Agenda

Join us for dynamic speakers, breakout sessions, roundtables and the best networking in the industry!

Monday, June 10th

}

12:00pm – 5:30pm

Prefunction

Registration

}

12:30pm-3:30pm

“Transforming your business with EOS: Entrepreneurial Operating System” Pre-conference Workshop

Brandon Blell

Brandon will deliver a powerful, inspirational workshop that will introduce you to the Six Key Components™ of a successful business. At the conclusion of this workshop, you will walk away with a set of simple, practical tools that you and your leadership team will use immediately to focus on priorities, get clear on issues, and gain traction together, as a healthier leadership team.

There is an additonal $50 charge for this workshop and will receive an EOS workbook.

Brandon Blell’s roots in the furniture industry go deep – starting with early memories of jumping on beds in the basement of her great-grandfather’s retail furniture store in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Unlike the two generations above her, Brandon chose a different path. As a student at Duke, she discovered a passion for seeing the world and a knack for languages and communication, which launched an exciting career in global marketing. For the next two decades, she worked in rapidly growing, cutting edge technology companies where she collaborated closely with visionary leaders around the world, discovering new passions in leadership development and building strong, healthy company cultures.

As much as she learned in the tech world, Brandon’s most core value is family. She felt a strong pull to get back to her roots and join her father Randy Short at Stanford Furniture, the high-end upholstery manufacturing company he founded in 1992. Brandon knew she had knowledge, tools, and skills that could help bring the company into the next generation. She also knew the transition from a large, publicly traded software company to a small, family-owned furniture manufacturer would be tough.

And it was – until she implemented the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, a simple, proven business operating system that helps entrepreneurial organizations clarify, simplify, and achieve its vision. This was particularly powerful as they navigated significant challenges that impacted the family and the business. Ultimately, they successfully sold and transitioned the business to Gabby, another family-owned furniture company whose core values were well-aligned.

Today Brandon runs her own practice as a Professional EOS Implementer® – sharing her knowledge and experience to help other entrepreneurs and leaders run better businesses so they can live better lives.

Brandon lives in Denver, North Carolina at Lake Norman with her husband Beni of 24 years, their four rescue pets and two teenagers –  their son Dorian, a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill and their daughter Liliana, a sophomore at North Lincoln High School.

 

}

1:00pm-3:00pm

Getting to the C-Suite – Career Forward” Pre-conference Workshop

Nora Gomez, Chief Merchandising Officer, NFM

Join us for part 2 of our series on skills needed to get to the C-Suite. Working with the book “Career Forward” a new book from Grace Puma and Christiana Smith Shi, you will explore important lessons about getting to and succeeding in the C-Suite.  “Career forward” means keeping a focus on the future and recognizing that being good at your job is often not enough—that you should take every opportunity to boost your connections, take on “difficult” assignments, and work actively to broaden your skills. 

Nora Gomez will lead attendees through exercises on professional equity, shaping your leadership identity, strategic decision making and steering into the skid when things go off the rails.

There is an additonal $50 charge for this workshop. You will receive a copy of the book “Career Forward”

Nora Gomez joined NFM as Chief Merchandising Officer in 2018 and is responsible for creating and executing the overall strategy of NFM’s Merchandising Department including buying, financial planning, merchandise planning and inventory flow for all families of business including furniture, flooring, appliances and electronics.  She also leads visual presentation, store design and store merchandising/display across all regions including, Omaha, The Colony in Texas, Kansas City and Des Moines. 

Nora brings global leadership experience in strategic planning, merchandising, and buying as well as product development, design and sourcing from a distinguished career that began in the Fashion Industry.  She has traveled all around the world and brings an eye for trend and curation and held vice president and senior vice president roles for companies including FULLBEAUTY brands, Tuesday Morning, Pier 1, Lane Bryant, Saks and VF.

}

12:30pm-3:30pm

Meeting of the minds: An emergenetics workshop ” Pre-conferencE workshop

Shannon Williams, Home Furnishings Association

Are you looking to increase your emotional intelligence, self-awareness, communication, collaboration, and problem-solving competencies? 

