WithIt, the professional women’s leadership development network for the home and furnishings industry, has announced the nominee finalists for their annual WOW awards.
The annual awards recognize business leaders nominated by their peers who have contributed to the success of the home and furnishings industry, and have demonstrated significant impact on their companies and the industry.
As the highest award bestowed by WithIt, The Legacy Award honors a woman whose entire career made significant lifetime contributions to the home and furnishings industries. This year’s honoree, Ellen Gefen, is president of Gefen Companies, a marketing company and media production studio in High Point, N.C.
For 30 years, Ellen and her husband Mark Caudill produced a television show “Home Fashion Report” where Ellen interviewed top manufacturers and celebrities in the industry highlighting trends and news surrounding the High Point Market. Designers Bob Mackie, Alexander Julian, Bill Blass, Jacquelyn Smith and Oscar de la Renta are a few of the premiere designers who have shared their thoughts and insights with Ellen.
Ellen’s understanding and insight into design, fashion, trend and the business of home and furnishings has educated individuals at the High Point Market and around the world. As an industry leader, she has appeared on the CBS Morning News and on NBC’s Weekend Today due to her coverage of the International Home Furnishings Market. Her achievements have garnered her a number of awards including the WithIt WOW Award for Education, the IFDA Luminary Award, and recognition by the Triad Business Journal as a top Women in Business.
Ellen has volunteered with and served on the board of multiple organizations including ARC, United Way, IFDA, WITHIT and the Furniture Discovery Center and currently holds positions on the Anti-Defamation League National Home Furnishings Industry Board; the executive committee of the City of Hope International Home Furnishings Industry Group; and the Greensboro Jewish Federation business division.
In addition to honoring Gefen, WithIt will present WOW Awards in additional categories including Education, Mentoring, Leadership and Future Leader.
The Leadership Award recognizes the contributions of a woman who has demonstrated successful leadership in her company, WithIt and the home furnishings industry. Leadership Award nominees are: Lois Del Negro, Global Views; Susan Thayer, Rabbit Creek LLC; Kathy Wall, The Media Matters.
The Future Leader Award honors a young woman in the industry who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and the potential to become an industry leader. The 2019 nominees are Lorelei Colbert, Thomasville & Co.; Taryn Kabei, C. S. Wo & Sons Ltd.; and Julie Messner, International Market Centers.
The Mentoring Award honors a company or individual for their efforts to foster advocacy, development and promotion of women in their company and the industry. This year’s Mentoring Award nominees are Christi Barbour and Christi Spangle, Barbour Spangle Design; Chris Cooley, Michael Alan Home Furnishings; Katherine and Susan Hable, Hable Construction.
The Education Award recognizes an individual who has put forth significant effort to educate associates, retailers and consumers about home and furnishings. This year’s nominees are Sam and Kacie Malouf, Malouf and the Malouf Foundation; and David Perry, Furniture Today.
A beautiful diamonds and chandeliers-themed décor for the evening is being designed by Kimberley JOI McDonald, owner of Designing JOI based in Las Vegas. McDonald is the 2019 President of IDS. The WOW Awards is produced in partnership with vision sponsor International Market Centers and event sponsor Moso Graphics.
Each of the nominee finalists, as well as the recipient of the Legacy Award, will be honored at the WOW Awards gala, to be held Jan. 27, 2019 in the Worldview Room at Las Vegas World Market Center. Tickets can be purchased at www.withit.org. Individual tickets are $160; a table of 10 is $1500.