My PLDC ‘Challenge’ Speaking competition

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Just one week before the Professional Lighting Design Convention (PLDC) 2019 in Rotterdam and my 45 minute presentation in front of my lighting friends and colleagues, I would like to share with you some thoughts and personal reflections.

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One of the most beautiful moments of my experience in Berlin- Thank you guys! Are you ready for the next round?

To be a member of this growing lighting community is very rewarding and inspiring because we all have something valuable to share and bring to the discussion. No matter what the level of your experience or studies or your nationality, when we all come together with one main goal – to raise awareness about the importance of light –  we push forward as a community, the future of our profession, and have this great power for innovation, change and expansion

I feel tremendous gratitude towards all the people who are next to me, on this amazing lighting journey, encouraging me and inspiring me to push further and share my message as a young professional. 

A loooong time ago, more than a year now, I received an email from my professor at KTH, Rodrigo Muro, suggesting to participate in the Challenge speaking competition, organised by via-verlag PLDC. But what is this Challenge?? According to the organisers, the challenge ‘’has the aim of activating more students and young professionals to learn from each other and from experienced professionals and, together with their schools, become a more accepted part of the lighting design community. The competition comprises four rounds, Round IV taking place at PLDC, when the final best six will present their papers.”

So, just to take you briefly through this journey:

Round I: the first step was to submit an elevator pitch for three minutes talking about my Masters thesis: ”Light As A Medium To Enhance Communication In Urban Spaces.” You can find the pitch here, I still remember the day when I videoed it: I had just moved to London and started working at Urban Electric. I spent the Saturday at the office recording my pitch: a funny experience to do this by myself and talk alone to the camera. Anyway…today I feel much more comfortable speaking alone in front of the camera, so here, I want to say thank you to the ‘Challenge’ for pushing me out of my comfort zone. 

Round II: some months later, I received an email saying that I was shortlisted together with 17 others, to participate in the semi finals in Berlin in early 2019. For this round, every one of us 18 winners were assigned a coach: six internationally renowned lighting designers, who selected the best 18 elevator pitches for this semi final in Berlin. Each coach was assigned to three young designers. This year coaches were: Susanna Antico, Keith Bradshaw, Deborah Burnett, Rune Nielsen, Jim Collin and Jonathan Rush. I was assigned to be coached by Rune Nielsen from Denmark, together with a team of two other inspiring young ladies, Andrea El Osta and Marta Casarin.

My_team

Round III: the next step was to get ready together with our coach, for the semi-final in Berlin, to present a 20 minute presentation in front of the other winners from Round II, the other coaches, viaEvents team and other people as part of a warm up gathering for the Professional Lighting Design Convention (PLDC 2019). I had some very productive Skype sessions with Rune, who gave me very good pointers to improve the structure of my presentation and help me get ready for Berlin. 

Allthe participants pldc

It was a GREAT experience to meet so many young aspiring people all together sharing the same passion. It was the first time that I met my coach and the other coaches as well. So many inspiring and innovative topics and ideas. I was so impressed by the professionalism and excitement of every single person involved. I can say that I got some good worldwide friends from this experience and I guess this is part of the bonus of the programme as well. 

Berlin presentation

At this stage, it’s worth to say a big thank you to Via Verlag for giving us this opportunity to come together and meet other people, present our topics on stage and get valuable feedback from professionals on the field. A big thank you goes to the sponsor of the Challenge, Erco

It is very important to realise how crucial it is for all of us, as young designers coming out of university into the professional world, to have opportunities like this one. – especially when we love public speaking as I do :))) 

PLDC The Challenge

One of the most unforgettable moments of the Challenge journey was in the Berlin semi-finals, when the coaches (after one hour of group review) went on stage to announce their winner, who they will take to the finals with them. I was very impressed with my teammates Andrea’s and Marta’s work and excitement, and I am sure it was very hard for our coach to choose between the three of us. 

I feel deeply grateful to Rune for giving me this opportunity to work on the project, develop it further, and present it next week in front of my lighting friends and colleagues, in a 45 minutes presentation. 

Finalists PLDC competition

Finally, I would like to wish good luck to the other five finalists, Ece Ozerdem, Jennifer Tomkins, Jessica Collier, Valeria Bencardino and Svetlana Degtiareva. I love all of your work and projects and it has been an honor to participate in this speaking competition with all of you. 

So, for whoever is planning to attend the Professional Lighting Design Convention in Rotterdam, my presentation is on Saturday at 12:00. I promise you will enjoy those 45 minutes, as much as I do. Can’t wait to see my worldwide lighting family there! 

Very best,
Katia


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