Boston Lights 2023

Speaker Schedule

Speed Negotiating

Time: 9:30am

Presenters: Annie Hess, Jess Krometis, Sara Schonour & Catherine Leksowat

Annie Hess (pronouns: she/her) is a Human Resources leader with specialized experience in Compensation, Rewards, and Talent Acquisition. As the Director of Compensation for George Washington University and a business consultant focusing on personnel and strategy, Annie enthusiastically helps teams meet and exceed organizational attraction, retention, and engagement goals. With a proven background in leading multifaceted teams, implementing complex strategies, and overseeing large-scale projects, Annie is also skilled in designing proactive and flexible compensation and talent acquisition strategies, Annie is energized by helping develop individuals and teams, and she’s passionate about employee and organization growth. She’s also an Odyssey of the Mind coach, a wife, and a mother of three.

Jess Krometis (pronouns: she/her), Associate IALD, IES brings her theatrical sensibilities, honed through a decade in the Chicago theatre scene, to the architectural lighting world. She is a Senior Designer at Hartranft Lighting Design located in Washington, DC. She has designed and programmed colorful, dynamic building facades and full environmental spaces. Her recent projects include museums, sculptures, experiences, media studios, lighting installations, office campuses, and hospitality. Jess has spoken at Enlighten Americas, LEDucation, IES Annual Conference, and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival as well as guest lectured at several universities. In the Fall of 2021, she was a workshop head for Lights in Alingsås where she led a team of student designers to create a large-scale lighting installation in Alingsås, Sweden. She is currently one of the IALD DC Chapter Coordinators, a member of the IALD Education Trust Stipend Committee, and one of the WILD DC, MD, VA chapter committee members. Awards include the Class of 2021 40 Under 40 Lighting Designer, IES Section Awards for several projects, and an AAM Special Achievement Award for Visual Engagement for the National Museum of Natural History, Deep Time.

Catherine Leksowat (pronouns: she/her) is a lighting designer and educator with 10 years of experience in a diverse range of sectors from infrastructure to houses of worship, historic renovation, and labs. Catherine’s particular specializations include design for physically and neurologically diverse populations and sustainability.  Catherine is co-founder of the women’s thought leadership and networking group, BOSLady, a professional group for women lighting designers to discuss work/life balance, equal pay and negotiation, and much more.  Catherine currently serves on the IALD Education Trust Board and teaches lighting design for architecture and interior design.  She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s in interior design and holds a certificate from Rensselaer Polytechnic's Light and Health Institute.

Sara Schonour (Pronouns She/Her) mixes engineering, illumination, education, entertainment, and entrepreneurship fluidly as a consultant in the industries she enjoys the most. She spent 16 years at the world-renowned architecture firm CannonDesign, where she built and led their award-winning Lighting Studio. Sara then joined the team at Lytei as the VP of education and community engagement, before starting her own consulting firm: Luxsi. Sara is deeply engaged in the lighting world, sits on multiple industry and advisory boards, and acts as an ambassador to the broader design community. She loves to learn and also loves to share what she’s learned, and has served as adjunct faculty at both the Boston Architectural College (BAC) and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), in addition to speaking regularly at events, on podcasts, in classrooms and at conferences on various topics surrounding light and life. Sara volunteers as the Facilities Co-Director at the Footlight Club, America’s Oldest Community Theater, and is a passionate advocate for diversity and STEM outreach. You can see Sara in action representing the world of lighting and engineering on the hitNetflix show, Baking Impossible.

Artificial: Photons, Craft and Machine Learning

Time: 12:30pm

Presenter: Dan Weissman

Dan Weissman is an Architect, Lighting Designer, researcher, and educator at Lam Partners in Cambridge, MA. As Director of Lam Labs, Dan leads endeavors in digital technologies, sustainability, and daylighting. He periodically teaches at Harvard Graduate School of Design and actively participates on a range of committees including IES Sustainable Design, Solemma’s Climate Studio Product Advisory Group, and the Greenlight Alliance. An avid musician and amateur luthier of mandolin-family instruments, Dan also tends a garden, and two children along with his artist wife Lanie, and bakes two sourdough loaves a week.

Links in the (Supply) Chain – Manufacturing a More Sustainable Future

Time: 2:30pm

Presenters: Jon Penndorf & Mellissa Mattes

Course Description: What are clients looking for in sustainable lighting? We mean, besides light quality and energy conservation? How can manufacturers support broader project goals of sustainability, environmental justice, and fighting climate change? The supply chain plays an integral role of how the lighting approach to a project meets more than just an energy conservation goal. In this engaging roundtable you’ll hear from individuals at different points in a project’s timeline and how a greener supply chain can contribute to the triple bottom line of sustainable, social, and economic benefit.

Jon Penndorf, FAIA, LEED AP

Associate Principal Perkins & Will

Jon Penndorf, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, Fitwel Ambassador is an accomplished architect, sustainability leader and speaker. At Perkins & Will in Washington, DC he manages projects at multiple scales, shaping sustainability approaches to projects across the office. Concentrating on the commercial & higher education markets, he brings focus to the lenses of ecology, wellness, and resilience. Jon has served on the AIA Strategic Council, and as an Advisory Group member for the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE). Recently he worked with Metropolis Magazine to develop the Climate Toolkit for Interiors, a publicly available resource focused on reducing embodied carbon in design and construction. He also serves as Adjunct Faculty at the Catholic University of American School of Architecture & Planning. 


Melissa Mattes, LC, LFA, Assoc. IALD, LEED Green Assoc.

Senior Lighting Designer / Sustainability Specialist

Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting

Melissa divides her time between architectural lighting design and sustainable manufacturing consulting. She practices as Senior Lighting Designer and the Sustainability Specialist for Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting, a Boston based lighting design firm, where she has been a team member since 2015. Additionally, Melissa privately consults with manufacturers on sustainable product development and provides internal educational training for staff. Her design activism for material ingredient reporting of luminaire specifications stems from a personal endeavor to find greater alignment between her proclaimed and practiced values first at home, and now in the workplace. As a periodic industry writer on the subject, her article on material transparency in lighting and the quest for sustainable products was featured as the Oct 2021 cover story in LD+A Magazine. She’s taught lighting design for the RISD CE program, was named one of Lighting Magazine’s international 40u40 in 2020, and currently co-chairs the IES Sustainable Lighting Committee. Melissa is a frequent speaker at national conferences and her influence can be followed on stage, film, magazine, podcast, and TV.

Transform the Night with Light

Time: 5:30pm

Presenter: Leni Schwendinger

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