WithIt—the not-for-profit that has led the way for women in the home furnishings industry for the past 25 years—is tackling a fitting topic at its bi-annual Education Breakfast this spring: Leadership.
In keeping with its mission to develop and support female leaders in the home and furnishings industries, the organization has assembled a stellar group of female leaders to explore what it means to motivate and inspire in a time of unprecedented change. Moderated by Ginna Christensen, a certified business and leadership coach focused on transforming creatives, small business owners, managers and teams into standouts in their fields, the panel—”Lessons in Leadership: A New Generation”—is set for Monday, April 4, 2022, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the Green Wing Ballroom on the 11th floor of the IHFC. The special event is presented by Myriad Software.
Along with Christensen, who launched her coaching and consulting firm GC Collaborative in 2017 to specialize in supporting overwhelmed creative professionals, the panel features Chaya Krinsky, co-founder, TOV Furniture, Meganne Wecker, president of Skyline Furniture, Christi Barbour, president of Barbour Spangle Design and Christina Pennant, creative director of Culp Home Fashions.
With takeaways for women at all stages of their careers, the panelists are each leaders in their categories and represent WithIt’s diverse membership which spans the entire home furnishings industry. Pennant, for example, represents the unique view of a supplier as creative director for Culp’s mattress fabric division. She began her professional journey in Great Britain and has continued its evolution over the past 20-plus years as a successful designer, manager, and director across the fashion apparel industry into interiors and home furnishings. Her leadership style and creative license has evolved from an education in textiles and technical innovation and matured through experience managing multiple dimensions of design an understanding of its relationship to the end consumer. “I don’t make things pretty just for the sake of it,” she says.
As president and chief creative officer of Skyline Furniture Manufacturing, Meganne Wecker is a pioneer in fashion-forward furniture design with front-row access to consumer spending habits thanks to her long-standing relationships with big-name retailers. With her at the helm of Skyline, a family-owned wholesale furniture company and a trusted name in custom, direct-to-consumer manufacturing, sales have grown exponentially year after year. She launched Cloth & Company, Skyline’s sister brand to focus on fashion forward home décor in 2016. Boasting one of the industry’s most efficient, eco-conscious and inventory free business models, Cloth & Company uses digital design and state-of-the-art digital printing technology to produce custom products that are shipped to the consumer in three weeks—a “click-to-ship” timeframe unmatched in the business.
Chaya and Bruce Krinsky, founders of TOV Furniture, saw the lack of chic yet affordable furniture on the market and instantly knew that they were the right team to fill the gap. TOV’s female-focused message, paired with modern designs and jaw-dropping price points, turns fresh eyes and femininity on the furniture world. Over the past five years, TOV has become one of the fastest growing furniture brands in the U.S.
As the ultimate “market insider,” Christi Barbour, founder and partner of award-winning Barbour Spangle Design in High Point, N.C. brings more than two decades of multi-faceted residential and commercial design work to the design. Indeed, she and her team are the visionaries behind some of the most compelling showroom designs and visual merchandising displays at the major home furnishings markets, including High Point, Las Vegas, BDNY and AmericasMart Atlanta. She is the founder of the much-touted High Point Discovered blog highlighting the best the city has to offer, and she is among the newest members of the High Point Market Authority Board.
“The subject of leadership is important to me as a female business owner and as a mother to a daughter,” she says. “In this discussion, we’ll be sharing honest insights into our challenges and how we’ve overcome them, when we share that with others, we may be able to help them avoid some of the pitfalls that we encountered along our way. At the same time, I am thrilled to represent the designer’s perspective on this panel. I have the privilege of being in this industry, living in the city and being a part of the design trade so I see it from all facts, and this gives me an opportunity to really help other people see how to get the very best out of their market experience. And I want that for the city, for the design trade, and for our industry.”
The Education Breakfast is open to all High Point Market attendees. Tickets are $25 for members and $35 for non-members and include a full breakfast, program, and networking experience. Seating is limited and the event historically sells out. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit withit.org.
WithIt was formed in 1997 for women in the home and furnishings industries in order to support their multi-dimensional career paths. The non-profit network is based in North Carolina and supported by leading companies across the industry including their Vision and Platinum sponsors: International Market Centers, J.B. Hunt, Myriad Software and Stressless. WithIt’s purpose is to encourage and develop leadership, mentoring, education and networking opportunities for professional women in the home and furnishings industries.
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