Member of the Month

We are pleased to introduce to our readers the IESNYC Member of the Month, chosen as part of a dedicated team of professionals that represent a cross-section of the lighting industry in New York City. We value their expertise, and thank them for volunteering their time and energy for the betterment of the section.

April 2017

Clara Powell, LC
Business Development Manager, NYC/NJ
Osram Lighting Solutions NA - Traxon Technologies 

Q: How did you first get started in the lighting industry?
I studied interior design and design of the built environment for five years in Paris. When came time to choose a thesis project I chose the topic of lighting, and more specifically museum lighting, because I wanted to demonstrate that lighting is the most powerful medium to bring the architecture and the museum collections to life. My thesis project later helped me to receive a Fulbright scholarship to attend Pratt Institute in a master’s program (MS Interior Design). During my first summer in New York, I was accepted as an IALD lighting design intern at Flack & Kurtz, where I continued working part-time until the completion of my master’s degree. This was the beginning of my career in lighting. I have now worked for lighting manufacturers for many years and continue to exercise my passion for lighting in my daily work at Traxon, where I’ve worked for the past six and a half years.

Q: How did you first get involved in the IESNYC?
Shortly after I started working as a lighting designer for JoAnne Lindsley’s company, and it was she who encouraged me to join the IES and to become active in the Section. JoAnne, who later became the Section’s first woman president in 1984/5 and 1985/6, invited me to a board meeting, as an observer. Then she urged me to submit my thesis project to the Richard Kelly Grant, and I did - after translating it from French to the best of my abilities! I received a Richard Kelly Grant and was honored at the Lumen Awards Gala, which was then hosted at the Central Park Boat House, where I had the privilege to sit next to Jules Horton! This is the type of opportunities the IESNYC offers. A few months later I was asked to co-chair the Richard Kelly Grant committee and I accepted. This was the beginning of my involvement in the section.

Q: How do you see your role as member of the IESNYC?
I have held many positions with the IESNYC over the years, including board member, committee chair, vice-president and I served as the Section’s 84th president during 2001/2 and 2002/3. Currently, I am co-chair, with Adrienne Shulman of the Lumen Awards. We are responsible for every aspect of the Lumens from submissions to the judging process, and all the minute details for the gala itself.  All positions I’ve had have been invigorating, challenging and rewarding. A time comes, however, to take a step back and let other members make their mark and shape the IESNYC and its vision. Today I really see my role two-fold - first as an advisor and my door is open and I’m happy to help or just to brainstorm, and second, as a mentor to further the mission of the IESNYC with the up-and-coming generation of lighting professionals. I also continue to contribute as needed and carry on promoting the Section’s amazing activities and member benefits within the industry.

Q: In your opinion, what are the best assets of the IESNYC?
The best assets of the IESNYC are the people. The power of the section is that it is always a work in progress, a living organism. The collective minds of the many dedicated volunteers who contribute to the Section’s operation make our amazing programs materialize, including the monthly programs, IESNYC Student Lighting Competition, Lumen Awards and IESNYC Scholarship. The generous sponsors who provide funding for the IESNYC’s educational and social activities, and are always ready to go the extra mile, make it possible for our lighting community to gather and share. In the end the best asset of the IESNYC, through its people, is connectivity.