WithIt honors six women during annual dinner
Staff Staff -- Furniture Today, August 25, 2011
The awards recognize the leadership achievements of exemplary individuals or companies that embody the mission of WithIt, a women's leadership development network serving the home and furnishings industries.
Aminy Audi, CEO and president of high-end manufacturer L.& J.G. Stickley, was presented the 2011 Legacy Award, which celebrates her significant lifetime contributions to the industry.
"As I accept this award, I want to acknowledge my late husband, Alfred, with whom I was fortunate enough to share the journey of revitalizing the Stickley brand," Audi said. "For the Stickley team, no task is impossible, no deadline is unattainable and no mountain is too high to climb."
Connie Lineberry, vice president of marketing for Sandow Media Retail Group, publisher of Furniture/Today and its sister publications, earned the inaugural Leadership Award, an honor WithIt created to recognize the contributions of a woman over age 40 who has demonstrated successful leadership in her company, WithIt and/or the industry.
"At Furniture/Today, Connie created a Marketing Services Department that today serves more than 450 companies in the furniture, accessory, textiles and gift industries," said Tom Mitchell, president of home furnishings for International Market Centers, who presented the award to Lineberry. "She has become known as the go-to person in the industry for the ‘next big idea.'"
Lauren West, director of communications for upholstery manufacturer Natuzzi Americas, earned the 2011 Education Award honor for her efforts to educate associates, retailers and consumers about home furnishings. Brad Cates, senior vice president for Natuzzi Group, presented the award.
"Lauren's educational experience in this industry is wide ranging," Cates said. "She developed and implemented our company's retail sales training system, which has trained 2,400 associates to date. Plus, she works with students during markets and educates the consumer through social and online media channels."
Peggy Burns, co-owner and "queen bee" of Acton, Mass.-based retailer Circle Furniture, was awarded the 2011 Mentoring Award. It's an honor that recognizes an executive who has fostered advocacy, development or promotion of women in his or her company. Burns' husband and business partner, Richard Tubman, presented the award.
"Peggy puts her heart and soul into everything she does, and this is most apparent in the way she helps others to reach their potential," Tubman said.
The 2011 Future Leader Award was presented to Tammy Nagem, chief operating officer of the High Point Market Authority. Kevin O'Connor of Samson Marketing presented Nagem's award.
"Tammy has made significant operational improvements so that the logistics of the show are effortless, and the concentration is placed on the real focus of the High Point Market - new home furnishings products and trends," O'Connor said. "I doubt if there are many in this industry who work with as many diverse constituencies in performing their job as Tammy does: city and state officials, civic groups, service providers, manufacturers, building owners, retailers and more."
WithIt President Mary Leigh Howell of Howell Communications presented the 2011 President's Award to WithIt Regional Vice President Kassie Smith of Kassie Smith Lifestyle Group.
"In a region where WithIt had little support and virtually no membership base, Kassie has developed sponsors and supporters, and built a strong member network that spans the home furnishings, design and hospitality industries," Howell said.
WithIt also announced the winner of the 2011 Jena and Stephen Hall Scholarship, which awards $5,000 to a student to cover tuition expense. Breanne Lutz, who studies interior design at Meredith College, earned the honor.
Sponsors of the 2011 WOW Awards included the High Point Market Authority, International Market Centers, Vaughn-Bassett Furniture, Las Vegas Design Center, Valdese Weavers, Cohen Tauber Spievack & Wagner P.C., Info Retail, L.& J.G. Stickley, Hutchinson Allgood Printing, C.R. Laine Furniture, Rowe Fine Furniture, Furniture/Today and Natuzzi Americas.
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