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From Home Furnishing Business

Ron Wanek to Kick Off Next Gen Day

Ashley Furniture Chairman Ron Wanek will greet participants in the inaugural NextGen Day on Monday at High Point University with opening remarks.

Next Generation-Now and the North American Home Furnishings Association also announced panelists and discussions for NextGen Day. Registration is still open for this free day of education.
At 8:30 a.m. on Monday, High Point University motor coaches will depart Market from the Green Street entrance of the IHFC building and shuttle NGN day participants to the campus where, along with students, they will interact with industry professionals to gain career insights and discuss opportunities for a successful future in the home furnishings industry. 

“We are so excited that the furniture industry is willing to step up to educate our students on potential careers in the furniture industry,” said Jim Wehrley, dean of the Phillips School of Business at High Point University. “This opportunity could be the catalyst that sends a student in a direction that could lead to a lifelong satisfying and rewarding career.”

At HPU the “Fashioning a Career in the Home furnishings Industry” panelists include Kerry Lebensburger, president of sales, Ashley Furniture; Jason Goldman, marketing specialist and HPU alumnus, Ashley Furniture; Seth Goldberg, vice president of business development, Raymour & Flanigan Furniture; Stuart Curtis, vice president of operations, Best Home Furnishings; Ron Gordon, vice president of technology, MicroD Inc.; and Hayley Leocha, Product Manager, MicroD Inc.
HPU shuttles bring attendees and students back to market for an 11:30 a.m. luncheon panel and job-shadowing afternoon. Held in the 11th floor ballroom of the IHFC Green Wing, the luncheon panel session, “3 Guys and a Mic--Insights and Anecdotes with Industry Icons,” facilitated by Furniture|Today Editor-in-Chief Ray Allegrezza, features Jerry Epperson, analyst and managing director, Mann, Armistead & Epperson; Pedro Capo, senior vice president, El Dorado Furniture; Steve Hodges, free-lance designer and president of Steve Hodges Associates Inc.; and Rick Schroeder, vice president of design, Stanley Furniture Co.
Panelists will share stories of how they first became involved in the industry as well as triumphs and challenges along the way. A Q&A at the end of the session will provide tips for the next generation to navigate the deep waters of an ever-changing business landscape.

“We knew we had to involve icons in the industry at both sessions," said Next Gen-Now Advisory Board member Lael Thompson of Broyhill Home Collections. "Our goal is to provide as much knowledge, know-how and insight as possible--the ‘in the trenches’ information that these panelists have will be invaluable to the audience of students and young professionals.”
More than 20 students have signed up to participate in the afternoon at Market. Job shadowing mentors offer students a variety of career opportunities to explore. From buyer to marketing manager to chief operating officer, students will get a rare behind the curtain look at the inner workings of the home furnishings industry.

"It's a pleasure to work with the NAHFA and Next Gen Now on a mentoring program like this during High Point Market," said Jeff González, director of furniture and Latin American sales for Nourison Inds. "It's a wonderful chance for seasoned members of our industry to guide and answer questions to eager minds."
For more information or to register for Next Generation Now day, online go here.

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