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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
“My one action to address my own bias is….” “My one action to address bias against women in the workplace is…”
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.
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
Q: For every 100 men promoted to manager, how many Black women are promoted? A: Only 58 Black women.
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.
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. Featuring: 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
Check out the new podcast from Lytei featuring our amazing WILD Texas leaders Alriah and Alyssa (DFW), Michelle (Houston), and Sarah (Austin)! They dive deep about WHAT inspired them each to start their Chapters and WHY you should join them. Check out this truly honest and open conversation from these four incredible women.
John Roach: The Aesthetics of Engineering –
What do lighting design and structural engineering have in common? Turns out, a whole lot more than one might initially think. John Roach, Associate Vice President, Structural Engineer, and Office Engineering Leader at CannonDesign, talks to us about the parallels between the professions and how through collaboration and a well-orchestrated design process, both lighting and structures can intrinsically augment the goals of a project.
Thank you Tanya, Amber, Mariel, Alana, Rachael, Luz, and Brittany for your amazing PechaKucha presentations at LightFair2021! You inspire us to do better and be better – and you knocked it out of the park!
Keep scrolling to hear from our speakers, learn how to connect with NACLIQ and BOSLady, and check out the recording!
Voices of WILD: Rising for Social Change
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 – Not So Secret Shame of Working Moms
LightFair 2021 brought together seven amazing presentations in the PechaKucha format. PechaKucha means chit-chat in Japanese, and each presentation consisted of 20 slides for 20 seconds each. This means each of our presenters only had 400 seconds to tell you their story. This was fun, engaging, and much harder than it sounds!
Tanya, Amber, Mariel, Alana, Rachael, Luz, and Brittany provided seven personal and passionate stories, seven guidelines for excellence, and seven inspirations for changing the way you interact with your colleagues and yourself. We are so grateful to them for sharing their message and for making our LightFair experience so memorable!
Many thanks to Pyramid Lighting Group of NYC for sponsoring our Social Hour on Thursday afternoon (even though it didn’t quite turn out the way we had hoped!) and special thanks to Rowena Burcham at LightFair for the game-day help. It’s just one of those trade-show things!
As we discover what our new normal will hopefully be, I wanted to share something that affects all women, but particularly women of color to make it part of the return to work conversation. The format was really challenging, it’s harder to speak for 6 minutes than an hour, but it was worth the work because of the connections it made. That was what this LFI was about – re-connecting, seeing new faces for the first time off the screen and hugging old friends. – Mariel Acevedo Codeswitching
This was the weirdest LightFair ever, but I’m glad for it. I had the unique opportunity to join some of the strongest and most passionate women I’ve met to present to a cask strength distillation of industry professionals from all facets of the lighting world. Truly a once in a lifetime experience.
– Alana Shepherd LGBTQ+ By the Numbers
CHECK THIS OUT! In 2020, Alana founded the North American Coalition of Lighting Industry Queers, an explicitly transgender and non-binary inclusive organization providing advocacy and support for LGBTQIA+ lighting professionals. WILD is proud to consider NACLIQ and Alana a partner in our own journey and mission. Learn more here!
What drew me to want to speak with WILD was the PechaKucha format. I’ve done a few others and know this is a great way to get information out quickly and succinctly. I chose middle management because that is what my daily life is! I’ve gotten some comments from other lighting designers that are in middle management, and they were encouraged by my discussion. LightFair was great to see everyone in person and talk about what we are currently up to and are planning to do next.
– Rachael Stoner Life in Middle Management
I’ve never experienced such an ENGAGING set of presentations. The PechaKucha format caters to the wandering mind we all have. Because the slides change every 20 seconds, it keeps the focus as the presenter flows from one topic to the next. There isn’t room for dawdling, both from the presenter and the audience! What a fantastic platform to share ideas that captivates the audience. It was so delightful to come together with others in our industry. After being sheltered in our own environments for the past year and a half, it was so refreshing to share thoughts and reignite that passion for lighting, that we all seem to share. WHAT A TREAT!
– Brittany Lynch Not So Secret Shame of Working Mothers
CHECK THIS OUT!
In 2018, Amber co-founded the BOSLady Book Club and curates their semi-weekly newsletter on design, personal development and inspiration, and women and minorities in business.
