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From Home Furnishing Business

Karen McNeill to Receive WithIt Legacy Award

Karen McNeill, CEO of the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame, has been named 2018 winner of the WithIt Legacy Award, the highest award bestowed by WithIt, the professional development group for women in the home and furnishings industries.

McNeill will be honored at the group’s WOW Awards dinner on Sunday, Jan. 28 during the Las Vegas Market.

At the awards dinner, which will take place in the Worldview Room of the World Market Center, WithIt also will present WOW Awards in four other categories: Leadership, Education, Mentoring, and Future Leader.

With more than 35 years of experience in the home furnishings industry, McNeill founded two full service marketing and public relations agencies, both of which are still in existence under new leadership. Her agencies worked with a multitude of clients providing brand development, marketing, strategic public relations, crisis communications, media relations, media training, and capital fundraising counsel to a range of organizations.

McNeill began her association with the home furnishings industry in January 1982 when she was appointed director of marketing at the Southern Furniture Market Center, now known as the International Home Furnishings Center.  She also was director of The Design Center in the IHFC, where she managed day-to-day sales operations, marketing and management of the building.

Committed to community service, McNeill also has served on nearly 30 nonprofit boards in three cities.

The Leadership Award recognizes the contributions of a woman who has demonstrated successful leadership in her company, WithIt and the home furnishings industry. Nominees for this year’s award are Karel Czanderna, Flexsteel Industries; Betty Lyn Eller, American Silk Mills; and Laurie Hoover, Vanguard Furniture.

The Future Leader Award honors a woman in the industry younger than 40 who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and the potential to become an industry leader. The 2018 nominees for this award are Emily Severson, A.R.T. Furniture; Victoria Valentinas, Heritage Home Group; and Taylor Walters; Valdese Weavers.

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 nominees are Karen Fallon, Heritage Home Group; Mary Frye, Home Furnishings Association; and Lori Gonzalez, Twin Star.

The Education Award recognizes an individual who has put forth significant effort to educate associates, retailers and consumers about home furnishings. This year’s nominees are Andy Bernstein,; John Bray, Vanguard Furniture; and John Conrad, American Society of Furniture Designers.

Tickets can be purchased at Individual tickets are $150, and a table of 10 is $1,500. 

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