At LightFair, WILD had a presentation on building diversity in the lighting industry and making the case for why we should focus our efforts on diversity. Speakers included:
- Lois Hutchinson
Principal, Inverse Square
- Jill Cody
Principal, Dark Light Design
- Lauren Dandridge
- Colleen Peach
Sr. Lighting Designer, Arup
The presentation started off with the question, “Why Diversity?” The point was made that diversity in the workplace brings out the most in employees and gives them opportunities to reach their full potential. From an employers perspective, diversity allows them to access a greater range of talent, expand marketing opportunities, and enhance their ability to serve diverse stakeholders.
Colleen Peach discussed her involvement with the Los Angeles Lighting Speaker Bureau, a group of architectural lighting professionals sharing their knowledge with the L.A. youths. Goals include:
- To increase awareness of our profession and professional organizations
- To increase the pipeline of more diverse talent into the lighting community
- To ensure success of our industry in an inclusive future
- Drive technical innovation
- Expand awareness of all new and existing resources available to lighting students
Lauren Dandridge emphasized the main goal is to educate, with a focus on keeping it simple and accessible when educating youths. They also work with organizations like NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects) for the purpose of minimizing the effects of racism in our industry and helping marginalized communities. NOMA’s programs extends to: camps, design workshops, arch design field trips, and in 2021, the first lighting module was added to curriculum.
Jill Cody highlighted their work with the ACE Mentor Program of America. ACE is an award-winning, after school program designed to attract high school students into pursuing careers in architecture, construction and engineering. The majority of ACE students (69%) are minority, and over 40% are female. One-quarter of ACE seniors entering college are also first generation students. Cody added it is important to lower barriers of entry and spark curiosity in students and emerging professionals.
The takeaway at the end of the presentation is that the industry doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel. Lighting organizations are already present in schools and doing some of the pipeline work, the steps going forward is to make this activity more robust, and expand diversity efforts and awareness. Learn more about WILD and how you get involved in shaping the future of our industry by visiting their website here.