WithIt Embraces Students at 2015 Annual Professional Women’s Conference for the Home and Furnishings Industries

WithIt (Women In the Home and Furnishings Industry Today), an organization dedicated to the development of professional women, announced the continuation of its Rising Leader student scholarship program to be held during its annual conference.

The kickoff for the WithIt 2015 Annual Professional Women’s Conference for the Home and Furnishings Industries will be Monday, August 17 at the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Hotel & Conference Center. The WithIt 2015 Annual Professional Women’s Conference is open to professionals, male and female, in all niches of the home and furnishings industries as well as students who are members of collegiate chapters. The conference will showcase more than 20 speakers and presenters to inspire, empower and educate more than 150 attendees for three days.

In addition to championing issues for its professional members, WithIt is focused upon helping students transition into the home industry. This year Jackie Hirschhaut , Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing of the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) and former WithIt President (2004-2006), in collaboration with sponsors Frinier Atelier, Glen Raven/Sunbrella and Century Furniture, invited students from: Appalachian State University, High Point University, Kendall College of Art and Design, Meredith College, North Carolina State University, Philadelphia University, Rhode Island School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Ten top-performing female university students have been selected to attend the conference thanks to the Rising Leader Scholarship. This scholarship pays all their expenses to attend, allowing them to gain exposure to the Home Furnishings Industry, network and be part of leadership development for their future careers, as well as provides them with a student membership to WithIt.

In 2014 Kristin McGill, a Clemson University student, attended the WithIt conference on the Rising Leader Scholarship. She states, “WithIt offers outstanding networking opportunities with talented women that are excited to mentor and encourage me into the future”.

Victoria Valentinas, a graduate of High Point University, attended the WithIt Professional Conference in 2011 with the first of Rising Leader Scholarship recipients. Today she is the Sales and Merchandising Manager for Bassett Xpress. In a recent conversation she shared “WithIt has been a huge asset to my career in the home industry. I am so grateful for all of the industry leaders I have networked with and can now call my mentors and friends. The WithIt Leadership Conferences not only helped me grow as a professional individual but introduced me to avenues that led to internships and my current career. I hope that I can continue on the legacy of WithIt by mentoring future leaders and building relationships within our industry.”

The mission of the WithIt Annual Professional Women’s Conference, and the non-profit organization that produces the conference, has always been to encourage and develop leadership, mentoring, education and networking opportunities for professional women in the home and furnishings industries. WithIt has been an 18-year advocate for women in the home and furnishings industries. The conference will bring together top female talents in all niches and positions to connect, mentor, learn and raise awareness about pathways to contributing to one’s full leadership potential.

The conference's main events, organized around the theme of “The Leading Woman,” will be held Monday evening, August 17, through midday Wednesday, August 19, with inspiring presentations, intensive workshops, and networking and mentoring opportunities for more than 150 attendees. These events will once again be a place for the conference’s signature rare and invaluable conversations and career-making moments with authentic and influential voices discussing issues that maximize the competitive worth of fully developing the leadership potential of women—a critical talent pool in the home and furnishings marketplace.

The WithIt 2015 Annual Professional Women’s Conference is supported by generous sponsors and partners that share its mission of attracting, empowering, inspiring, and developing women leaders. WithIt believes in the power of fully developing female leaders and encourages them to join the conference and to bring their associates to connect, learn and contribute.

For more information, please visit WithIt.org.

About WithIt:  WithIt was formed in 1997 for women in the home and furnishings industries in order to support their multi-dimensional career paths. The not-for-profit network is based in North Carolina and supported by leading companies across the industry. WithIt’s purpose is to encourage and develop leadership, mentoring, education and networking opportunities for professional women in the home and furnishings industries.

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