Have you always wanted to work in the industry, or did you have other careers in mind too? If you have worked in another career before, how have the skills you learnt during that role transferred to lighting?
I originally wanted to study law and went to a career’s day at my local Atkins office, which was advertising for roles in highway law, but whilst there, they said that I should talk to the lighting team. Subsequently, I was offered a job in the lighting team as a Junior Technician, and later, I found out that they had disbanded the law team, which gave me a sign that this was the right thing to do.
My first job was as a florist! The creative skills from this role have certainly transferred to lighting, but what prepared me the most for working in the lighting industry was the time management aspect. As a florist, you have to be organised for all the big occasions, which has prepared me for how agile we must be in the lighting sector, meeting clients’ demands which are changing all the time and juggling different projects. As everyone’s bouquet for their event is the most important thing to them, for each client, their project is the most important, so it is a juggling act to ensure we can meet everyone’s needs. No two weeks are the same for a florist or a lighting professional!
What has been your lightbulb moment during your career?
Setting up the Young Professionals Lighting Group within the ILP in 2009 is my proudest moment; seeing that they are flourishing, growing, delivering, and bringing young people into the industry and giving them that support is so fulfilling.
The turning point in my career was when I realised that what motivates me, and what my skillset is better suited to is the business and leadership side. I made a conscious decision to move to the commercial side of the industry rather than progressing further in the technical space, achieving an MBA so that I had the academic training and credibility for these roles. This was a somewhat controversial decision as the stages of engineering are very structured and linear, so when you deviate into a business role, people think you are giving up what you have worked so hard for. But I have kept my technical knowledge up and never stepped away from lighting or project roles. And although I am now in a Technical Director position, my role is still heavily focused on business delivery.