WILD on the Rise: Texas Edition

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.

Stephen Lees' Story (Part 1): From Actors to Architects LytePod

Ever wonder how a living lighting legend like Stephen Lees got his start, how he frames design challenges (not to mention career challenges), or what keeps him motivated? In part one of this three-part series showcasing his life and career, Stephen tells the story of his beginnings in the architectural lighting industry. Drawing inspiration from his experience and education in theater, learn some of the perspectives and perceptions he has formed in his decades-long journey as a lighting designer.
  1. Stephen Lees' Story (Part 1): From Actors to Architects
  2. Oscar Cobb – The JEDI Mindset: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  3. Jess Krometis – Live from Lightfair: A Recap of Lights in Alingsås
  4. There's a New Color Tool in Town: TM-30's Annex E – Jason Livingston and Tony Esposito
  5. Get to Know the Queer Community – Alana, Amy, Martin

LightFair 2021 is a wrap!

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
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
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

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.
Their next meeting is NEXT TUESDAY!
Nov 9th @ 6pm EST / 3pm PST
Learn more and sign up to join the club here!

Missed seeing the event in-person?
Check out the recording from Instagram Live!

Statement Opposing Texas Senate Bill 8

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.

  1. SB8: https://legiscan.com/TX/text/SB8/id/2395961, Sec. 171.201, Part 5.C.
  2. Durkee. Alison. “Florida Lawmakers Suggest They’ll Copy Texas’ Abortion Ban—And Other GOP States Will Likely Follow.” Forbes, 02-09-21, https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2021/09/02/florida-lawmakers-suggest-theyll-copy-texas-abortion-ban-and-other-gop-states-will-likely-follow/?sh=4aa4d60a1bdf.
  3. Sneed, Tierney. “How Texas’ 6-week abortion ban will make accessing the procedure nearly impossible for some.” CNN, 02-09-21, https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/01/politics/abortion-clinics-six-week-ban-texas-impacts/index.html
  4. Planned Parenthood “Reducing Teen Pregnancy”

Introducing WILD’s new National Board of Directors!

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.

PRG+ Under Pressure on Sept 13th

creating POSTIVE change for parents in lighting

September 13, 2021
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!


Lead with Light on Sept 9th

Responding to Communities in Need

September 9, 2021
12PM – 1:30PM EST
  Ticket proceeds and donations will benefit the Light Reach program: Light for Lebanon. Help us meet our fundraising goal of $2,500!
Is light a basic human right? How does access to artificial light impact a community? What responsibility does the architectural lighting industry have to help communities facing darkness? How can we use light to engage communities? Our four panelists will provide an overview of their initiatives and discuss confronting these questions to identify a community’s lighting needs. They’ll dive into the challenges of taking action to plan and build a project, discussing how to meet a community’s needs first, and still meet municipal codes, starting a project when there is no RFP, and planning a project without available electricity.

Join us to learn how to Lead with Light and support Light for Lebanon.

Francesca Bastianini (Principal, Sighte Studio)
Manal Kahale (Founder, Light for Lebanon)
Leela Shanker (Founder, Flint Collective NYC and Lighting Designer, Borealis Lighting Studio)
Nathalie Rozot (Founder, PhoscopeLight Reach)

Sam Koerbel (Founder, Lytei)
Light Reach is a global multi-program solar lighting initiative by lighting think-tank PhoScope designed to leapfrog over utility grids to fight light poverty and use light to boost the social, cultural, and economic well-being of underserved communities worldwide. Light Reach Programs use a sustainable and educational project model to bring light for work and play for all ages, and share knowledge about light for practical and artistic applications indoors and outdoors.

On August 4, 2020, the largest non-nuclear explosion in history tore through Beirut, destroying homes, businesses and entire neighborhoods in this beautiful metropolis. The blast killed over 180 people, injured 7,500 and left 300,000 homeless. An already shaky power grid sustained significant damage plunging large swaths of the city into darkness after sunset. Now the power is back where the electrical lines are working, but there is still a huge gap between supply and demand. An informal and highly profitable diesel-generator network takes over during the daily blackouts, but many cannot afford to plug in and therefore do not have enough light for their daily tasks, safety and well-being.