Emergenetics is designed for individuals and teams who strive to understand themselves and their colleagues, who want to build productive, effective, and engaging workplace cultures. 

Attendees will take an Emergenetics Profile ahead of workshop attendance that will reveal individual preferences for three Behavioral Attributes (Expressiveness, Assertiveness, Flexibility) and four Thinking Attributes (Analytical, Structural, Social, Conceptual). In the 3-hour Meeting of the Minds workshop, individuals will understand the brilliance of every Attribute, gain insights into how best to communicate and collaborate with others and learn to use cognitive diversity to develop leadership and management competencies, improve employee retention, increase workforce productivity, improve Cross-company communication, and increase workplace culture and collaboration.

There is an additional $50 charge for this workshop. The Home Furnishings Association will sponsor the first 20 attendee tests.

Shannon Williams is a dynamic executive leader with an outstanding record in strategic growth, innovation, and driving impactful change through team building and culture development.  From human resources to member solutions, marketing, and beyond, Shannon’s leadership encompasses a broad spectrum of responsibilities, ensuring organizational success and sustainability.

Currently serving as Chief Operating Officer, and rising HFA’s CEO on June 1, 2024, Shannon leads with distinction, overseeing operations, performance, and strategy for a diverse network of more than 1,500 furniture retailers across North America. Shannon’s success has been recognized by American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame as a 2024 Paul Broyhill Future Leader Award recipient,  Association Trends’  2023 Young and Aspiring Association Leader,  WithIt’s 2022 Future Leader, and Home Furnishings Business’ 40 under 40 Class of 2019.

Beyond her professional experience, Shannon is a committed learner.  Shannon graduates in August 2024 with her master’s degree in nonprofit and association management and holds undergraduate degrees in business management, economics, business administration and social and behavioral science. She is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) through American Society for Association Executives, holds a SHRM-SCP designation and is a certified Emeregentics consultant.   Shannon proudly serves on the board for the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit on a mission to heal society of hate and bias.

}

4:30pm – 5:30pm

Avenue
110 E. Court Street, Rooftop

Annual WithIt Membership Meeting

The conference opens with the organization’s annual state of WithIt. Learn more about the organization and participate in dynamic networking exercise.

}

5:30pm-6:30pm

Avenue
110 E. Court Street, Rooftop

Opening Networking Reception

Join WithIt for an elegant opening reception on the rooftop enjoying wine, food along with a dynamic networking exercise to kick off the conference.

}

7:00pm

Dine Arounds

Join a group to network and dine at one of the fantastic restaurants in Greenville. Choose your group by the restaurant or the group. Either way, it will be a memorable evening.

Tuesday, June 11th

}

7:00am - 8:30am

Prefunction

Registration

}

7:30pm - 8:30pm

Mezzanine

Breakfast Buffet

Enjoy a continental breakfast of coffee, bagels, pastries and fruit.

}

8:30am

Poinsett Ballroom

Welcome

}

8:45am - 10:00am

Poinsett Ballroom

Keynote: “From Purpose to impact”

Portia Mount, Founder & CEO, Mount Creative LLC

Embark on a transformative journey with Portia Mount, acclaimed marketer, TEDx speaker, and co-author of “Kick Some Glass: Ten Ways Women Succeed at Work on Their Own Terms.” Join us for an engaging session where Portia draws upon her extensive expertise to guide participants in unlocking their purpose and maximizing their impact in the workplace.

Through interactive discussions and practical exercises, attendees will explore core values, uncover their unique strengths, and define their professional aspirations. Portia’s authentic storytelling style and industry knowledge will inspire and empower participants to overcome self-doubt and navigate career challenges with confidence. By the end of the session, participants will walk away with actionable strategies to align their personal values with their professional goals, ultimately propelling them towards greater success and fulfillment in their careers.

