People, Perspective, Uncategorized

International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women in Lighting

Greetings from the LightFair team to all the amazing women in lighting as we mark Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8.

We are proud to shine the spotlight on some of the best and the brightest illuminators, thought leaders, inventors, impact makers and influencers shaping the course of architectural and commercial lighting – friends, colleagues and lighting veterans you may have seen at previous LightFairs and are likely to spot at LightFair 2022 in Las Vegas this June 19-23.

In an essay titled Staying Well, penned by Deborah Burnett for this blog, she reflects on the personal, professional, evolutionary, ecological and economic aspects of well-being. We trust and hope that LightFair plays a central role in facilitating a sense of overall well-being within the industry. After all, a successful LightFair is but a reflection of a thriving industry. Over and above an annual trade show and conference, LightFair represents a vibrant and engaged community of lighting professionals whose participation and perspectives are what shape and strengthen the show each year, not just at the event but year round.


As is the case with any field, diverse voices and perspectives are key to advancing lighting design and technology. At LightFair, we continually strive to expand representation and diversity in as many ways as possible. As management and advisory committee members, conference speakers, presenters, panelists, tour guides, mentors, mentees and contributors to our blog, women play an instrumental part in designing and delivering the LightFair experience. The LightFair show management team, as of March 2022, comprises of 80% women!

Equity – a Priority

The LightFair Conference is known for its world-class standard and selectivity when it comes to the quality of speakers and topics, all handpicked by an expert panel of representatives from the IES and IALD.


Covering topics from circadian and wildlife lighting best practices to lighting controls, retrofits and more, LightFair 2022 Conference Speakers include Leora Radetsky, Karen Trevino, Jill Anholt, Yuliya Savelyeva, Rachel Fitzgerald, Katherine Stekr, Amy Lux, Jenny Brust, Karen Jess-Lindsley, Melissa Mattes, Jane White, Lyn Gomes, Anne Bay, Gina Rodda, Meghan Rock, Sarah Safranek, Carolyn Schilling, Alyssa Weber, Andrea Wilkerson, Catherine Leskowat, Kathleen Moser, Kate Hickcox, Alison Fiedler, Jessica Smith, Mariana Figueiro, Ashley Beeler, Angela La Rocca, Erin Giblin, Paula Ziegenbein, Mary Matteson-Bryan, Ruth Taylor, Suzanne Lansford, Kim Molloy, Demi Chang, Ardra Zinkon and others.

I never know when inspiration will strike, but everything informs my lighting. 

Susan hamburger, Theatrical lighting designer

Lisa Reed and Carla Bukalski – New Attendee Orientation at LightFair 2021


Some of the inspiring women who will be joining us as mentors, presenters and tour guides at LightFair 2022 include Dawn Hollingsworth, Carla Bukalski, Lisa Reed, Liz Arras, Janelle Drouet, Anna-Lisa Conners, Christine Cornelius, Alana Shepherd, Mikki Kruger, Laura Cowley, Emlyn Altman, Dawn Hollingsworth, Evelyn McGowan, Lisa VanZee, WILD: Lois Hutchinson, Lauren Dandridge, Colleen Peach, & Jill Cody, Andrea Hartranft, Deborah Burnett, Jessica Krometis, Jane You, Sara Schonour, Laura Cowley and Jeanne Choi, among several others.



Partnership is the foundation of LightFair. In addition to our co-owners, the IES and IALD, our attendees and presenters represent a number of industry associations. We are grateful to them for their support and participation. One such important partnership we are fortunate to have cultivated is with Women in Lighting + Design (WILD) to spark engaging conversations on diversity, inclusion, representation in the lighting industry and beyond.


The LightFair 2022 program includes WILD Speaks! Building Diversity in the Lighting Industry Pipeline, a FREE on-floor session by Lois Hutchinson (Inverse Square), Lauren Dandridge ( Chromatic), Colleen Peach (Arup), Jill Cody (Dark Light Design).

WILD’s mission is “to provide the lighting community an inclusive and open environment for professional and personal growth by offering networking, mentorship, and knowledge sharing. ” Women in Lighting + Design is open to all women and their allies, creating a supportive and safe network for all.

Their networking events feature animated discussions on women in the workplace and current lighting trends providing participants the chance to make new friends, meet mentors and discuss how we can strive to push forward both as a group and as individuals.

LightFair 2021 held in New York last October brought together seven amazing and engaging presentations in the PechaKucha format. PechaKucha means chit-chat in Japanese, and each presentation consisted of 20 slides for 20 seconds each. In essence, each presenter had only 400 seconds to tell their story. The speakers and topics were:

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

Offering seven personal and passionate stories, seven guidelines for excellence, and seven inspirations for changing the way we interact, the WILD presentation was one of the memorable takeaways from LightFair for participants. The recording of WILD’s presentation at LightFair is available to watch here.


Be bold in your decision making and don’t change who you are. I firmly believe there is not only room at the table for your authentic self, but a need for it.

Tanya Hernandez, PE, LC

Since its launch in February 2021, the LightFair blog has featured profile spotlights, interviews, projects and perspectives covering the work and journeys of women in lighting from around the world. Among them are Danielle Samuel, Lauren Dandridge Gaines, Samantha Schwirck, Regina Lausell, Susan Hamburger, Meg Smith, Yah Li Toh, Lee Brandt, Barbara Horton, Angelica Santana, Connie Samla, Tanya Hernandez, Kate Sweater Hickox, Deborah Burnett and others.

While each story is unique, common, underlying threads tie them together. A passion for lighting. Authentic perspectives. Bold voices. Inspired work. Enthusiasm. Talent. Hard work. Perseverance against all odds. The determination to break bias and stereotypes. Dreaming big, seizing opportunities…at times, creating them. These women, and what they bring are the pillars of LightFair and the lighting industry. And although acknowledging them just for one day, or one month of the year does no justice to their contributions, we’ll take any reason to pause and recognize them and say Happy Women’s Day; thank you for lighting the way and making our world brighter.

Be cautious. Be mindful. Be aware, but never afraid.


Last but not the least, speaking of women who are the pillars of LightFair, this post is also a nod to Libby Morley, one of the founders of LightFair who spearheaded the concept of an annual architectural and commercial lighting trade show and conference 33 years ago, fostering the lasting partnership with the IES and IALD. Thank you, Libby. And readers, if you’ve visited our website recently, you’ll see that Libby is back in action – as our chatbot avatar providing instant responses to all your questions about the event…our small gesture of thanks to the woman behind it all.

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Who are the women in lighting who inspire you? Tell us in the comments.

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