WithIt celebrates 15th anniversary at Las Vegas Market
Cindy Hodnett -- Furniture Today, July 30, 2012
LAS VEGAS - WithIt celebrated the organization's 15th anniversary and expansion to the West Coast on Saturday with an opulent gala at the Parisian Palace in Las Vegas. Founded by Jena Hall, Margaret Traub and Kimberley Wray in 1997, WithIt is a professional association for women in the home furnishings industry.
Dana Andrew, Beth Schwartz and Andrea Thomas were honored for their contributions to the home furnishings industry at the gala. Andrew is vice president of global marketing and communications for the International Market Centers. Schwartz is editor in chief of Luxury Las Vegas magazine. Thomas is scholarship director on the international board of NEWH, the hospitality industry network.
"WithIt has a presence on the West Coast now!" said Kassie Smith, WithIt Las Vegas/West region vice president and president of Kassie Smith Lifestyle Group. "WithIt has been here 15 years, and I want to recognize one of the founders, Jenna Hall, who started all of this."
"WithIt didn't just happen," said Hall. "It was founded out of desperation to find women a way to network in an industry dominated by men."
The awards gala included wine tastings and food pairings by celebrity chefs, a champagne VIP room with casino gaming and a silent auction fundraiser. Auction items included donations from home furnishings sources including Rowe and Four Hands.
"We started out to support women who have a connection to the hospitality industry, but we have come so much farther than that," Thomas said. "We now have 18 chapters throughout the United States and in the U.K."
WithIt President Julia Rosien congratulated Kassie Smith, the organizer of the gala and WithIt vice president of the Las Vegas/West region.
"This is the person who is single-handedly responsible for what we have experienced here tonight," Rosien said. "It has been an amazing evening."
She added that the WithIt mission of empowering women in the home furnishings industry continues to be important.
"I was fired the day after I told my employer I was pregnant," Rosien said, referencing an earlier experience. "The more water we pour into the harbor of women, the more we all rise."
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