Portia Mount, founder of Mount Creative, LLC, brings over 25 years of executive leadership in marketing and business strategy to Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. She has held executive leadership roles at Topcoder, Trane Technologies, Ingersoll Rand, and the Center for Creative Leadership. She is an expert in transforming B2B brands and marketing teams. Portia is also a certified executive coach dedicated to empowering women and leaders of color, and guides senior leaders in aligning their personal and professional ambitions. A best-selling author and 2xTEDx speaker, she co-authored “Kick Some Glass’ ‘ published by McGraw Hill and hosts the Manifista Podcast, a career podcast for aspiring women. Portia holds a BA in Anthropology from Mills College; an MA in Anthropology and East Asian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MBA in Management from Wake Forest University School of Business.

}

10:00am-10:15am

Break

}

10:15am - 12:30pm

Poinsett Ballroom

“Dynamic Leadership In Action”

Leaders from the home furnishings industry discuss what leadership means to them, important lessons they’ve learned throughout their career and how to navigate leadership in today’s world. Hear pragmatic, thought-provoking and inspiring messages from those who are leading our Industry into the future.

Featured Industry Speakers:

Caroline Hipple
Chief Creative Officer, Hooker Furnishings

Caroline Hipple is Chief Creative Officer of Hooker Furnishings, and previously served as President of Norwalk Furniture. She is the co-founder of HB2 Resources and a winner of WithIt’s Education award. Caroline is a founding member of WithIt and serves on the Executive Advisory Council.

Dorothy Belshaw
President, Andmore

Dorothy Belshaw was appointed President of ANDMORE in 2024 after previously serving as Executive Vice President/Chief Revenue Officer and prior to that Executive Vice President, Chief Customer & Marketing Officer.

Dorothy joined ANDMORE in 2012, bringing 20+ years of home and gift tradeshow industry experience to her role as President of its fledgling Gift division, with the specific charge of expanding the Las Vegas Market’s gift, tabletop and housewares offerings. Her role soon broadened across ANDMORE’s Las Vegas and High Point campuses to include marking and digital oversight, with responsibility for brand strategy and business development; digital services; marketing services; and public relations and corporate communications. In 2018, as a member of the executive leadership team, she helped facilitate the acquisition and integration of AmericasMart Atlanta, which included the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market.

Prior to ANDMORE, she was SVP at George Little Management (GLM), the nation’s largest producer of consumer product tradeshows for the gift and home industries. During her 20-year career with GLM, she served as Director of its New York International Gift Fair (2007-2012); ran its Los Angeles office (2001-2007) which produced the California Gift Show and Gourmet Products Show; and managed GLM’s Canadian Gift Shows.

}

12:30pm - 1:30pm

Lunch

}

12:00pm - 4:00pm

Headshots

}

1:45pm - 2:30pm

Poinsett Ballroom

Interactive Dynamic Workshops

Our interactive workshops are a combination of roundtables and workshop. Everyone will get to participate in each of the topics.
Exploring Dynamic Mentorship with Courtney Panther (Sleep Number)
Embark on a transformative journey as we explore the profound impact of mentorship. This workshop is led by two members who are participating in WithIt’s current Mentoring cohort. Through dynamic discussions and personal anecdotes, you will uncover the power of mentorship relationships in navigating challenges, seizing opportunities, and cultivating a thriving career path. Whether you’re seeking mentorship or eager to become a mentor yourself, join us to forge meaningful connections, gain practical strategies, and ignite a culture of support and empowerment within the home furnishings community. Together, let’s unlock the potential for greatness and inspire the next generation of leaders in our industry.
Sustainability and Transformative Thinking with Jenny Tinsley (Culp)
Be a part of shaping the future of home furnishings with purpose and style as you delve into the dynamic world of sustainable practices within our industry. This interactive session will explore innovative approaches to integrating eco-consciousness into design, production, and consumer behavior. From sourcing materials to manufacturing processes and consumer education, you will gain valuable insights and actionable strategies to drive positive change in the industry.
Tools to Transform the Workplace with Bree Cassidy (Howard Elliott)
Join us for an engaging round table discussion focused on the latest Tech and AI tools that can drive success in your company. This session will explore innovative programs designed to enhance productivity, streamline operations, and foster growth. Share insights and practical tips on leveraging these technologies to achieve your business goals. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn, network, and empower your organization with cutting-edge solutions.
}

