Withit 2012

Women leading women

In 2012, I’ll accept the presidency of WithIt – Women in the Home and Furnishings Industries – an international organization dedicated to supporting and nurturing leadership in women. This past October I attended the High Point Furniture Market to meet some of our sponsors and thank them for their continued support of WithIt.

Withit.orgWith more than 12 million square feet of showroom space in High Point and a multitude of WithIt sponsors scattered throughout, my ambitions were far-reaching. Thankfully, the sponsors I did reach were welcoming and grateful for a visit. I was grateful for a chance to sit down.

While visiting the Norwalk Showroom, I discovered an eager group of men and women dedicated to a diverse marketplace. Their energy inspired me to shoot four short videos.

Dan White, President of Norwalk Furniture. Dan reminded me that believing in an ideal isn’t enough – we have to be the change we want to see in the world. More than half of his executive team is female and he was happy to tell me why.

Norwalk FurnitureCarrie Norris, Sales Manager for Norwalk Furniture is a new member to WithIt and she’s eager to explore how we can help her make more connections within the industry.

Peg Whitehurst, VP of Finance for Norwalk Furniture says WithIt has been instrumental in helping her come out of her shell and meet new people. In her position it can be difficult to meet her peers but WithIt offers the perfect mix of networking and skill building.

Reyna Moore, Director of Marketing for Norwalk Furniture and I have known each other for a few years, but it was nice to finally find time to sit down and chat. Smart, focused and incredibly dynamic woman – I’m sure Dan knows how lucky he is to have such incredible talent managing his brand.

I joined the home and furnishings industries in 2009, when as the Communications Director for Natura World. WithIt gave me the opportunity to connect and share with women who faced the same struggles I faced.

Why WithIt works

Withit 2011While gender parity is improving, women still face unique challenges in the workplace. There’s no denying men face many of those same issues, but the lack of women in C-level positions in many organizations suggest we have still have a long way to go.

WithIt works because it provides a training ground where women can learn with and from their peers. At the educational conference in August, WithIt brings successful, positive, encouraging women to tell their stories in seminars and keynotes. It provides roundtable discussions where women can collaborate in a safe environment. At regional events, Withit provides face-to-face networking that can help brainstorm challenges and celebrate successes.

And it’s online as well. WithIt is active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This year, we launched a “Women to Watch,” campaign that shone the spotlight on successful women in the industry. It allowed everyone to see some of the amazing ways women have contributed and given back in a medley of ways.

I’m excited and honored to be chosen to lead this organization in 2012. But I can’t do it without you and without your leadership. If you’re a woman in the home and furnishings industry, what do you need from me? What do you need from Withit?

Post a comment below and let’s start the conversation today. Next year is just around the corner and I’m eager to serve you in ways that we have yet to imagine.

Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn – I’m always on.

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