2020 Virtual Symposium


 View ALA's library of recorded sessions from the 2020 Virtual Symposium. Hear from leading experts in the fields of retail, marketing, economics and all things lighting through virtual presentations and live question-and-answer sessions covering the topics you need to know to succeed in today's business climate.

If you attended the symposium, simply log in on this page to view all the recorded session links.

If you did not attend, but would still like to view the recorded sessions and corresponding question-and-answer sections, click the link below. You can purchase a package to access all twelve courses or individual sessions.




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1 - 2:15 P.M., CST

Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor

Lower footfall. More promotional pricing. Lower margins. Have you been feeling COVID-19 is happening to you? What if you looked at it as something that was happening for you? The crisis shows weaknesses but points the way to strengths. In this session, Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor, will take you through five actionable ways you can boost your retail sales right away regarding social media, text messaging, selling, and customer service.

1 - 2:15 P.M., CST

Mark Lien, Industry Relationship Manager, Illuminating Engineering Society

Lighting professionals have survived the revolution but not without injuries. LEDs are the prominent light source and traditional sources are disappearing. We shifted from an electrical to an electronics industry, and learned new knowledge and skills while adapting to the new technologies. We transitioned through the energy crisis by exponentially increasing our lamp and luminaire efficiencies. The changes continue and the lighting community is now faced with integrating LEDs into the electrical infrastructure of our built environments while we still wrestle with how light impacts health and horticulture. Industries previously peripheral to lighting seek to usurp our achievements. A dangerous and tragic pandemic has affected all segments of our community. Concurrently, globalization continues to influence our industry. What do we face in our near future and what will residential lighting look like in the next decades? Knowing where we are headed enables us to prepare. Please join us as we report on the future of lighting.  

2:30 - 3:45 P.M., CST

Gerry Lynch, Owner, Wolfers Lighting/System 7
Jeff Spencer, Vice President, Residential Lighting, Acuity Brands Lighting
Michael Smith, Vice President, Residential Sales, Lutron Electronics 
Paul Fleetwood, Home Integration Specialist, One Source Lighting

Peter Romaniello, IALD, Owner, Conceptual Lighting, LLC

As lighting fixtures become more complex, and the integrated home is more commonplace than a luxury, there are great opportunities as well as a number of potential pitfalls. Selling technology is one thing, but how do you handle the programming and service components of that sale that are expected by your customers? The reality is that there are converging aspects of the residential lighting industry…AV integrators are designing and selling lighting, and lighting showrooms are selling integrated lighting and control systems.  
The panel will discuss how connected products are being incorporated into their growth strategies and how they are utilizing unique partnerships to create sales opportunities.

2:30 - 3:45 P.M., CST

Danny Kim, PhD, Director of People & Culture, Raindrop Marketing Agency

Have you ever considered what elements make up your company’s culture? How does your culture support your teams and organization to thrive in times of uncertainty? As the director of people and culture at a people-first branding and advertising agency, Dr. Danny Kim will explore the power of culture and some key action steps leaders can take to foster a thriving workplace. 



Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Welcome Party in The Echo virtual world! 


Recorded September 2020

1 - 2:15 P.M., CST

Bernard Baumohl, Chief Global Economist, THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK GROUP

In this session, Bernard will answer important questions such as: How will COVID-19 permanently change the economic and business landscape? What impact will the November presidential election have on the economy in 2021 and 2022? What are the growth forecasts for the economy? What is the outlook for consumer and business spending, jobs, inflation, interest rates, trade, and the dollar? What are the biggest economic and geopolitical threats ahead - and what actions can companies take to protect against such shocks?

1 - 2:15 P.M., CST

Terry McGowan, FIES, LC, Director of Engineering & Technology, ALA

Ultraviolet light kills germs – including the COVID-19 virus, but it must be used with care to be safe and effective. We will discuss the way to do that and the products that work, including some new residential product opportunities. 

2:30 - 3:45 P.M., CST

Lisa McDennon, Owner, Lisa McDennon Design & NUANCE Home Boutique
Bob Mills, Store Manager & Product Development Manager, Lighting Inc.
Joe Rey-Barreau, AIA, IES, ALA Education Consultant & Assistant Professor in the School of Interior Design, University of Kentucky

Moderator: Tim Stumm, Creative Director, Z-Lite

If you aren’t working with designers, you’re missing out on a key opportunity to expand your business. During this panel, you’ll hear both the designer and showroom perspective on what builds strong relationships between the two. We will discuss how to identify the best designers to fit with your specific showroom, why designers choose to work with certain showrooms over others, and how you can provide exactly what designers are looking for in long-term showroom partners. This interactive panel will answer your questions and leave you with easy-to-follow steps you can take to grow your showroom business by working with designers. 

2:30 - 3:45 P.M., CST

Peter Romaniello, IALD,  Owner, Conceptual Lighting, LLC

Evaluating fixtures for your customers and clients should always be done through an objective approach, not a subjective approach. Being objective allows you to help customers make educated decisions and helps you to justify fixtures that might be more expensive, but the right solution. Color, dimming, distribution and glare control are the “big four” items that are used in this objective evaluation process. These features can be explained in ways that anyone can understand and are the typical characteristics people complain about if they are not correct for the space and application. This discussion will address how the “big four” can be used to evaluate all fixture types…both decorative and architectural.

The event's networking groups are now closed. However, we are still holding networking groups for interested showroom and rep members. Please email Jack@ALALighting.com to sign up to participate in a future networking group.