2:30pm - 2:40pm

Break

}

2:40pm - 3:25pm

Workshop Session 2

}

3:25pm - 3:40pm

Break

}

3:40pm - 4:30pm

Workshop Session 3

}

4:30pm - 6:00pm

Break

}

6:00pm - 7:00pm

TBD

Networking cocktail reception

 

}

7:00pm - 10:00pm

Gold Ballroom

Buffet dinner and fun after-party

Wednesday, June 12th

}

7:30am – 8:30am

Mezzanine

Breakfast Buffet

}

8:30am

Poinsett Ballroom

Welcome Day 2

}

8:45am - 9:45am

Poinsett Ballroom

Second Day Keynote: “The Communication Code: Unlock every relationship one conversation at a time”

Micah Ray, D4 Concepts

How often have you finished a conversation that didn’t go well and wondered exactly how you got there? How many problems in your life arise from difficulties that stem from unclear or poor communication. With the 5 C’s of the Communication Code, you can learn how to prompt someone to respond in a more productive and meaningful way. Understand where misunderstandings come from and recognize the dynamics of every conversation. Learn how and when to give constructive feedback, and how to care for people in your life better.

Micah started his career managing the family business for four years before going to Liberty Hardware. There he held positions as Director of IT, Director of Supply Chain, Senior Director of Product Development and Innovation Champion on the company’s path to over $200 million in revenue.

His next career phase was spent in non-profit work and leading ministry teams domestically and internationally. His work included community outreach, civic engagement, and addressing food scarcity. He organized community outreach events regularly with over 2,000 attendees. In addition, he mentored college students and led organizational communication strategy.

Since starting D4 Concepts, he has helped dozens of clients improve their communication and leadership skills at every level of their organization. His mission is to help people have transformational “A-Ha” moments in life.

}

9:45am - 9:55am

Break

}

9:55am - 10:45am

Poinsett Ballroom

Communication in Action: A Panel Discussion

Join us for an insightful panel discussion as we explore the intricacies of effective workplace communication. This session will dive into practical strategies for implementing communication, sharing real-life examples of both successful and challenging communication experiences. Topics include navigating miscommunication and learning from mistakes, evolving communication styles as managers, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility, leveraging technology for better communication, and balancing transparency with confidentiality.

Moderator: Tori Evans, 2024 WithIt President

Panelists: Christi Barbour, Barbour Spangle Design
Leah Kirkland, R & A Marketing
Violette Forman, Havertys

}

10:45am - 11:00am

Break

}

11:00am - 12:00pm

Poinsett Ballroom

Closing Speaker: “You’re More Ready Than You Think”

Ellen Taaffe, Author and Professor at the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University

At some point in their careers, many women encounter the mirrored door―the place where, when presented with opportunities, we reflect inward and hesitate, and deem we’re not ready or worthy enough to move forward, whether that is to raise our hands or go for the next role. But there is a way to break through, and to overcome the gendered expectations that girls and women internalize over our lifetimes that create a hidden barrier that keeps us from reaching our full potential. Professor and author Ellen Connelly Taaffe will explain why the five success strategies―preparing to perfection, eagerly pleasing, fitting the mold, pushing pedal to the metal, and patiently performing and expecting rewards to follow―get us to a certain level, and then act as a double-edged sword and block/hinder the next step in our careers as expectations rise. We’ll explore and discuss what these strategies are, how they become obstacles, and ultimately, how to pivot and create the careers we desire and deserve.

Ellen Connelly Taaffe is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University, where she teaches Personal Leadership Insights and is the Director of the MBA Women’s Leadership Program. Previously, she was a senior brand executive at PepsiCo, Royal Caribbean, and the Whirlpool Corporation and is now a board director for three companies, including Hooker Furnishings. She shares her insights in media like Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, the Washington Post, and TEDx. Her book, The Mirrored Door: Break Through the Hidden Barrier that Locks Successful Women in Place was named an Editor’s Pick by Publishers Weekly BookLife and won the 2023 NYC Big Book Award.

}

12:15pm - 12:30pm

Closing | Evaluations | Good Byes

Share This