Statement Opposing Texas Senate Bill 8 Sept 20, 2021
Women in Lighting + Design supports our members and all women in their pursuit of equal opportunity and therefore opposes Senate Bill 8 of Texas’ 87th legislative session1 and similar bills proposed in other states2. We acknowledge that our members hold a diverse range of political and religious beliefs, and we support their liberty to choose a path that is best for them and their families. However, we believe SB8 is a direct attack on women’s rights; removing a woman’s constitutionally protected right to choose what’s best for our health, bodies, and lives. SB8 harms women and erases progress towards equality across genders. In addition, we also oppose the so-called “vigilante clause,” which allows citizens to sue suspected law breakers. This provision, likely intended to evade judicial review, essentially pits peer against peer and creates further division among us all.
SB8 prohibits a woman from getting an abortion after 6 weeks from her last menstrual period. A woman’s constitutionally protected right to choose extends to fetal viability at approximately 24 weeks. In addition, for many women, 6 weeks is before she knows that she is pregnant. SB8 allows no exceptions for rape or incest and allows only a very narrow window of exception for maternal/fetal health. SB8 has already significantly curtailed women’s access to safe abortions at clinics across Texas. Women of means may be able to travel out of state to obtain abortions, so SB8 will most heavily impact lower-income women and women of color.3
SB8 does not provide support for educational resources or funds for pregnancy prevention services, which have been shown to reduce unplanned pregnancies more effectively than restricting abortion access.4 SB8 does not expand resources available to mothers post-partum, such as health, nutrition, childcare, or direct financial support. This places undue financial and emotional burdens on women, and laws like SB8 only further hurt our ability to work and make a living.
SB8 does not place any burden on the man responsible for the pregnancy in question.
Women in Lighting + Design calls on the lighting community to support their employees’ and coworkers’ rights to make informed, private, healthcare-related decisions with their doctors and to actively protest any law that effectively promotes witch hunts. We also call on employers to review their current policies to consider how they can better support women’s health and families.
Introducing WILD’s new National Board of Directors! President: Kelly Roberts (NYC) Vice President: Katherine Stekr (Denver) Secretary: Lily Knoerzer (Philly) Director-at-Large: Alessa Aguayo (NYC); Bridget Cross (Chicago); Lauren Dunn (Denver); Lois Hutchinson (LA)
WOW has WILD come a long way! What started as a few local meetups and a much needed safe outlet for connection in the 1990s is now an over 1000-member organization with multiple Chapters around the country and new interest growing every day. Along the way, we have stayed true to our roots. WILD is still a safe place for having conversations, making connections, and supporting our members to be the best, the most WILD, they can be.
With the creation of our new National Board of Directors, WILD is taking the next natural step in our growth. This Board will work with the existing National Chapter Committee (which consists of a representative from each Chapter) to establish a framework for supporting our current Chapters, expanding outreach, and continuing to develop our WILD initiatives and industry partnerships. The Board will be solely dedicated to the growth and development of WILD as a larger community.
The Board of Directors looks forward to honoring our legacy and to building WILD into a sustainable organization for future leaders. We are truly grateful for the amazing women who started WILD, those that continued building it over the past 30 years, our current Chapters leaders, and all those that have stepped forward as active members and voices of our community. Together – We are WILD.
PARENT RESOURCE GROUP creating POSTIVE change for parents in lighting
UNDER PRESSURE CONNECTION & CONVERSATION September 13, 2021 1PM – 2PM EST
Welcome to WILD’s new Parent Resource Group, PRG+, where we are creating positive change for parents in lighting. PRG+ will offer opportunities for connection through quarterly breakout room sessions and education through panels, articles, and industry outreach. Positive feedback from our August 2020 event showed that parents need a safe place outside of the office to ask questions, find resources, share stories, and discuss solutions. Engaged employers want to know how they can help and what resources they can offer. This group is open to all industry professionals that aspire to create a more equitable working environment for parents and caregivers.
Let’s get real… Working parents face unbounded pressures to perform at work and at home with little to no support. Then arrived the pandemic, and our patched-together life rafts sank. Parents, especially moms, are conditioned to believe that if we can learn one more life hack or have one more hour per day, then all of our problems will be solved. In actuality, the pressure is due to a complex web of societal and economic pressures, and our problems are not going to be solved with a well-organized to-do list.
Join WILD over lunch for our first PRG+ connection session where we’ll learn a little about how these immense pressures have developed in society over time and then break into groups to discuss our own stressors and offer support and solution brainstorming. This event will not be recorded – so join for real-time conversation and connection!