  2. It saves money. Alcohol is the most expensive ingredient that goes into a cocktail; beer and wine are more expensive than flavored club soda. Guests can enjoy a delicious drink without alcohol, and it helps your event funds go further.
  3. They’re safe. Mocktails or non-alcoholic beverages allow people to keep their wits about them, and eliminates the health and social risks associated with alcohol consumption.
  4. They’re fun. Companies and conference planning committees get a chance to play with ingredients and create a signature mocktail or non-alcoholic beverage that is branded to them, and is universally enjoyable. You’re not just offering a mocktail, you’re creating an experience. 

WILD encourages the lighting community to embrace the Mocktail Initiative by prominently offering alcohol-free beverages at networking and social events as an industry standard. Consider enhancing club soda with a flavored option alongside beer and wine and pairing liquor with a signature mocktail at top-tier events. We’re excited to see how our allies use their creativity to enhance their brand experience! 

Thank you for helping us make a safer and more inclusive community for everyone. If you’re in, let us know, and we’ll give you a shout out on social media! 

Email WILDMocktails@gmail.com to find out more.

a brand new WILD…

welcome to a brand new WILD!

WILD finished Women’s History Month off with a bang! Our new brand is fresh and bold – unified yet distinct. We are making our own history.

We are excited to welcome in a new era while celebrating our recent growth and the community that helps shape us. This rebrand signifies a united front across the country, representing 16 Chapters with more on the way, and will help us make more of an impact collectively in the industry through our robust programs that support the WILD mission.

A resounding thank you to our Board, Chapters, and volunteers for their help in envisioning and creating this next step in our growth.

Together, we are WILD!

Hear more about our rebrand directly from WILD’s Marketing Chair Lauren Dunn as she sits down with Al Uszynski during an Inside.Lighting 5-Big-Questions interview. 
Check it out!

Hear more about our rebrand directly from WILD’s Marketing Chair Lauren Dunn as she sits down with Al Uszynski during an Inside.Lighting 5-Big-Questions interview. 
Check it out!

International Women’s Day 2022

Thank you everyone who joined WILD for International Women’s Day either at our event or in celebrating the incredible women in their organizations! We can all help #breakthebias by smashing stereotypes, breaking inequality, and rejecting discrimination.

Bias – whether deliberate or unconscious – is holding women back in the workplace. It makes it harder for women to get hired and promoted and negatively impacts their day-to-day work experiences. This hurts women and makes it harder for companies to level the playing field.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. WILD joins in this celebration because we believe strategic collaborations based on a foundation of shared purpose, trust and appreciation can impact positive change for women. Help us #BreaktheBias today and everyday.

Are you in?

Huge thank you and shout out to our conversation leaders: Shelby Klooster, Linda Morton, Alyssa Humphries Stewart, Likhitha Rangaswamy, Stacey Teresa Bello, Molly Hanson, Tal Janowitz, Elizabeth Williams, Luz Garcia, and Rachel Fitzgerald. They were all such inspiring sessions! Special thanks also to Shelby Klooster, Kelly Roberts, and Katherine Stekr for coordinating the event.

Keep scrolling or click the link for a recap of each hour: LEAD, VALUE, CONFRONT, and EMPOWER!

LEAD by example

Being an active bystander means being aware of when someone’s behavior is inappropriate and choosing to challenge it.

Be an active bystander by:

  • Noticing (general awareness of your surroundings)
  • Interpreting (if a situation catches your attention, interpret it as a problem)
  • Not Assuming (we often assume others will help; be that someone)
  • Knowing (prepare yourself to help safely – have resources and know relevant numbers)

What you can do in the moment:

  • Direct – directly address the situation (make sure it is safe for you and others
  • Distract – cause a distraction to diffuse the situation
  • Delegate – find help/report the incident

Here’s what we heard from you:

Any help is help – even the smallest actions matter ⬝ If multiple people choose to intervene, you can be stronger together ⬝ Being on the receiving end of these aggressions can affect your health ⬝ Address the corporate culture – bosses should STEP IN! You have a responsibility for your employees The power dynamic of stepping forward can be tricky when you feel like your job is at risk ⬝ We look to work for women-owned businesses, we know the support is there ⬝ The loudest voice in the room is NOT always the most effective ⬝ Be the change you want to see.

