Power to The People
Laura Van Zeyl

Working on our 20th anniversary supplement this month, I found it amazing how much the business and science of lighting had changed in that timeframe. Technology may be responsible for most major adjustments in our industry — creation of online sales channels, emergence of mobile devices and advancement of LED light sources — but no matter what electronics are in play during any given era, our retrospective research made something else quite clear: Our industry’s true energy always comes from its people.

I had the honor of working on our commemorative edition with my mentor Cori Dunn, who launched Residential Lighting. Poring through archival issues we had worked on together “back in the day” released a flood of memories for me — all of them populated by people I am still privileged to call my friends.

Every significant event we encounter in life — positive or negative — becomes defined by the individuals who participated in it with us, witnessed it for us, celebrated it with us, got us through it. Thanks to the delightfully incestuous nature of the lighting business, these are often the same people we can call
upon decades later to help us remember and share a laugh ... or a tear.

We’ve been there for each other in times of tragedy — personal losses and those profound, as in the cases of 9/11 or Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. We are an industry that takes care of our own. Some friendships have sustained over multiple generations. Some have yet to be established.

We are an industry that measures time in Dallas Markets and ALA Conferences, not just as benchmarks for our business growth or other tangible paybacks, but for the memories made together at events that bring so many friends to one city — or one hotel bar — at one time. Our relationships are the priceless commodity at the core of every transaction and every product introduction. Our relationships are everything.

I am thankful for the relationships that this magazine has enabled for me, and for the honor of sustaining a relationship between our brand and its readership. It is our goal to use technology — digital communications, social media — to enhance those genuine relationships, not erect impersonal walls around us. And given our industry’s fundamental values, I’m confident that technology will only strengthen the bonds that built the lighting business.

About this author

Laura Van Zeyl

Laura Van Zeyl is the Publisher/Editorial Director of Residential Lighting and Home Fashion Forecast magazines, and has been covering the lighting and home furnishings industries since 1993. In 2014, she was named one of "100 Women of Inspiration" by Today's Chicago Woman magazine.

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