News, Perspective

As a Student or Emergent Lighting Professional, What Do You Gain by Attending LightFair?

Emergent Professionals Lighting Community at LightFair

As a student or emergent professional, there are bound to be constraints on your time and budget even when it comes to something as valuable as continuing education. Does attending LightFair warrant an investment of both?

To answer this question, let’s look at what attending LightFair entails.

  • But first, you should know that as a student or emergent professional who is new to the industry, you enjoy deep discounts on the registration price.
  • Plus, you only have to purchase ONE conference session at this discounted price to enjoy all 3 days of unlimited access to the expo and on-floor events.

Discounts for Student and Emergent Professionals

*on sessions running May 23-25

For 32+ years, as North America’s premier lighting event, LightFair has been bringing together professionals, products and ideas from across the lighting design and technology industries. Beyond a trade show and conference, LightFair has evolved to be a holistic, integrated experience where the lighting community gathers to learn, teach, inspire and be inspired, explore, network, research, collaborate, explore and advance the future of lighting.

Moreover, LightFair’s reach extends to interconnected and overlapping, multidisciplinary fields beyond lighting.

LightFair Conference Tracks
Wherever your interest lies, if your work touches lighting, you belong at LightFair.


At the lectures, introduce yourself to your neighbor – you already have something in common since you are both already interested in the presentation topic. 

Lee Brandt IALD, MIES, LC, Principal, HLB Lighting Design

LightFair is perhaps one of the few lighting industry events of its kind, if not the only one, where you can connect the dots between education and practical application, between research and real-life scenarios, and between what you see, learn and experience all in one place.

As a show programmed, curated and delivered in partnership with two of the most significant industry associations – the Illuminating Engineering Society and the International Association of Lighting Designers – LightFair is unique in its constitution and offering. Every thoughtfully curated program reflects the needs of the lighting community and serves to fill gaps in knowledge and expertise.

As much as LightFair is a place for experts to share their knowledge and experience, it is also where students and emergent professionals new to the industry get to dip their toes in various aspects of the industry. Every expert at LightFair will tell you they were once here as a first-timer. And that the connections they made here, the mentorship they gained, the learning they were exposed to has made a tangible impact on their careers.

David Ghatan

My very first Lightfair I was an intern. The office decided to drive from DC to NY for the day and do a mad sprint through the show (it was a smaller show). A daunting task. We arrived at Javits and realized that we showed up on the last day and it was only a half-day. I think we literally ran from booth to booth. Had wonderful introductions to products, saw friends and colleagues and then found time to head to the Empire State Building and enjoy the great views of Manhattan. A wild and crazy introduction to the energy of Lightfair.

David Ghatan, CLD | FIALD | LC | MIES
President, CM Kling + Associates

Besides the obvious benefit of the LightFair Conference, which in 2023, offers 100+ accredited sessions eligible for IES, AIA, BOMI, NCQLP CEU credits, LightFair features several other opportunities for this group of new and soon-to-be lighting professionals.

Here’s a look at some of them.

Learning and Professional Development Opportunities for Students and Emergent Professionals at LightFair

Thoughtfully curated, FREE programming (included with registration) designed to elevate your lighting career to the next level – draw from the industry’s collective expertise to build your own.

1 – Hone Your Sales Skills at the LightFair-IES Live Sales Stars Contest

LightFair Sales Stars
2023 Sales Star Judges: Mark Lien, Shirley Coyle, Bob Preston, Randy Reid, Erik Ennen

10 Sales Stars. 2 Products. 5 Judges. ONE Pitch. 
Wednesday, May 24 | 2:30 – 4:30 PM
IES LIVE Location on the Show Floor

Get front-row seats to 10 top-notch sales pitches! Participants will deliver their assigned product pitches in front of a live audience (You!), “selling” to our panel of judges who bring decades of industry experience. Whose pitch will convince these tough customers? Find out as it happens!

The judges for the 2023 contest are Mark Lien, Shirley Coyle, Bob Preston, Randy Reid, Erik Ennen. Contestants have been selected from a pool of nominees representing the exhibiting companies.

While the judges will have the tough job of picking ONE winner, you, on the other hand can make a note of all the tactics and techniques that impress you. Be sure to take notes and connect with the contestants later to grow your network and knowledge.

2 – Get Career Advice, Interview Tips and Portfolio Feedback at the LightFair Career Fair

Don’t miss this session if you’re in the job market, expect to be looking for a new opportunity soon, or interested in constructive portfolio feedback to help you grow.

Wednesday, May 24 | 12:00 – 1:30 PM
Special Events Area on the Show Floor 

Career Fair Sessions

  • Careers in Lighting presentation and Portfolio Reviews by Jill Cody, Dark Light Design, and an IALD Trust member
  • Interview and Resume Tips by Paul Pompeo and Joseph Vigil with the Pompeo Group

Don’t forget to bring your portfolio and resume to receive constructive feedback.

3 – Choose to Explore the Show Your Way…with Lightineraries

LightFair Lightineraries

A large trade show floor can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new. Which is why we’ve crafted four Lightineraries for 2023 to help you navigate the show without missing what’s important to you. From the conference to the show floor, explore all aspects catering to a theme that interests you with curated journeys we call Lightineraries: Brilliant in Business, Environment Enthusiast, Innovative Integrator, Wellness Explorer

Short on time? Access Lightineraries and the floor plan on the Mobile App and plan your route around the floor to be most efficient.

4 – See More, Save Time with Pavilion Tours

If you’re not yet familiar with various product categories and the manufacturers in each that you’d want to connect with, this feature will most certainly help. Join industry experts on guided tours to discover what’s new from exhibitors in each category. Tours make brief stops at different booths when you can hear from the manufacturers directly.

Make a note of the products and manufacturers that catch your attention. Come back later to the same booths and delve a little deeper into what interests you.

5 – Get Inspired by Karen Treviño’s Keynote

LightFair Keynote
Karen Trevino, Division Chief, Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, National Park Service, NSNSD Publications

Chasing Darkness Into the Light: Preserving Night Skies in National Parks | Tuesday, May 23 | 12 – 1:30 pm

Don’t miss learning about responsible outdoor lighting and preserving dark skies from the Division Chief, Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, National Park Service, NSNSD Publications. Tap into the knowledge and inspiration Karen brings as a result of her vast and deep experience in natural resource protection, preservation and restoration over many decades.

6 – Seek and Receive Mentorship

Tuesday, May 23 | 2:00 pm | Special Events Area

Meet past and present mentors and mentees of the LightFair-IES Mentorship Program. Connect over coffee to talk mentorship, opportunities, challenges and more as they relate to the lighting industry and allied areas. 

So, to answer the question “Is attending LightFair worth my time and money?”, think about the value you get in terms of accredited education, networking, exposure to brands, products, trends and ideas, networking opportunities, career advancement opportunities, connections to speakers, industry veterans and peers… and more. And then decide for yourself if this would be a couple of days and about a week’s worth of coffee money well spent.

Questions? Comments? Send our way!

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