TRIVIA TIME Q: How many times more often do men interrupt women than other men?
A: Almost three (3) times more often.

VALUE and celebrate our differences!

As a woman, how do we value ourselves?  How do we value others?  How do those of us in leadership positions or positions of power/privilege use our voices to reflect the value of women as a whole and help younger women recognize their value?  How do we hold space for different lifestyles and viewpoints? We watched Pat Michell’s TEDTalk on being a DANGEROUS WOMAN for inspiration.

Pat Mitchell: Dangerous times call for Dangerous Women

Here’s what we heard from you:

All the best mentors made it feel safe to be me ⬝ Speak up, speak out, and stand up for one another ⬝ You remember a person by how they made you feel ⬝ Everyone should be given the equal opportunity, the equal offer, and they can decide to say no or yes ⬝ Leadership is another term for power, and leadership is the ability to turn over the talking stick and provide opportunities to other people ⬝ Own your difference to change the conversation in your favor ⬝ Because I’m a woman, I have to think twice about what I’m doing, and I have to edit myself all the time ⬝ We don’t have to go at it alone.

TRIVIA TIME Q: Compared to straight men, how much more likely do lesbian and bisexual women feel like they can’t talk to colleagues about their lives outside of work?
A: Around four (4) times more likely.

CONFRONT with confidence

Implicit (unconscious) bias is “a bias or prejudice that is present but not consciously held or recognized” …in other words a bias we hold that we are not necessarily aware of that may affect our outlook, behaviors, or decisions.

We surround ourselves with people that we most feel comfortable with; the people who help make a place feel like home and that we can rely on when in need of advice. Often this will consist of people who look, think, and act like us…this is NOT an indication of unconscious bias but more a biological inevitability that we are innately drawn to the familiar. It just means you like who and what you like and that there is nothing wrong with this. These are preferences but not biases. 

How to know when something goes from a preference to an unconscious bias? The truth is you might not even realize the difference. A preference is the act of selecting someone/something over another. A preference can BECOME a bias when the act of preferring becomes an inhibitor to impartial judgment resulting in a prejudice and NOT a preference.

Here are some common (but not all) types of biases that women face in the workplace:

What can you do?

  • Speak up for someone in the moment
  • Ask a probing question
  • Stick to the facts
  • Explain how bias is in play
  • Advocate for policy or process change

Here’s what we heard from you:

They were undermining me before I even got a chance to speak ⬝ Being able to speak up is super brave, but educating people and making people aware it’s an issue is the first step ⬝ Don’t wait for the moment to happen again – this is your moment to make sure it doesn’t happen again ⬝ I can’t count how many times I’ve been told women can’t be engineers, women can’t have work and family ⬝ It’s recognizing the bias within yourself, recognizing it and then dismantling it ⬝ Consider the ramifications of your comments or actions and figure out what you can do to correct them. Don’t end at saying sorry

Ask yourself:

“My one action to address my own bias is….”
“My one action to address bias against women in the workplace is…”

TRIVIA TIME Q: According to Harvard University’s Implicit Association Test, what % of people more readily associate men with “career” and women with “family”?
A: 76%

EMPOWER yourself and others

Empowerment is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights. When you empower others, you are giving them the tools they need to succeed. When you empower yourself, you are taking steps for a healthy mind/body and to be successful in your career. However, are you giving and getting all the best advice?

We watched Susan Colantuono’s TEDTalk on CAREER ADVICE and this video forced us to question how we empower women and men differently, and how our typical mentoring practices for women do not provide them with all the tools they need to succeed. There is a missing 33% of business acumen that is not taught in typical mentoring. Women learn how to be confident, or the “human factor” in business, which can only bring us so far. In order for women to reach higher levels of management, we need to learn and understand the financial side of the business.

