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Karen McNeill Harris named CEO of Furniture Hall of Fame group

Foundation works to preserve industry's history
 Karen McNeill HarrisKaren McNeill Harris

HIGH POINT — Karen McNeill Harris has been promoted to CEO of the American Furniture Hall of Fame Foundation. She had been the group's executive director since March 2007.

"Karen has been instrumental in building the Hall of Fame Foundation into more than just an annual banquet, but a respected organization on a new course to preserve our stories and history," said Don Belgrad, president of the Foundation. "She and her team have led us through a rebranding, infused new energy into the Hall of Fame, and guided us back to our mission to focus on the history of our industry as we preserve our past to fuel our future."

Since 2007, the foundation has repositioned its programs with a broader focus on preserving the industry's history and memorabilia.

Under her leadership, the organization has launched Phase 1 of a new Web site, with plans to make this a one-stop shop for industry information; added celebrity hosts to the annual Induction Banquet; and redesigned the Affie award given to all inducted members into the American Furniture Hall of Fame. This summer, the Foundation will launch a cataloging system of its memorabilia and will host a call for books and memorabilia from the industry.

With the help of a grant from the Furniture Foundation, the group has digitized 31 previously recorded oral interviews so the words of the industry's leaders are not lost. These will be available in bound books later this year.

The Foundation is collaborating with other industry organizations to save the history, be a resource to colleges and universities and promote a greater understanding of the U.S. furniture industry.

McNeill Harris also is CEO of McNeill Communications Group, a communications, public relations and marketing agency that specializes in home furnishings.

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