EDITED BY HAYDEN BEESON
Women in Lighting + Design (WILD), which first began with casual meetings in the 1990s, is an organization of women actively working in the lighting industry who represent a variety of backgrounds, such as lighting designers, manufacturers, and representatives.
WILD’s mission is to create and foster a community for women within the lighting industry through networking, personal and professional development, mentorship, charity, and more. The organization hosts events for women — some focused on lighting and some for broader advocacy or career development. WILD currently has 19 active chapters, six budding chapters, and a few more interested cities.
WILD operates four programs — Diversity, Equity Inclusion + Respect (DEIR); the Lamplighter Coalition, which works to create awareness around sexual harassment in the workplace; Mentorship; and a Parent Resource Group (PRG+). The group recently launched a formal membership drive with annual dues so that the board of directors can continue to help WILD grow. A portion of the dues also goes to each member’s local chapter, and benefits include discounted or free access to events, a membership pin, access to a private members group, and more. Learn more from the board of WILD about its initiatives, plans, and ways to become involved.
What are you currently working on? WILD is focused on our fourth program — Mentorship. We want to create a more well-rounded industry, with women at different career stages helping to foster retainment and advancement opportunities for their colleagues. Later this year, a pilot program will be launched for a limited group. Participants will be matched by their job experience, location, and type of work wherever possible.
How would you summarize your group’s culture? We are a diverse and inclusive group of women with a “there’s room for everyone” mindset. Within the WILD community, we don’t let our titles or the companies we work for dictate who we connect with — there is no competition within WILD. We’re here to empower and advocate for each other.
What is a top concern or priority for WILD right now? Lamplighter and the “Be There, Be Aware” Campaign for workplace sexual harassment. We partnered with Alteristic — a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of workplace harassment and violence against individuals — to provide a series of webinars on how to recognize and respond to inappropriate behaviors, learn about when/how to intervene, and identify ways we can develop a professional climate of dignity and respect.
We have several upcoming, online skills training opportunities in October and November intended to help guide attendees in standing up to and stopping harassment.
What are some leaders, advocates, or other organizations you admire? We admire the wonderful group of women who lead our programs, including Stacey Bello and Chelsea Kreielsheimer (DEIR); Elizabeth Williams (Lamplighter); Sara Schonour and Sarah Richter (Mentorship); and Brittany Lunch (PRG).
Current board of directors: Kelly Roberts, president; Alessa Aguayo, president-elect; Sriti Singh, treasurer; Amber Poirier, secretary; Rachel Bauer, chapter chair; Cindy Foster-Warthen, marketing chair; Lois Hutchinson, programs chair; Haley Laurence, outreach chair; and Srushti Totadri, membership chair.
The board has existed in its current iteration since January 2023. WILD has an election every year, and our voting process is underway now. New board members are announced in December and will begin their term in January.
How to get involved: Join WILD’s formal membership drive at the link below and become a member today. Keep an eye on our industry calendar on the website for industry-wide events where WILD members will participate, and as well as online learning opportunities and in-person networking and social events that will further strengthen our sense of community.HAYDEN BEESONis a writer and editor with over seven years of experience in a variety of industries. Prior to joining Endeavor Business Media as associate editor of Architectural SSL and LEDs Magazine, he was the managing editor of several machine reliability publications.