Member Spotlight: Leah Robinson

Leah Robinson

Leah Robinson

Member of IES since 2007

Past Section President, Vice-President, Education Chair
Senior Lighting Designer at Pivital® Lighting Design

Why are you a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society?
In short because I was asked. I was recruited to the board of managers in 2007, but I wasn’t a member. I joined, and the Raleigh IES section as well as the Society at large has helped me tap into the lighting community and find my passion and my place in the industry.

What has been your motivation for re-starting the Raleigh section?
Having been a past-president when the section started to falter, I felt a sense of injury. I owed a great deal to this organization, and though I took an extended hiatus due to some burnout and a new baby, I couldn’t allow the section to fail…not on my watch. To be clear, I didn’t do it alone. There were a lot of people who wanted to see the section active and thriving but didn’t necessarily know how to take it on. I brought a bit of experience, but that’s all.

What is your strategy for the upcoming year?
For years during my previous tenure with the board of managers, there was a call to diversify our program offerings, but there were also a lot of “if it ain’t broken…” thinkers.  Having a fresh start gives us the chance to write new rules. I have three.  The only bad idea is the one not said, so my aim is to support all ideas and encourage the committee chairs to take ownership of their ideas and turn them into fruition. Two – recruit, recruit, recruit. We recruit new faces, new perspectives, new ideas, and hopefully a diverse representation of people and market sectors. That leads directly to number three – succession planning.  Between burnout and stuck minds, a churn of people at all levels is necessary.

How has the section responded to Covid-19?
I’m extremely proud of our managers who quickly turned an in-person program into a virtual one last March.  Finishing out last year, we had little choice but to take all programming virtual, but as the pandemic drags on, we are rethinking what that looks like. Virtual education is commodity product these days, so we are focusing on connections and all things local. We kicked off the 2020-21 program year with a virtual happy hour, and we’ll continue to enhance our ability to engage our membership from a safe distance. We also will work within the confines of the law and common sense to gather responsibly for events such as an outdoor Talk N Walk scheduled for early 2021. The lemonade is sweet!