At the Annual Banquet during the American Lighting Assn. (ALA) Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Susan Solomon-Auerbach became the 21st inductee into the Lighting Hall of Fame and the second woman to achieve the honor. The Executive Vice President of Corporate Development for Generation Brands is the granddaughter of Sea Gull Lighting founder Henry Siegel and daughter of the late Edwin Solomon, himself a member of the Lighting Hall of Fame.
Solomon-Auerbach received a plaque commemorating her status from incoming ALA Chair Lars Bostrom (left) of Bostrom Lighting Sales and outgoing Chair Paul Eusterbrock of Holtkötter. Her photo will also be displayed in the Lighting Hall of Fame at the Dallas Trade Mart.
The Lighting Hall of Fame recognizes a lifetime of commitment, dedication and achievement. In addition to her long-standing active role in the association, Solomon-Auerbach was also honored for “her family approach to business, treating employees, partners and customers with an old-fashioned sense of value,” said Hinkley Lighting's Rick Wiedemer, ALA Awards Chair. “She views lighting as a delightful mix of creativity and hard business rules.”
In her acceptance speech, Solomon-Auerbach acknowledged the obvious male role models in her life such as her father and grandfather, but credited her grandmother, Paula Solomon, and two aunts with inspiring her to pursue family and career since they were all mothers themselves who owned a retail clothing business.
She learned to “listen to customers' needs” and loved the interaction at her own retail children’s clothing store, calling this skill a “key ingredient” in her later success in various positions at Sea Gull.
In 1982, she attended her first ALA Convention and “instantly wanted to get involved in influencing the industry.” In 1984, she served on the Convention Planning Committee and has since participated actively in numerous ALA committees. In 1996, she became the first female Chair of the ALA Board of Governors.
In 1993, she served on the Executive Board for ALA’s Strategic Team, which was responsible for restructuring the association and bringing on board a dedicated management staff. Solomon-Auerbach calls this her “most meaningful” contribution since it accelerated the growth and relevance of the organization and ultimately made it what it is today. That same year, she received the ALA Lighting Person of the Year Award, a precursor to the Pillar of the Industry awards.
Her other ALA leadership roles and honors include serving as Chair of the Board of Governors Bi-National Task Force, 1996-1997; Chair of the Public Relations Committee and ALA Sponsorship Task Force in 1999; recipient of the Residential Lighting Industry Leadership Award in 2001; and Chair of the Long-Range Conference Planning Committee, 2003-2007.
Solomon-Auerbach encouraged all ALA members to get involved.
“Without the success of an integral association like ALA, this industry could not thrive,” said Solomon-Auerbach. “Your success and our company’s success all depend on the success of ALA. The future of this industry is bright and exciting. Find your passion and indulge your passion.”
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