The American Lighting Association’s (ALA) Women in Lighting (WIL) Committee recently announced the 2022 recipient of the Women in Lighting Leadership Award (WILLA) is Kellee Hollenback Hammond, Vice President of Sales at Varaluz. The award will be presented during Lightovation in Dallas at the Women in Lighting (WIL) reception, 4:30pm on Wed., June 22, in the ALA’s pop-up lounge on the Dallas Market Center Trade Mart’s fourth floor atrium.
The WILLA recognizes one woman annually for her role in at least two of the following activities within the past two years:
- Achievement/leadership in the lighting industry
- Support of ALA
- Mentoring of other women in the industry
- Devotion to community through philanthropy, volunteer work or outstanding active support/participation.
The recipient must be a member of ALA, nominated by an ALA member, and voted upon by the WIL Committee.
Mentorship and support of other women in the industry have always been hallmarks of Hollenback Hammond’s career in lighting. Those personal initiatives became more formalized when she became the first co-chair for ALA’s new Women in Lighting Committee in 2017. Attendees at ALA’s first Women in Lighting reception at the Vancouver Conference that year might recall Hollenback Hammond announcing the group’s ambitious plans at the event, which she would see realized in the form of other networking opportunities during both Lightovation shows; dedicated Conference speakers and commemorative T-shirts for Women in Lighting; a popular Mentor Matching program; charitable efforts supporting Attitudes and Attire, and the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance; new pathways for women to get involved in ALA and gain leadership within the organization; and the establishment of the very award she will herself receive in June.
“Women in Lighting is here today because of Kellee Hollenback Hammond,” says Colleen Visage, Vice President of Product Management for Progress Lighting and co-chair of ALA’s WIL Committee. “Kellee was the catalyst that pushed the creation and organization of the WIL Committee forward and she brought other exceptional women from the lighting industry with her. Her enthusiastic ‘we can do this’ was like a magnet. Without Kellee’s tenacity and commitment, WIL would not be where it is today, making positive impacts for all in the lighting industry. On behalf of WIL, we thank her and honor her with her well-deserved 2022 Women in Lighting Leadership Award.”
In addition to the WIL Committee – where Hollenback Hammond continues to serve after stepping down as co-chair in 2021 – she has served on ALA’s Conference Committee and has also served on the Advisory Board for ART – The Creative Home Furnishings Network.
“Kellee is an exceptional thinker and leader, who is full of energy and passion,” said ALA President and CEO Eric Jacobson. “She has always strived to make the lighting industry a better place to work and is very deserving of the ALA Women in Lighting Leadership Award.”
Hollenback Hammond started her lighting career as a regional sales manager for Fine Art Lamps, before joining Savoy House in 2002 as sales manager. She is most closely associated with the Hudson Valley Lighting Group, spending more than a decade in sales management and executive roles. In August 2021, Hollenback Hammond joined Varaluz as vice president of sales.
“Kellee’s dedication to all women in lighting is unparalleled and reaches all the way back to the start of her career,” says Ron Henderson, president of Varaluz. “From her formative days at Savoy House and Fine Art Lamps through today, she has shared her knowledge, courage, training, and inspiration with women she has worked with, women in ART, women in ALA, and the Women in Lighting Committee. She has tirelessly volunteered and worked to better all women in our industry and that clearly makes her the leader that she is. Kellee, may you have many more years creating even more success with women in all walks of life, but especially in lighting!”
Among those inspired by Hollenback Hammond has been ARTS award-winning Florida sales representative Martha Graham of Martha Graham and Associates. Graham has represented brands for Hollenback Hammond and served with her on ALA’s WIL Committee. Graham says, “Kellee is a passionate lighting professional. She loves to bring her skills of merchandising and marketing to the sales representatives she manages and to customers’ stores. As a sales manager, Kellee’s love for life and lighting have always made traveling with her fun and easy. I love that she has been involved with her son as a Boy Scout Troop leader and many other volunteer efforts in his life. She is an outstanding role model for Women in Lighting.”
Past recipients of the WILLA include Cathy Choi, president of Bulbrite; Jilla Farzan, executive vice president and founder of Nora Lighting; and Norma Cooper, founder of Lighting Etc. Nominations for the WILLA are accepted year-round at LightingWomen.com. Anyone interested in learning more and getting involved is encouraged to join the Women in Lighting Facebook Group.