Susan Colantuono: The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get

Here’s what we heard from you:

Don’t be afraid of failure, we all learn from our failures ⬝ My dad taught my brother how to handle money, but he didn’t teach me ⬝ Don’t wait for someone to mentor you. Ask for it ⬝ Don’t forget to give yourself a break; we all need to keep work-life balance in check and support (or EMPOWER) ourselves and those around us to keep that balance ⬝ Don’t be afraid to ask questions, the worst that happens is that someone says “no” or doesn’t give you the advice or mentorship that you were seeking; so seek it elsewhere ⬝ Set a roadmap for yourself to hold yourself accountable – empowering yourself ⬝ Lean on each other.  We are a community.  The more we advance as individuals, the more we advance as a collective

What we are going to do to #BreakTheBias:

  • Stand up for younger colleagues so they receive the credit they deserve
  • Amplify others voice
  • Create awareness in myself
  • Seek out the thoughts and opinions of those that are quiet rather than always listening to the loudest in the room
  • Lead by example and ensure my actions match my words
  • Look at talk time, making sure everyone has a chance to speak
TRIVIA TIME Q: For every 100 men promoted to manager, how many Black women are promoted?
A: Only 58 Black women.

LEDucation Women Speakers Feature

We’re excited to catch this year’s conference package at LEDucation and especially to see all the amazing content these WILD women are presenting! Keep scrolling for a full list of their topics with links to learn more. Can’t attend? Make sure you check out the Virtual options on Monday, March 14th.

Lighting Planning for a Resilient Urban Environment: Visual Comfort and Well-being in the City During the Night
9:00AM – 10:00AM Monday

Dr. Rebeka Vital, Ever Vital Design – Architectural Lighting

Conversation between North America and Europe on Embodied Carbon and Circular Economy in Lighting
10:30am – 12:00pm Monday

Leela Shanker, Borealis Lighting Studio | Russell Greenberg, RUX and Stickbulb | Emilio Hernandez, Green-Light Alliance | Yuliya Savelyeva, Arup | Jonathan Visser, Zumtobel | Iris Dijkstra, Atelier

How Manufacturers and Specifiers Can Support Sustainability and Circular Economy Through Design for Disassembly
2:30PM – 3:30PM Monday

Kate Hickcox, PNNL | Aaron Smith, Finelite Inc.

Making Progress: Improvements in Lighting Controls Systems
4:00PM – 5:30PM Monday

Ruth Taylor, PNNL | Dan Blitzer, Practical Lighting Workshop | Naomi Miller, PNNL

Creating Control Clarity: How to Write Control Intents & Sequences
9:00AM – 10:30AM EDT Tuesday

Harold Jepsen, Legrand | Shoshanna Segal, Luminous Flux | Lyn Gomes, DPR Construction

Digital Lighting in the Post-COVID Era
11:00AM – 12:30PM  Tuesday

Carol Jones, Axis Lighting | Shoshanna Segal, Luminous Flux | Casey Diers, Morlights

First Look: ANSI/IES Recommended Practice for the Calculation of Lighting Power Density Values in Energy Codes
4:00PM – 5:00PM Tuesday

Kelly Seeger, Signify | Michael Myer, PNNL

Acoustic Lighting: One Solution for 2 Design Problems
12:30PM – 1:30PM Tuesday

Clara Powell, Cooledge Lighting

Sleep Math = Better Daytime Light = Better Nighttime Sleep
2:00PM – 3:00PM Tuesday

Mariana Figueiro, Light and Health Research Center at Mount Sinai

Practical Application of Circadian Metrics
10:30AM – 11:30AM Wednesday

Yaneli Rozon and Leela Shanker, Borealis Lighting Studio

Lighting to Support a Healthy Circadian Rhythm
3:00PM – 4:00PM Wednesday

Sarah Turner, Conestoga College/Head Turner Designs

Simplifying Systems with Smart Lighting
2:00PM – 3:00PM Wednesday

Murrill Oakes, OneButton

LightFair 2021: New Recording + Live Q&A

WILD is thrilled to present a new recording of our LightFair 2021 presentation, followed by a Live Q&A with our presenters.

During LightFair, WILD presented a round of fast-paced and engaging PechaKucha, or “chit-chats”. A PechaKucha consists of 20 images for 20 seconds each. In other words, presenters have 400 seconds to tell their story, with visuals guiding the way. Each presentation offered a clear and powerful message to attendees. 

This program was originally presented at LightFair 2021 in the Designery on October 28th at 1PM.
Tanya Hernandez – Let’s Talk Leadership
Rachael Stoner – Life in Middle Management
Mariel Acevedo – Codeswitching
Alana Shepherd – LGBTQ+ By the Numbers
Amber Watnik – Books as a Catalyst for Community
Luz Garcia – Traditional and Reverse Mentoring of Women by Women
Brittany Lynch – The Secret Shame of Working Moms