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From Home Furnishing Business

WithIt Announces 2020 WOW Awards Nominees

WithIt, the women’s leadership development network for the home and furnishings industry, has announced the nominees for the 2020 WOW Awards. Due to the pandemic and uncertainty about safe gatherings, the board of directors has postponed the gala celebrating the WOW Awards until Friday, April 16, 2021. Finalists and recipients will be celebrated during a small gathering. The 2021 WOW Awards gala will return to celebrate 2020 and 2021 recipients Friday, October 16, 2021.

WithIt presents its inaugural Visionary Award posthumously to Kimberly Ward, founder of the Black Interior Designers Network.

Kimberly Ward exemplified all the qualities of a visionary. She founded an award-winning interior design blog, Pink Eggshell, while building her successful design firm, Kimberly and Cameron Interiors. As she gained notoriety and exposure, participating in panels and appearing in media, Ward was often asked “Where are all the black interior designers?” In 2011 in response to this repeated question, she published a list of the Top 20 African American Interior Designers. In doing so she planted the seed that created a much-needed resource for an often-unseen segment of the interior design community.

The list became the Black Interior Designers Network (BIDN), an organization that helped to connect those looking to work with or for black interior designers, to homeowners and clients. The Black Interior Designers Network’s mission is to promote diversity and inclusion within the interior design industry by highlighting designers of color and supporting black designers with business development opportunities.

"Kim's legacy is the BluePrint to any organization fighting for visibility. She was a pioneer and legend, totally aware of her colleagues' monumental attributes to the community," says Keia McSwaim, president of the BIDN.

Kimberly Ward’s vision helped to shine the spotlight on all black interior designers and created a platform for designers to network, mentor and support each other’s business aspirations. WithIt recognizes Kimberly’s work to bring inclusion to black designers in the industry with their inaugural Visionary Award.

New for 2020 is the Sales Excellence Award created to recognize a woman who is extraordinary in sales, demonstrates excellence in education and relationships with her customers, and exceptional commitment to the manufacturers she represents. The Sales Excellence Award nominees are: Tami Capriotti, Trusted Advisors Marketing; Janna Grant, Lakeside Furniture Sales; and Michelle Grant, Dardenne Design.

The Leadership Award recognizes the contributions of a woman who has demonstrated successful leadership in her company, WithIt and the home furnishings industry. The Leadership Award nominees are: Carrie Dillon, International Textiles Alliance; Stefanie Lucas, American Leather; and Meganne Wecker, Skyline Furntiure.

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. The Mentoring Award nominees are: Gail Doby, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting; Cindy Hall, Sherrill Furniture; and Deborah Klein, DK Inside Design.

The Education Award recognizes an individual who has put forth significant effort to educate associates, retailers and consumers about home and furnishings. The Education Award Nominees are: Kim Ballweske, La-Z-Boy; Nancy Fire, Design Works International; and Sydney Vigotov, Crypton Fabric.

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 Future Leader Award nominees are: Madeline Brown, Sherrill Furniture; Sydney Harris, Furnitureland South; and Jessica Phillips, The Phillips Collection.

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