January 16, 2024 | Spotlights

Tori Evans, Semi Exact

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WithIt Welcomes Tori Evans as its 2024 President

Tori Evans has been a member with WithIt for 7 years, having found the organization through the High Point Furniture Market at a time when she was looking to build her professional network. Since then she’s become heavily involved, joining several committees and leading networking events on the West Coast. In 2024, we welcome her as our new board president. 

We sat down with Tori to talk about her passion for home and furnishings and her goals for WithIt this year. Read more below.

Q&A: 

How did you originally get connected with WithIt? 

Tori: I saw them at a market event and was interested and signed up on their website. Having a place to network and connect with people in the industry was important to me. I was working with a small company so I was looking for a tribe that I could go to that was a safe space. I didn’t grow up in the industry like many have, so it was a great way for me to get access and exposure and meet people in the industry. 

Why are you passionate about the home and furnishings industry?

I love the aesthetics of it. I love that it’s always changing and evolving. Also I love the people I’ve met along the way and the relationships I’ve built – it’s like family. 

You’ve been involved with WithIt for 6 years – what’s kept you around?

It’s 100% the people. Everyone’s so open and welcoming and transparent. I feel like I have a safe space to bounce ideas, get insights and inspiration. It’s not just women, there’s men that support the industry as well. It’s enabled me to spread my wings and not feel alone. No matter what part of the industry you’re in, you have a home and a place to connect and you’re not alone. 

What are some of the things you’ve gotten out of WithIt? 

The relationships and mentorship. I’ve been so blessed to meet so many women before me who have blazed trails. They’ve given lots of insight and help and support. They’re cheerleaders and coaches all wrapped up in one. 

How did you ensure you were getting the most out of your WithIt membership? 

Tori Evans co-chaired the 2021 & 2022 professional conferences along with serving for 3 years on the Board of Directors.

What really was a game changer for me with the organization was joining committees. I read the newsletter and participated in events, but I really wasn’t engaged until I joined a committee. That’s when I started understanding how WithIt was intertwined with the industry and could lead to bigger and better things with my involvement and perpetuate the growth of other women in the industry, especially women getting out of school. You get out of it what you put in.

One of the first things I did was host an event in San Diego. A lot of the organization is on the east coast, but I wanted to connect with people in my area, so WithIt helped me do that. That led me to joining the board of directors pretty early. If you don’t create things to happen in your area, you’re not going to get as much out of the organization because it’s all about activity and putting yourself out there and connecting with others.

As we roll into my presidency this year, I want to make sure committee involvement is something people are focused on because it’s important. It could be anything from attending a virtual meetup or a networking event or a speaker session. That diversity of thought and engagement from everyone in different parts of the organization make a difference in the quality of things we put out and the success rate of them. 

What are some of your hopes for the year?

If there was one word for my goals it is engaging. Engaging more people in committees and engaging events outside of High Point Furniture Market and making that year round. We are launching a mentoring program this year, so we’re focused on getting that off the ground and getting people involved in that as both mentors and mentees. 

What are some of the ways you want to work with and inspire young women? 

I don’t think there’s enough people who are advanced in their career who understand their impact on the next generation. For me it’s about helping young people understand the difference between the dream and reality and steps to get there. I’ve always enjoyed helping others grow and develop, but seeing the impact other leaders have had on my own my daughter who is starting to discern her path has solidified my understanding and appreciation of the importance of mentoring. If you don’t have someone to take you under their wing, you’ll be lost for a lot longer. I will say it’s also very rewarding. 

Is there anything else you want to add?

If I were to end with a call to action, it would be engagement for 2024. I really want people to leverage all the resources WithIt has. I want people to take the time to build relationships through participating in the events and initiatives, because that’s the biggest value of WithIt.

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If you’re considering WithIt membership for your professional journey, find out more about WithIt’s mission here or join today.

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