1 - 2:15 P.M., CST

Crystal Vilkaitis, Owner, Crystal Media

Amidst this ever-evolving, “new norm” environment, retailers are still out there crushing sales. From the best social selling tips to curbside pickup and delivery options, to effective video must-do’s, to creating an e-commerce store overnight (yes, as in, less than 24 hours), this session will inspire with retailer successes and offer creative solutions to ensure the right adaptations for your business. Plus, gain trusted insight on new resources and selling avenues to increase your store visibility and stay connected with your valued customers. Get inspired by other retailers and learn:

  • What social selling is and the different ways to sell through
  • Why video is a must-use tool with video best practices
  • The fastest ways to offering new digital sales channels

1 - 2:15 P.M., CST

Peter Romaniello, IALD, Conceptual Lighting, LLC

As a result of recent events in our country, lighting for home office spaces has become increasingly important. More and more people are carving out spaces to work at home, and in many cases, the lighting is relatively bad based on the existing conditions. There are so many things to consider, such as:

  • Daylighting in relation to desk and furniture placement
  • Color of light sources and the potential importance of tunable white lighting
  • Glare control 
  • Amount of light
  • Effects of lighting on quality of video meetings

During this session, we will discuss solutions for rooms that have daylight (windows and skylights) and rooms that have no direct access to daylight. There are both simple and more complex solutions for both types of spaces that will help both you and your customers.

2:30 - 3:45 P.M., CST

Terry McGowan, FIES, LC, Director of Engineering & Technology, ALA

This session will examine the five technologies that are set to define the growth of products and services in the residential lighting market over the next few years. Three of them are new. All are changing the way lighting is done now. This is the time to understand how they will fit and affect your business.

2:30 - 3:45 P.M., CST

Danny Kim, PhD, Director of People & Culture, Raindrop Marketing Agency

Leadership expert and executive coach Marshall Goldsmith wrote “What got you here won’t get you there.” And in a world where change seems to be the only constant, leadership has never been more important in creating a successful business. But what are some of the hurdles leaders face when it comes to integrating a new virtual workforce? What are some of the inherent challenges and opportunities in leveraging a multi-generational company? Organizational psychologist Dr. Danny Kim's session will answer those questions and explore how you can harness the power of our new virtual multi-generational workplace. 

The event's networking groups are now closed. However, we are still holding networking groups for interested showroom and rep members. Please email Jack@ALALighting.com to sign up to participate in a future networking group.





Thank you to the following companies who donated their Drive Shack event fees to support the ALA Virtual Symposium. 

Acuity Brands Lighting
Alora Lighting
Big Ass Fans
Bulbrite Industries, Inc.
Casablanca-Hunter Fan Company
Hinkley Lighting
Justice Design Group
Kichler Lighting
Kuzco Lighting
Progress Lighting
Quoizel, Inc.
SATCO Products, Inc.
Savoy House Lighting
Visual Comfort Group
Westinghouse Lighting





Bernard Baumohl, The Economic Outlook Group
Bernard began his career as an analyst with the Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank specializing in international affairs and national security. He was also an award-winning economics reporter who covered the White House, Federal Reserve and Wall Street for TIME magazine. In addition to his current post as chief global economist, Bernard is on the faculty of the New York Institute of Finance, where he conducts seminars on how forward-looking economic indicators can help business leaders better foresee turning points in the economy, and a member of the monthly Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. His projections on the economy and geopolitical trends are frequently cited in the New York Times, Washington Post, Business Week, Financial Times, and on National Public Radio. 


Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor
Bob is a champion of brick-and-mortar retailers across industries, providing and developing innovative ideas and tactics to help them succeed in the era of fierce online competition. Bob is an internationally recognized business strategist, customer service expert, sales coach, marketing mentor, author of three books, and motivational business speaker dedicated to his goal of helping brick-and-mortar retailers. 



Danny Kim,  PhD, Director of People & Culture, Raindrop Marketing Agency
Danny is a skilled facilitator who creates psychologically safe environments for individual thinking and group collaboration. Using the power of inquiry, he asks insightful questions at pivotal moments to help leaders gain clarity and take courageous action. As a coach, he supports leaders when the stakes are high and decisions are complex. As a storyteller and keynote speaker, Danny inspires movement and momentum. He began his career in organizational development in the non-profit sector providing leadership in the areas of recruitment, retention, and employee development for organization effectiveness. He holds a doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. 



Mark Lien LC, CLEP, CLMC, HBDP, LEED BD&C, Industry Relationship Manager, Illuminating Engineering Society
Mark has designed lighting systems for a wide range of applications and provides lighting education throughout the world. He has served on committees and boards for such groups as the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), National Electrical Manufacturers Association and the National Lighting Bureau. As a columnist for Lighting Design and Application Magazine, Mark writes about the forces of change in the lighting industry.



Terry McGowan, FIES, LC, Director of Engineering & Technology, ALA
Terry has more than 45 years of experience working in the technical aspects of the lighting industry. He serves as a key contact and point of knowledge for the industry and the media on various technical and regulatory matters impacting lighting.



Peter Romaniello, FIES, LC, Conceptual Lighting, LLC
Peter founded his award-winning lighting design company, Conceptual Lighting, in 1998. He has designed lighting systems for more than 2,000 residences, along with many restaurants, retail spaces, health care facilities, and houses of worship. He has served as a regional vice president and member of the Board of Directors for the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). Peter has taught many seminars over the years for organizations including ALA, AIA, ASID, NKBA, and IES, and has been an adjunct professor at University of New Haven and Fairfield University.


Crystal Vilkaitis, Owner, Crystal Media
Most retailers are pros at running a business, but they struggle with social media. Most social media experts can quiz you on Facebook, but they are lost when it comes to retail. Crystal offers the best of both worlds. She is the go-to source for social media marketing in the retail industry, having spoken to thousands of retailers on making the most of their social presence, email marketing, and mobile marketing tactics. Crystal has been in the social media industry for a decade and has taken her educational seminars across the globe.