HIGH POINT — The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. will recognize five rising stars with the Paul Broyhill Future Leader Award during a dinner and reception at the April High Point Market.
“These bright emerging leaders – already accomplished in their own companies – are likely to be among the groundbreakers who take the home furnishings industry to the next amazing level,” says Caroline Hipple, president of the Foundation board of directors and president of Norwalk Furniture. “By bringing together five inducted members of the Hall of Fame with our five future leaders in a guided discussion over dinner, inductees are able to share wisdom and expertise that will inspire them along their own journeys. The evening also sets the stage for future interactions, which will benefit the industry for years to come.”
The Paul Broyhill Future Leaders Award, named after one of the industry’s leading families and a company that focused on executive training, is given annually to five emerging leaders. Each Future Leader is under 40 years of age and is selected for their leadership, personal growth, communications skills and commitment to the greater home furnishings industry. The reception and dinner will be held at the home of Karen McNeill, CEO of the Hall of Fame, and Steve Pond, founder of FurnitureToday.
The Paul Broyhill Future Leaders are:
- Lindsay Cathers, senior behavioral marketing and customer data activation manager, La-Z-Boy, Inc. Cathers began her career at La-Z-Boy in 2012 as a Retail Marketing Manager. She has risen through the ranks to her current position, a newly defined role charged with building an internal capability and functional area of expertise to organize and optimize the management of customer data and associated technology to support the customer experience. She has grown the retail marketing team, leveraged insights to make marketing more effective, built the marketing automation efforts at La-Z-Boy and developed a new behavioral marketing discipline. Cathers has a broad range of experience working in media planning and buying, promotional strategy and activation, CRM marketing, customer data activation, marketing budget optimization, performance marketing, social media and more. In 2018, she was nominated by her peers and selected as the FY17 La-Z-Boy Retail Partner of the Year.
- Alex Cihak, vice president of business development, Elements International. Cihak is responsible for leading the Elements International sales team of over 35 independent sales representatives and sales managers, as well as for the overall margin, which includes all import product categories and the domestic upholstery business at Style-Line. He manages the inventory, turns and stock position for domestic and global facilities. Under his leadership, sales have grown 350 percent from 2019 to 2021. Cihak negotiated and transitioned the Largo Furniture acquisition, which allowed Elements to expand its sourcing footprint into Mexico and played an integral role in the acquisition of Style-Line Furniture. A CPA with a masters in accounting, Cihak got his start in home furnishings as a high school intern at Elements.
- Andrew Crone, CEO, Chaddock Furniture Workroom. Crone joined Chaddock Furniture Workroom as vice president of sales and marketing in 2016 and was promoted to CEO one year later. He is responsible for operations and works side-by-side with designers, furniture makers and salespeople. Under his leadership, Chaddock Furniture has experienced consistent growth, opening a 15,000-square-foot showroom at the Fall 2018 High Point Market and launching a company rebrand that included a new, user-friendly website. At age 31, Crone was recognized by BusinessNC as a 2019 Trailblazer. A visionary, he challenges the status quo, seeking creative ways to synthesize product quality, customer satisfaction, employee appreciation and sound business practices. He also has arranged for workroom tours for hundreds of local middle and high school students to show them industry career opportunities.
- Travis Wagner, senior vice president of global manufacturing, Ashley Furniture Inds. Wagner began working for Ashley when he was 14, unloading trucks after school. Today, he is responsible for Ashley’s global manufacturing operations: four factories in Asia and 10 in the United States; 20,000 employees; and 8 million sq. ft. of manufacturing space that produces over 4,000 Ashley SKUs. Wagner also is directly responsible for the explosive growth and expansion of Ashley’s Asian manufacturing operations. Early in his career, he quickly rose through the ranks to become general manager of operations in Vietnam, growing operations in Asia to over $750 million with more than 12,000 employees. In 2018, he returned to the United States to oversee all manufacturing operations, including engineering, automation and manufacturing. He has mentored hundreds and given back to the community through STEM education programs and other Ashley philanthropic efforts.
- Laura White, vice president of marketing and creative, Vanguard Furniture. White is responsible for brand building, creative strategy and execution. She advises the product development teams on scaling, trends, product features and contemporary designs. Under her leadership and with her keen sense of fashion and market trends, Vanguard has become a highly visible trend and thought leader. By leveraging fresh ideas, innovative marketing techniques and strong personal relationships, she has significantly contributed to a large increase in sales. White has spent all of her career in the home furnishings industry and is a mentor to others, both within and outside the Vanguard organization. A natural ambassador for the industry, she participates in industry-related charity events and often takes students through the showroom during market.