“I don’t think there’s any replacement for being around encouraging, uplifting people”

RISE St. Louis member Lisa Reed founded her own lighting design firm, Envision Lighting Design, in 2011 after having worked in energy management, electrical engineering, and lighting design for nearly two decades. It had always been her dream to work on her own lighting design projects full-time, but she had been previously deterred from starting her own business due to the wide range of liabilities any independent business owner must assume. Plus, the timing just hadn’t been right, and she wanted to be a lighting designer—not a business owner.

“My husband thinks entrepreneurship is the absolute pinnacle of society, so he was constantly encouraging my to just start my own firm,” she says today, reflecting on her journey. “And I just kept telling him, ‘I don’t want to start my own business. I want to devote all of my energy towards lighting design and honing my craft.’” An opportunity to take on some consistent contract work gave her the courage to test the waters, and she made the choice to go out on her own with a combination of her own seed money and a loan, which she has since paid back in full.

“Without the support I got from my husband, my business wouldn’t exist,” says Lisa. It’s an observation that speaks to what members also find at RISE: a portal of support that gives ideas the space and time they need to transform. While there were challenges along the way, Lisa has found a good home in RISE to further grow her business. Since becoming a member she has garnered sufficient work to hire on two additional employees, and continues to attract the attention of exciting new clients, including Ballpark Village downtown and Drury Hotels.

“Those were big landmarks,” she says, which inspired her to keep moving forward. And since all of her employees work remotely, she was able to share the success with her fellow RISE members. “The other women got so excited when I shared with them that I’d landed those projects,” says Lisa. “And now, that’s the kind of work I expect to be doing.”

Lisa is one of the Founding Members of RISE St. Louis. When asked how becoming a RISE member has further changed her business, Lisa notes the positive impact of working in proximity to other similarly motivated, hard-working, and intelligent women with ambitious goals. It’s a notion that coincides with this month’s programming, organized around the year-end themes of Reflecting + Goal-Setting. “It’s like there’s magic dust in the vents or something,” she says, laughing.

Lisa even consulted with RISE founder and CEO Stacy Taubman as well as COO Kate Wiegmann to develop lighting for both the St. Louis and Denver locations, choosing cooler lighting temperatures which, according to medical studies, can help support productivity. The space was designed with many windows that bring in natural light, a creative complement to Lisa’s ideas for the interior and the color scheme of purple and silver. Ironically enough, she says that lighting design is actually at its most successful when inhabitants don’t notice it. Rather, what they’ll notice is a vibe and a feel, supported by additional decor and furnishings. “Lighting design really is a blend of art and science,” says Lisa.

And that vibe and feel are supported by the RISE community, too. Lisa’s experience is emblematic of what is seen at RISE every day. In reflecting on the community, Lisa says “I don’t think there’s any replacement for being around encouraging, uplifting people. And I do still work from home. But it’s nice to have the option to work in both places.”

Are you looking for the kind of supportive space that Lisa found at RISE? Interested in engaging in your own reflection and goal-setting? Fill out the form HERE to connect with us in St. Louis or Denver. We can’t wait to meet you!