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Volunteering to find a professional support network
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Volunteering to find a professional support network

16 May 24
CIBSE Networks and Engagement Team & Helen Loomes

This month we caught up with the outgoing SLL President Helen Loomes to find out more about her time as President and the International Day of Light.

Helen was on the SLL Council for three years and then on exec for five years. Prior to that she had been on the SLL Communications and Marketing Committee and years ago chaired the committee writing the retail lighting guide, however that stalled for many years and never got published, the learning she took from this was that some of the work we do needs a helping hand from other others with fresh eyes.

How did you first find out about lighting design as a profession?

I first worked in a laboratory for a lighting manufacturer, Holophane lighting. It was a chance job advert that needed the qualifications I had and intrigued me. I was very lucky that I got the job and Holophane sent me for further training that set me on the path of lighting. I was never a lighting designer but more of a lighting engineer and got involved with selling, marketing and education all based around lighting.

What does the International Day of Light mean to you?

The international day of light is a relatively new celebration that gives us an opportunity to share our love of lighting. It is gratifying to see how social media can pull everybody together and raise awareness of the wonder of light. To celebrate the occasion, SLL are making three #GrowYourKnowledge webinars available.

How have your motivations for volunteering with SLL changed over time?

I first got involved with the Society of Light and Lighting when I was a student and it was part of the Illuminating Engineering Society. Over the years it has been a natural part of my professional life and I have appreciated the friendship and knowledge that I have benefited from. I got more involved when the company I worked for was a sponsored partner and I was the contact person. Subsequently, I became part of various committees and enjoyed the wider aspects of lighting which gave me a feeling of contributing something back.

What are you most proud of from your time on the SLL committee?

I helped to organise the events to celebrate the Centenary of the Society Of Light and Lighting which culminated in an anniversary dinner at the Criterion. I got a great sense of pride being involved in the traditions behind a learned society and humbled by all the achievements that had gone before me.

What advice would you give someone who is just starting in their career?

Life is so very different now, even that there is such a thing as a career in lighting. There is now a recognised route to acquire the education needed and a wide variety of jobs available within our sector. However, to sustain a long-term career, it is good to have friends and mentors outside of your formal employment. This is where the SLL comes into its own. Here is a peer group that provides support whether you need technical information, careers advice, or friendship with like-minded people. It is fun to grapple over a lighting conundrum, we can sometimes be a bit geeky, and exciting to be one of the first to hear of new research.

How ever much or little time you have to volunteer, whatever your skill set or stage of your career, there are numerous opportunities to get involved in volunteering at CIBSE search our volunteering opportunities.

You can also learn more about the Society of Light and Lighting on our website.

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