Light Reach’s
solar lighting model immediately and sustainably alleviates light poverty both indoors and outdoors. As intractable as the current situation appears, it also presents an opportunity to build back better. Lebanon burns imported fuel (mostly highly polluting diesel) to generate electricity — through Light for Lebanon we have a better way to quickly and sustainably re-illuminate Beirut. We are also distributing portable lights to the deaf and hard of hearing, who suffer doubly because they cannot communicate in the dark.


Francesca Bastianini  (she/her):
Francesca is an Architectural Lighting Designer based in Brooklyn, and one of the Founding Principals of Sighte Studio. The Studio has ongoing research focused on the nighttime lighting conditions of the Gowanus neighborhood and analyzing the impacts of rezoning and development. She is currently a fellow with the Van Alen Institutes Gowanus Neighborhood Design Fellowship, partnered with Dark Matter University. In addition to her work on lighting projects and research, Francesca is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons The New School, where she teaches lighting in the MFA program. The Venezuelan born designer has too many plants as she tries to recreate the tropics in her Brooklyn apt. 

Manal Kahale 
Raised in Lebanon, Manal studied Landscape Architecture at the American University of Beirut and holds a master’s degree in Lighting Design from Parsons in NYC. She worked in the USA for four years before returning to Lebanon to try and bridge both worlds through lighting. However, her return to her home country was more difficult than anticipated with the unfolding economic crisis as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, and finally on the 4th of August 2020, the biggest non-nuclear explosion ever recorded. This catastrophe unlocked feelings of communal support triggered by the complete absence of any relief efforts on the part of the Lebanese government. As a result, Manal decided to use her knowledge and experience to partake in relief efforts both as an active citizen and a lighting designer by founding Light for Lebanon.

Nathalie Rozot
Nathalie Rozot, MIES and educator member of the IALD, is a New York-based phototect and the founder of PhoScope, think tank on light. She received a 2020 WIL Award for the global solar lighting initiative Light Reach; awards from the IESNA; grants from the City of Paris, the NYSCA, NYSERDA and Parsons; fellowships from the Graham Foundation for Architecture, the MacDowell Colony and NYFA; and sponsorships from NYFA and the Van Alen Institute. She has taught lighting in several Masters programs, published and lectured globally on social and critical issues in lighting, and served internationally as an academic and professional juror.

Leela Shanker
Leela Shanker is Founder of the Flint Collective NYC, a non-profit art and design collective that works with light to enhance the experience of public space in New York. The Collective’s work was recently recognized with a 2021 Lumen Award Special Citation for Lighting as a Tool for Social Impact. With a Master of Architecture (Hons) and Master of Fine Arts Lighting Design from Parsons School of Design, Shanker supported design initiatives with WeWork’s in-house global lighting team and is now a lighting designer with Borealis Lighting Studio, in-house at consulting engineering firm, BR+A.

Moderator: Sam Koerbel
Sam Koerbel is the founder of Lytei and a cheerleader for lighting. His energy and excitement echo that of his alma mater, The University of Colorado, where he won two Division 1 national championships as CHIP the mascot. Graduating with an architectural engineering degree focused on the art and science of light, he also has a decade of experience in spec sales. His experience as a creative director and professional photographer inspires him to innovate and imagine. Each day he connects with thousands of lighting enthusiasts who learn on-demand with Lytei, a captivating digital hub that empowers light ideas.

Salary Negotiation Panel – recording now available!

Thank you Brooke, Lee, Monica, and Andrew for providing your expertise on understanding compensation in the lighting industry. The guidance provided on the skills and characteristics of valuable employees, and best approaches to salary negotiation and promotions is invaluable to our members. Thank you WILD Chicago and WILD Pacific Northwest for putting this panel together, and thank you everyone who participated in our survey! Be on the look-out for more from WILD on this topic.

