2018 MENTORS IN DESIGN
Seeing the Light
In 2002, Josh Feinstein was teaching lighting design at New England School of Art
& Design at Suffolk University, and among his class was Julie Rose, then a graduate student in interior design.
It’s a pity his studio course recently was eliminated due to budget cuts
because, says Rose, “it inspired me to change my career to lighting design. Josh
hired me to work for him as my first full-time job out of grad school (and his first
employee). Now, 16 years later, I am his business partner.”
It seems to go that way with Feinstein. The people he mentors often become
lifelong friends, colleagues, and business associates, and interior design students
become lighting designers — a path similar to his own. When Feinstein was working
on a graduate degree in interior design at the University of Massachusetts Amherst,
his lighting professor told him he should work in lighting design.
“I said, ‘Naahh,’” he recalls with a laugh. “At the time, I saw lighting as just
one part of interior design. But I soon learned that it fulfills my design aspirations
while it also keeps me working in the scientific realm.”
Feinstein praises the mentoring he received from Bonnie Forbes, showroom
manager at Wolfers Lighting in Boston during the eight years he worked there
before founding Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting Inc. with partner Jeffrey
Sladen in 2001. “She was my boss, and she taught me how to be a person,” he says,
“how to manage people, how to be a good boss — all the things you need to know
that I did not learn in school.”
All the while, his lighting expertise grew.
Neubauer’s mentoring ways have created
a workplace where gratitude is reciprocal.
Architectural designer Ryan Austin says he
is grateful that Neubauer pushed him to take
the architect’s licensure exam and that “our
children’s photos are displayed in the office.
Every employee’s birthday is celebrated with
“Jill identifies each employee’s strengths
and finds the best ways to utilize them,” says
Maureen O’Sullivan, whom Neubauer origi-
nally hired for an administrative support job
but, identifying her talents, created a design
position for her that focuses on materials and
Even when there are no job openings,
Neubauer takes time to review and provide
feedback on applicants’ portfolios. Outside
the office, Neubauer “has been a consistent
and incredibly supportive mentor” as a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod
& the Islands, says Mikaela Toni, the organization’s support coordinator.
“We all strive to be engaged, learning,
collaborative,” says Neubauer. “Mentorship
supports this.” — william morgan C A I