This month's WISE Member Spotlight shines on a woman accustomed to shining light on others, Northeast Ohio native Maureen Patterson, owner and lead designer at Solus Lighting Ltd.
And the WISE Spotlight is not the first illumination of Patterson this year. Recently, she was chosen as a 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year Champion. Presented by Enterprising Women magazine, the award recognized the outstanding accomplishments of women entrepreneurs worldwide.
A Northeast Ohio native (she grew up in Lakewood and now resides in Cleveland's West Park neighborhood with her dog Molly), Patterson founded Solus Lighting Ltd in 2011 with Beth Reyes. Solus Lighting is an internationally award-winning company dedicated exclusively to lighting and production, specializing in lighting design and technical service for corporate and non-profit events.
"My passion for lighting began back in high school working on the lighting crew for shows at St. Edward High School," said Patterson, a Magnificat High School and Baldwin Wallace University graduate. "I held several freelance positions throughout the city to help pay for college at BW that helped me hone my craft."
Prior to becoming an award-winning entrepreneur, Patterson worked as a lighting technician at MGM Grand Las Vegas, an assistant lighting designer for the Cleveland Opera and a production electrician for the Cleveland Play House as well as serving as the resident lighting designer for the Cleveland Play House Children's Series and MFA program at Case Western Reserve University. She also worked for a local vendor, Vincent Lighting Systems, as production manager.
Patterson joined WISE for the networking after the group was recommended to her by a friend. "After one event, I had met so many interesting and talented women, I knew it would be a great group to be involved with," she noted.
Her favorite part about WISE is the diversity of the members. "There are so many different disciplines that tie into "Sports" and "Events", and getting to know how these individuals all fit together is inspiring."
Her advice to new members is to get involved but she takes it a step further. "Attending events is great, but joining a committee is better," pointing out that there are committees that can fit any schedule. "You truly get out what you put into the organization, and joining a committee will help build your network and strengthen your relationships with other members."
And being a native of the area, it's not surprising that Patterson didn't specifically narrow down her favorite things about Cleveland when asked. But she summed up her feelings nicely with this: "There are so many things to love about Cleveland - the food, the bars, the friendly neighborhoods. It's just a comfortable place to be!"