Brooke Ziolo | Egret Consulting
Lee Brandt | HLB Lighting
Monica Anderson | Mazzetti
Andrew Offenbacher | Focal Point

Moderator: Mariel Taviana Acevedo | SOLUS, WILD Pacific Northwest Chapter


How Very Queer – recording now available!

Thank you Francesca, Sophie, Marien, and Alana for educating us and telling your stories!! We want to take time to acknowledge the role and experience of Queer/LGTBQ+ identities within the lighting industry, and to make sure that we are inclusive of all women and gender non-conforming individuals that form part of our community. Panelists shared from their experience and also provided history of the queer perspective, current struggles, and definitions for any who are curious to better understand their friends and colleagues under the LGTBQ+ umbrella and to open pathways of communication across our global community. 

This program is presented in partnership with:


“It’s important to create spaces to diversify, and not only to diversify but to advance the industry as much as we can, and not only to diversify but to humanize it also. … We have to hold the industry accountable for not creating, in the past, spaces in which queer communities can feel safe and represented, but looking forward into the future – we’re here and let’s keep this discussion alive.”
– Marién

“I started NACLIQ for that reason – to create a space for us … to make that space safe everywhere, particularly in the reps office, in the distributor’s office, in the contracting company – [a space] to exist, to be ourselves.”
– Alana

“We are not living just as individuals within our different firms or companies, but also [the actions and reactions within these spaces shows] the impact that our employers and community members have on our existence.”
– Francesca

How to be an ally:
“Much like what we’ve been learning through conversations about Black Lives Matter, we can apply those sorts of things to queerness as well, and to feminism. Like rather than just not being homophobic – be actively anti-homophobic. If someone says a slur in front of you, maybe you’re not gay – maybe no one in the room is gay, but be brave enough to stand up and say ‘actually, I don’t find that funny, and why are you saying that, what’s the joke? I don’t get it.’ And also just listen and promote those voices when people speak out because I think it’s very difficult for other people to speak out about it.”
– Sophie


Join WILD Texas at ArchLIGHT Summit!

The three Texas chapters of WILD welcome everyone to Dallas for the first-ever ArchLIGHT Summit!  

Use our special WILDVIP code to register for all sessions!

Join us for a special pre-show WILD WELCOME PARTY on Monday night (open to everyone)! Catch a spectacular view of downtown while enjoying food, drink and networking with your peers. Pre-register to reserve your drink tickets for this not-to-be-missed kickoff!
LEARN MORE HERE! Monday, September 20th, 6 – 9PM
[Trade Show registration required only.]

On Wednesday morning, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a WELCOMING BREAKFAST & BREAKOUT SESSION while participating in a lively, strategic discussion of the opportunities and challenges currently facing women in the industry. Michelle Cruz (Houston), Alriah Hunt (DFW), Sarah Mosser (Austin), and Alyssa Stewart (DFW) will lead these informal conversations.
LEARN MORE HERE! Wednesday, September 22nd, 8 – 10AM
[Trade Show and Educational Session registration required.]

Check out these presentations from some other WILD members!

Lauren Dunn: How to Use Design Thinking and Idea Visualization to Innovate
Karen Jess-Lindsley: Sustainability is Lighting
Terri Lux: Biographies in Light Before Edison
Alana Shepherd: Queer Perspectives in Architectural Lighting
Katherine Stekr: The Devil is in the Detail
Alyssa Weber: Measuring the Success of a Lighting Project


ArchLIGHT Summit is offering FREE attendance for STUDENTS and we are also hosting special DOCENT TOURS for those that would love to take advantage of a guided tour of the show and special sessions designed for an introductory level.
We encourage everyone to check out our schedule to learn more about the great options available. Email info@archlightsummit.com to join a DOCENT TOURS or receive the STUDENT CODE!

ATTENDEE Registration is OPEN!

Join for DNA Discovery at Dallas Market Center
Lighting is on our DNA

Tuesday, September 21 • 7:00pm – 10:00pm

During this unique event, you’ll get a chance to Discover your Design DNA, Discover Unique Drinks, Food and of course Discover Lighting! This will be fun evening of food and drinks as we have a special evening in store for ALL the attendees of ArchLIGHT Summit.