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Meet Gwen Grossman of Gwen Grossman Lighting Design in Jackson Blvd

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gwen Grossman.

Gwen, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My love of lighting began when I was just a freshman in high school and was exposed to the backstage crew of various theatrical drama and musical productions. I immediately saw how light was a paintbrush and I could truly be an artist working with a very unique tool. I knew I would always have the “lightning bug”, so I went on to study theatrical lighting design at the University of Cincinnati – CCM profession training program for my BFA.

After undergrad, I worked for several years in theatrical design in Chicago prior to moving to San Diego to study for my MFA at the UCSD. There I studied with Tony-winning designer Chris Perry and the professional staff of the LaJolla Playhouse, which was connected to our school program. I was able to build a strong confidence level for my artistry and even worked professionally with a local dance company as well as the theaters and Opera house. I then moved to NYC to work with the Lincoln Center for the summer festival after which my transition into architectural lighting design began. A few lighting design companies gave me a start and then 9/11 happened and the company I was working for closed its doors. I was fortunate to get hired during that time at Focus Lighting, one of the top firms in NYC and proceed to learn my craft from a serious of amazing mentors. Many years in NYC went by and I started to get the itch to come back home to Chicago. I moved back home and landed at an architectural lighting firm in Chicago, where I grew to become a senior designer on some significant projects and gain valuable experience and strong relationships with local architects.

Then the recession hit and I found myself without a position at an extremely pivotal point in my life … was I going to take a big leap of faith and go off on my own? Four short days later, Gwen Grossman Lighting Design (GGLD) was born and I began to hustle! From that day forward, I have pored my heart and soul into growing a thriving architectural lighting design firm that will celebrate its 8th year in business next spring. We are proud to be a WBE firm and have many successful projects in corporate, institutional, and hospitality.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Getting started on building a solid client list of architects, interior designers, and developers that were willing to meet and eventually hire my firm was definitely the hardest part. It takes years to build this foundation and have a reliable base to count on for repeat business.

The second hardest challenge was learning to become a strong businesswoman. I was trained and worked as a designer in my field for years, but never paid enough attention to the business side of things. Suddenly, I had to learn to be the rainmaker for myself and eventually my employees. I have had to work hard at learning the craft of being a salesperson, boss, mentor and still maintain my design career. A balance that I have grown to love!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Gwen Grossman Lighting Design (GGLD) story. Tell us more about the business.
Gwen Grossman Lighting Design (GGLD) is an architectural lighting design firm for commercial projects nationwide. We have successfully collaborated on numerous projects ranging from; corporate interiors, hotels, hospitality, education, religious spaces, exterior landscaping & facades. Our clients range from architects, interior designers, developers, and engineers.

GGLD strives for seamless collaboration, integration, and innovative design with each challenge. Our team provides unique solutions and creativity to bring a balanced composition, harmony, and drama to the architecture.

The client’s needs always come first as we explore the culture of the environment that they desire to work, learn, or live in. We believe that great lighting is crucial to the human experience; it can bring a sense of calmness or liveliness to any environment. It can also have a profound effect on people’s health, productivity, and mood.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I am not sure about “luck” .. I think we create our own opportunities and destinies through hard work and dedication. It is a choice each day to keep on keeping on and make the very best decisions we can with what the universe has given us. Luck can be thrown our way, but if you look behind the source of it, I believe it is persistence, diligence, enthusiasm and a passion for your craft that breeds success.

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